The family seems to have two predominant functions: to provide warmth and love in time of need and to drive each other insane.
I myself had not done anything just because . . . any of the adults who had me in their power told me it was for my own good. No fucking way. And whenever somebody told me that, there was like this alarm that went off under the hood and all I could hear was whoop-whoop-whoop, somebody’s trying to steal something valuable, I’d think, so I’d usually do the opposite.
Caron is fifteen, to put it mildly.
Youth: The too-brief span wherein the human chassis is factory fresh, undented, and free of corrosion; a pristine condition worshiped by menopausal women in sweat suits and shrinking men with chestnut brown toupees, while those who actually possess it are frequently too shallow or despondent to enjoy it.
Bringing up teenagers is like sweeping back ocean waves with a frazzled broom — the inundation of outside influences never stops. Whatever the lure — cars, easy money, cigarettes, drugs, booze, sex, crime — much that glitters along the shore has a thousand times the appeal of a parent’s lecture.
Why do you only hear bad news about LSD? It’s always the same story about some idiot who thought he could fly, so he jumped out a fifty-story window. Why don’t we ever hear this news story? “Today a young man took LSD and realized that ego is an illusion and that we are all part of the universe experiencing itself subjectively; that death is just another journey, and love is the only reality. And now, here’s sports.”
Should we believe self-serving, ever-growing drug-enforcement and drug-treatment bureaucrats, whose pay and advancement depend on finding more and more people to arrest and “treat”? More Americans die in just one day in prisons, penitentiaries, jails, and stockades than have ever died from marijuana throughout history. Who are they protecting? From what?
What causes adolescents to rebel is not the assertion of authority but the arbitrary use of power, with little explanation of the rules and no involvement [of the adolescent] in the decision making.
The most assiduous task of parenting is to divine the difference between boundaries and bondage.
The skepticism of youth signals the beginning of a search for something actually worth trusting, both within one’s own psyche and in the world. That’s why teens, supposedly stuck in life’s lost years, are often so unequivocal about what they love and what they hate, and so frustrated when they feel misunderstood. The adolescent spirit is not the spirit of the lost. It is the conviction that you are not lost — that wandering has a purpose, and that what you deserve more than anything is the freedom to walk awhile on your own path.
Our children give us the opportunity to become the parents we always wished we had.
It is a mystery why adults expect perfection from children. Few grown-ups can get through a whole day without making a mistake.
Being alone in the house on a weekday still made him feel like he was back in high school and had just put one over on his parents. All sorts of exciting and illicit behaviors offered themselves for consideration. He could smoke a joint, phone an escort service, fry up a whole box of breakfast sausages. In the end, though, all he ever did was sit down in front of the muted TV and strum his guitar.
As far as rearing children goes, the basic idea I try to keep in mind is that a child is a person. Just because they happen to be a little shorter than you doesn’t mean they are dumber than you. A lot of people make that mistake, and forget how much value there is in raw intuition — and there’s plenty of that in every child. They may not have verbal skills or manual skills yet, but that is no reason to treat them like they’re inferior little lumps whose destiny it is to grow up to be inferior big lumps like you.
Children are messengers to us from a world we once deeply knew.
Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.