If you get a few minutes between your busy life and your dedicated blog-reading, you should check out the CDC’s 511 page report on the state of Americans’ health. There’s no telling how much this research cost taxpayers, so we owe it to ourselves to give it a look. If the fact that you funded this report isn’t compelling enough, you might want to read it to get a much-deserved pat on the back from The Feds telling you how well-behaved your kids are.
According to these findings, we have managed to raise the best teenagers since the government started collecting this particular behavioral data. Our teens smoke less pot, drink less alcohol, have sex less and exercise more than we did. What a relief it is to have our suspicions officially confirmed by government statisticians touting bar graphs.
So, why do today’s parents continue to complain about these Teen-Angels? Because, it’s every generation’s inalienable right to be disgruntled with their teens, that’s why. The government can’t take that away from us. Despite the overall lack of substance abuse, we never run short on things to grumble about around here…
Perhaps this seems minor, but in the Winter, our children require the thermostat on 80, yet at the first sign of Spring, they need the air blasting at 60. Apparently our minds are too drug-addled to comprehend why 80 isn’t as comfortable May through September, as it was October through April. Every Spring, Jimmy and James have a serious negotiation over thermostat regulation that goes like this:
Jimmy: “I better not go upstairs and find the air lower than 73”
If we laid a finger on my Dad’s thermostat, back in the day, we would’ve found ourselves in a homeless shelter. Our parents firmly believed that shivering in the Winter and sweating in the Summer built perseverance, endurance and a certain ruggedness that you won’t find replicated in the youth of today.
What about the fact that our daughters can’t abide the hair color they were provided with at birth? I never dreamed of asking my parents to fund the altering of my hair color. And, if we’re being totally honest here, I would’ve been justified. I was a Ginger way before they gave it an endearing moniker; they were practically still burning red heads at the stake when I was growing up. Back then, females didn’t color their hair until the first sign of grey. You stuck out your hair color, and if possible, developed a “persona” around it. It was character building.
Furthermore, we are bewildered that our kids can’t stay within the ample data usage we supply them with. Every month, we get a jarring reprimand from AT&T, with the breakdown of our family’s data abuse. We are always teetering at, or already over, the allotted amount and the “junkies” are our teens. They are every bit as addicted to data as our generation apparently was to illegal substances. It’s actually quite commendable that we were prescient enough in the 70s and 80s to procure all of our much-needed information from The Encyclopedia Brittanica, especially since we were all “high.” Surely, this extra effort built up our problem-solving skills.
There’s more. In a restaurant recently, one of our kids glanced over at the total of the lunch tab and said, “That’s not bad!” Of course “it’s not bad,” since Junior’s not forking over the 90 bucks. Our parents took us to restaurants twice a year, not twice a day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m comforted that our teens are “partying” so much less than previous generations. It would be quite an accomplishment to party less than I did, though. I’m sure I’m just bitter that I missed all the fun, but the fact is, I didn’t turn to Martinis and Benadryl until I became the mother of teenagers, and that’s actually called “surviving,” not “partying.”
But, I guess I can reconcile myself to the empirical evidence that we have literally “outdone ourselves” with this generation. According to the Uncle Sam, we can’t complain – Parenthood’s been good to us so far.