2 Aug 2009, Comments (21)

Parenting 2.0

Author: Helen

I’m sitting in the study having a look at Facebook. It’s about half past eight. I’m due to pick up the Girlchild, who turns eighteen in a few months, from the Pho Cafe in Scarysuburb, where she’s having a cheap and cheerful Vietnamese nosh with some friends – some of whom are eighteen.

Those friends, of course, may be served alcoholic drinks on licenced premises (in moderation: amirite?) Girlchild may not.

I am on the old desktop Mac. Girlchild, having torn up the first Year 12 semester like a champion, has just got a new raspberry, or red Nokia phone, from Dad. So she can facebook on the fly.

I see:

Girlchild: “really likes this resturant, essspecially the cocktails”. (Spelling! Tssk!)

So Girlchild gets a call. “I’m coming to pick you up! RIGHT NOW! I think you know why!1!!1!

When I get to the Pho Cafe there’s Girlchild and a couple of others hanging out in front looking a bit sheepish. We drive home. I lecture, Girlchild accepts lecture with relatively good grace. Of course, I only get this Teachable Moment once; now they know what not to post about on Facebook. We watch a DVD of Ghost Town. All is amicable.

Before bed I check Facebook again, and I see

Friend: “what did your mum say?”
Girlchild: “- – *sigh*”

So of course I typed


And my friend Megan weighs in with

“oops-don’t facebook and drink at the same time.”

Megan lives in Vancouver. We haven’t spoken face to face in fifteen years, but she is family.

It takes a global village to raise a child.

Comments (21)

  • Deborah says:

    [Snicker] There’s something so gratifying about catching your children out.

    Many many years ago, pre the internet even, my mother went down to Wellington to stay with her sister, and she took my brother down with her, dropping him off at another aunty’s place (other side of town, other side of the family). My brother was aged about 17 at the time. The next morning, Mum and her sister went down town shopping. As they drove along Willis St (Wellington CBD), who should they see but my brother, standing on a street corner, SMOKING! Mum wound down the window, and shouted, “Put that cigarette out!” He jumped about six feet, dropped the ciggie and stamped it out, looking guilty as anything, while Mum and her sister drove off cackling. Mum has never forgotten it. Neither has my brother.

  • Helen says:

    Cackling – that’s the word. I love your story!

    Forgot to add – This morning she put up a post about where she was b/c some friend asked. I replied to tell her to say he was working on her Dad’s market stall as “working on the street in St Kilda” sounded more than a bit suss.

  • ThirdCat says:

    by which I meant to say

    oh, geez…flashbacks and flashforwards

  • Kath Lockett says:

    This is gorgeous – and work a cackle or two!

    I’m just hoping that when Sapphire is ten, she’ll have a twitter/FB/SMS/Mobile phone/GPS implant that will tell me where she is – “Mum, I’m a choir practice with the viola girls.”
    “No you’re not. Get out of the Doutta Galla right now before I come down there and dack you like I did when you were TEN!”

    ….and maybe something that has an alarm that goes off and alerts bar staff (and sleazy blokes) that she’s underage, in trouble and about to be picked up by her parents.

    ….. is that too much to ask for? For techno geeks to work on something like that rather than ridiculous electronic visuals of cricket balls being bowled near the stumps?

  • Cristy says:

    I remember one night when I was 17, my friends (18 & 19) had come over to pick me up to go out. My Mum came home briefly and asked where we were going. We listed off a few pubs in town and discussed their merits with her. Then she got in her car and drove off.

    A couple of minutes later she pulled back into the driveway and came racing back into the house.

    “I just remembered that you’re not 18 yet,” she said. “Um… Don’t get caught. ”

    And with that she left.

  • I’m always amazed at how this generation is so worldly…

    …yet so dumb at the same time!

    Oh well at least you don’t have to bust a lock on a diary any more.

  • Helen says:

    Oh, I wouldn’t do that. We’ve actually friended each other on FB (voluntarily, I didn’t push her into it.) Now the boy has (be)friended me too. Awwww.

    In other news – One of the boy’s little friends has become my friend too – awwww – but he’s a little boy with a few ishoos. If you read my FB page at all you’d have a good idea of which little boy I mean.

    I’m wondering whether to talk to his mum about some of the things he comes out with. Fortunately mine is so much more confident and doesn’t seem to need to talk tough and macho 12 year old style.

  • Yes he rather stands out amongst your FB friends 🙂

    Teen daughter’s of a good friend in NZ befriended me but they are so sweet and don’t get up to anything outrageous sadly but various cousin’s kids who I barely know are keeping me updated with their drunken/out of it adventures. Strangely the only thing that disturbs me is pictures of them smoking and have to restrain myself from writing “put that cigarette out right now young man!” 🙂

  • TimT says:

    For a second there I thought you were going to drive round to pick up the girlchild for making a spelling error…

  • Ariel says:

    That’s really interesting … one of F’s friends has sent me a friend request on FB but I didn’t accept, because I didn’t want to be censoring what I say for the ears of a ten-year-old (nearly 11-y-o) child. But obviously there are advantages too.

    Ah technology … that’s a great story, Helen!

  • Helen says:

    OOf, I’m trying to think through this situation, which has a lot of complications (family well known to me, Dad died a couple of years ago, kid has been in counselling, ppl have told me he needs help to get through the rough patch etc…) And Tim, I totally would do that. WOTCH. ME. Oops.

    Ariel, that last edition but one kicked ass. All fiction and all good!!

    I think it’s sweet that my kids actually friend me on Facebook of their own accord. But it’s turned out not to be a case of US censoring. Did you see where I had to call out son for using the word “GAY” as a hlrous putdown even though I’ve explained it to him three times?

    I have given them both (the boys, of course, not the girl, she gets it) A Talk about the way that facebook is like being in a VERY BIG ROOM and everyone can hear it when you are being a prat!

    I’m pretty sure son gets it…quite a bit.

  • armagny says:

    “For a second there I thought you were going to drive round to pick up the girlchild for making a spelling error… ”

    Damn straight!

    I am astonished she willingly joined you up, didn’t think through that did she! (and you must have a pretty decent relationship…).

  • whatladder says:

    Heh, this is funny because my best friend is not on Facebook, but her teenaged daughter is, and I have friended said teenager, and I am the SOUL OF DISCRETION.

  • Helen says:

    I’m trying to work up a post on all these commentators who are moaning that FB and other social networks are destroying society. It seems quite the opposite is happening on some fronts. And Armagny yes, we do. Even from tweenyhood she seems to have had the gift of standing outside herself. In the dreaded 13 to 15 year stretch she’d stop an argument stone dead coming out with stuff like “Mum! I’m a teenager: I’m supposed to be unreasonable!” She is teh shizzle.

  • Marael says:

    Funny, funny story, Helen! Okay, are you certain the spelyng errir wasn’t a result of the cocktails?? xoxo from your Ludite friend in California.

  • Marael says:

    Whoops–make that Luddite. It’s cocktail hour here (sort of).

  • Helen says:

    That is excellent, Marael, and please mix a margarita for me (unfortunately you’ll have to drink it yourself…) I did assume the spelyinge was alcohol-affected, yes! although she seemed quite rational when I picked her up. Not vomming into the gutter or anything.

  • Helen says:

    It’ll be an Embarassing Story for the 21st party.

  • Ariel says:

    Belated thanks Helen!

    The ‘gay’ as putdown thing drives me nuts too … but more with my siblings than F. The fact that The Husband’s mother has repartnered as a lesbian and that F absolutely adores them means that he gets that whole thing much better than my late twentysomething siblings do. (My sister says ‘I’m not being offensive to GAY people by SAYING that, you know. It’s just a SAYING’, whereas F says ‘M and E are gay and they’re great – so you shouldn’t use the word gay as an insult.’)

    Girlchild does sound pretty great. I’m impressed that your kids have willingly friended you, too.

    I’ll borrow the ‘very big room’ analogy when F joins FB …

  • blue milk says:

    I love the story.

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