What does what Teenagers are Doing Have to Do with Grandma?

TeenagersAs I was wondering why my brother would send me and the parents of our grandchildren all under ten years old,  an article entitled, “Parents Beware: 11 Dangerous Teenage Trends All Parents Should Know About: Teens are using drugs and alcohol in scary new ways,” it came to me.

The bad memories of having raised a rebellious teenager came first.  I remembered the dangerous behaviors that still bring a pit to my stomach decades later.  The article, by Elizabeth Martinez, at Parent’s Society, says it better:

Teenagers are always pushing the envelope. The latest teen trends make the underage drinking games of yesterday look like child’s play. Here’s an inside peek at some of the dangerous things teenagers are doing today . and that they will never tell you about.

Fear and concern came next.  What in the world is this generation of teenagers doing?  Here is what Ms. Martinez writes:

1. Planking

 The activity involves lying face-down on any surface. Once in position, the participant’s friends take a picture and share it on the web through various social media outlets. It might sound harmless and even funny, but some teens have expanded their creativity and planked on unusual and sometimes dangerous surfaces such as rooftops, vehicles, or escalators. Many have been injured and at least one death has been reported.

 2. Vodka Eyeballing

 Teenagers are quick to find new ways to consume alcohol without leaving the obvious smell of booze on their breath. This new trend involves pouring vodka directly into the eye, passing through the mucous membrane and entering the bloodstream through the veins around the eyeball. The result is a quick buzz. If done often, this activity can burn or scar the cornea, and in some extreme cases cause blindness.

 3 The Choking game

 This game creates a momentary high parallel to that caused by the use of certain drugs. The child uses various restraints to cut off the flow of blood to the brain, depriving it of oxygen. After the restraint is released, the blood immediately rushes back into the brain and evokes that natural high feeling. Many who have played this game have passed out and lost consciousness.

 4. Vodka Gummy Bears

 News broke recently about YouTube videos that showed how to infuse candy with alcohol. Kids now have access to a step-by-step tutorial on how to soak gummy bears in vodka and consume them in plain view just about anywhere. The result is an instant buzz not easily detected on their breath. The candy is often consumed in big amounts, rapidly leading to high levels of intoxication. Kids are unaware of the amounts of alcohol in each piece of candy so they begin popping gummy bears until the buzz kicks in. Reports have shown that several kids have ended up in the E.R. being treated for alcohol poisoning.

 5. Smoking Smarties

 Also fueled by internet tutorials, smoking smarties involve crushing the candy until it is in powder form. Once fully dissolved, an opening is made on the side of the package to allow puffing the sugar powder and exhaling it like cigarette smoke. Inhaling the sugar powder from the smarties candies can cause infections, chronic coughing, and even choking.

 6. Tampon Drunkenness

 A tampon is soaked in alcohol and then inserted in a girl’s vagina or a boy’s rectum. The alcohol is soaked up by the vaginal walls, creating the feeling of being intoxicated without sipping alcohol directly. Besides the obvious risks to those private body parts, the tampon can soak up about a shot of alcohol, increasing the risk of alcohol poisoning.

 7. Distilling Hand Sanitizer

 This inexpensive and very accessible product is easy for kids to get their hands on. Salt is used to separate the high quantities of alcohol found in hand sanitizer, which is then consumed. The amount of alcohol used by distilling hand sanitizers is equivalent to that of a shot of hard liquor. Several cases have been reported, and a few teenagers have required medical treatment for alcohol poising as a result. Parents are urged to buy the foam type of sanitizer or ones that do not list ethanol as their prime ingredient.

 8. Car Surfing

 Here’s how it works: teenagers climb on top of a car, hold onto the roof, and pretend to surf while the driver hits the pedal and drives. The faster the car, the greater the fame for the rooftop surfer. Some kids have gone to the extreme, and tried surfing on top of trains and subways.

 9. Purple Drink

 This drink has become famous because of various rap artists who drink it in videos. Even NFL players have gotten in on the act. The drink includes a mixture of Sprite, Jolly Ranchers, and codeine cough syrup. It is highly toxic and can cause hallucinations, unresponsiveness, and lethargy. This concoction has been glamorized in the music industry so much so that a style of music has even been created to showcase the effects of the drink.

 10. ChatRoulette.com

 This website allows the user to anonymously chat online with anyone without the use of security blocks or filters. The website is easy to use and does not protect users from adult content or disturbing images. Once you’re logged on, the site pairs you up with a stranger. The user can choose to skip and go to the next pairing, or chat with that individual.

 11. Bath Salts

 Commonly referred to as “Purple Wave” and “Bliss,” this drug contains high levels of mephedrone, methylone, and MDPV, three drugs that cause hallucinations when smoked, snorted, or injected. Until recently, these salts were often found in smoke shops and were sold legally in the U.S. This drug can cause paranoia, suicidal behavior, and chest pain.

 Next came SAFETY!  Yes, the capitalization is intentional.  This Grandma is always concerned about safety. One of the greatest fear of any caregiver, especially a grandparent, is that you turn your head for one minute and an accident happens to one of the grandchildren.  If one of them is hurt, I am sick.

What about the babysitters!  Most everyone uses teenagers as babysitters.  I remember that if I used a teenager babysitter I knew the family well.  I looked for good stock.  Even so, I once had a problem, but it was of the having the boyfriend over kind, to the best of my knowledge.  Who knows if they went into our liquor?  The article gives me much concern.  I read it and saw several ways the dangerous behaviors could jeopardize the safety of any grandchildren in such a teenager’s care.

We knew, and I can remember back to the 1970s, that we should be careful about certain prescription drugs in a medicine cabinet that friends of your own teenagers might search out.  We dumped most of them in the toilet before we knew, and I cannot remember which decade it was, that we should not have disposed of the prescription drugs in that fashion.  The article does not mention misuse of narcotic prescription drugs.  I hope it is not because the author felt it was not one of the worst behaviors.  I sure think it is.  Some of the prescription drugs are as dangerous to experimenting teenagers as any of the above.

I thought about the teenagers our daughters have used as babysitters.  I am thankful that they were able to find responsible young adults, mostly college students or preschool teachers.  There have been a sprinkling of high school teenagers whose families they know well.

 So what does what Teenagers are Doing Have to Do with Grandma?  Grandparents  make the best “visitor.”  We do not babysit our grandchildren.  We visit our grandchildren.  Respite to the parents of our grandchildren not only gives us the opportunity to spoil our grandchildren, but allows us to help make their parents’ relationship stronger.  Life interferes with intimacy.  We, by visiting our children and giving the parents of our grandchildren some alone time, either to go out to dinner or overnight, helps their parents’ maintenance of the strong intimate connection, which I think is necessary for a happy relationship and a happy family.  We can take the worry of safety away sometimes.

Being long distance, we try to have the parents of our grandchildren go out to dinner alone once when we are visiting.  Our grandchildren cheer when they say yes, surprisingly now right in front of their parents!  We try to give the parents some other time alone without the children along during the day, or I should be honest, Grandpa and I try to have some other time alone with the children without their parents along.  The parents usually come back within two to three hours.  This Grandma does wonder if it is because they are trying to limit the candy somewhat!  We just front end it just in case.  It is so much fun for the grandchildren and us to anticipate the moment the parents leave so we can break out into our party to the song “We’re Having a Party,” by Rod Stewart.  The parents should not worry.  After taking out all of the snacks and candy and cookies and putting them on the table and dancing around the house and using calories, the grandchildren eat less than we expect.  That is less than WE expect.

So what about if, what some call babysitting is not what you like to do?  What if we cannot be there enough and there must be a babysitter?  Think about the babysitters the parents of your grandchildren are using.  And if you think appropriate, under the circumstances, have the discussion or pass along the link to the article.

It is just as my brother thought.  Grandma, even though all the grandchildren are under age ten,  needs to know what teenagers are doing.







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