A Cop's Advice for Parents of Teenagers and Other Alien Life Forms

Kids are great-most of the time. Don't forget they're kids and you're the parent. Don't let the tail wag the dog.


Someone asked me why I got into police work. I don't remember other than it seemed to be a pretty cool job with lots of benefits like a gun and fast cars.

Back then, insignificant things like money and insurance never hit the radar. I was influenced by such police mentors like Officer Pete Malloy and Jim Reed of "Adam-12," the very early, non-cursing version of "End of Watch" which I spoke of recently. 

I don't remember ever meeting a police officer when I was a small kid. I'm sure I did as my parents are firmly of the opinion that I was a future felon based on my childhood stunts like asking for mom to tie my shoes and then pouring my glass of milk on her head when she did so. Ha!

Such shenanigans ended when she bought a gun.

I do remember meeting quite a few cops during my high-school years. Looking back, they were very kind to me, offering to supervise the pouring of my beer from my car to the pavement of the parking lot of the old Peachtree High School. Another night of "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" cut short by the Man!

After I got into this business, I realized that a lot of things had come full circle. I was now supervising the hapless young teenagers while they poured their beer out onto the parking lot all the while noting that some things remain the same. There is a market for cheap beer.

My advice for parents of teenagers. Don't trust them. I don't mean generally, but only while they're teenagers--and then maybe into their twenties if they insist on still living at home. Be sneaky. When they're going to spend the night with someone and the curfew is midnight, get the address and then force yourself out of bed after Leno's monologue and show up.

Yes! Piss them off! They'll hate you for it but they won't forget. You don't have to do it all the time, just be systematically unsystematic.

What will happen? Well, I'll bet the first time you do it, they won't be there at midnight. The next thing you do is call on the their cell phone:

"Hi, it's dad. You guys back? It's midnight."

"Yes we are."




"You're there aren't you."


"I hate you."

"I love you too. You have fifteen minutes to get home--my home and starting now."

Two things are going to happen: One, they will know that you are serious and capable of invading their personal space and party time.

Two, they're going to improvise. This means you must follow up. The worst habit a parent can get into is laziness. To enforce your rules, you have to realize that you won't be popular. If your goal is to be your teenager's best friend, you're in trouble. Be the parent (and by parent I mean the bad guy sometimes) and be consistent.   

Don't forget that you always have the advantage. Don't think so? Two words: Cell Phone. I took my son's cell phone away once and you would have thought he was Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway." Talk about isolation. He actually had to speak words and not text them. He was home at 11:59 on the dot!

You're doing this because you love you kid and letting them out and about at 3 am is no good. Nothing good happens after midnight so that my friend is your curfew. 1 am? Never. That only adds an  hour to what they can get into. If you don't think so, go out at 1 am and see who's out there. Deviants, druggies, drunks, crooks, and other undesirables. In other words, my preferred customers. 

I'm sure your kids are great kids. I just don't want to meet them at 3 am. 

Remember, the reward is two fold: One, if you have your eyes open as a parent, you will prevent something that could get them in serious trouble. Two, and this is the best motivation of all: Someday they will have children, and then teenagers of their own. 

It is then that our revenge is complete!



This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Anne Boatwright October 08, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Love your articles Capt Steve -- keep them comin'!
Carol Thompson October 09, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Always comforting to know you're not alone with the dilemma of parenting teenagers . . . thanks Steve - good advice and my laugh for the day!


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