How Not To Raise Your Teenage Daughter (Parenting Teen Girls Reality TV Style)

Monday was the season opener of the New Jersey franchise -- the guiltiest of pleasures. One of the moms, Jackie, has an 18-year old daughter. As I watched one particular uncomfortable exchange about sex, I realized this woman has executed a huge parental fail. Jackie kept repeating over and over - while discussing her daughter's way-too-old boyfriend, that she assumed they were having sex and hoped they were being safe, but she didn't want to know. You don't want to know?? Look, I get that you don't want to know all the gritty details of your kid's sex life, but shouldn't responsible parenting involve, oh, I don't know, a mature discussion about going on birth control or using condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancies or disease? How about you discuss how abstinence is preferred, but failing that, the health and safety of your child is your primary concern? Surely, have "the talk" with your kid should involve more than "I don't want to know" and "I don't really care." I thought it was teenage girls who were supposed to be apathetic, not their parents!

This display of parental fail continued throughout this horrible exchange. Jackie's daughter barely graduated high school and has now moved out of her parents' house, but hasn't attempted to enroll in college or get a job. "Shouldn't you, like, do something?" Jackie asks her daughter. Her daughter responds that she'd love a paycheck. Jackie does not inform her daughter that usually, unless one's occupation is Real Housewife of [random locale], one generally needs a job to receive a paycheck. There is no discussion of career options. In fact, there's no further discussion, period. Is this what we call good parenting these days? Seriously?!

Another example of stellar parenting on this premiere episode of New Jersey's sophomore season is Danielle. She loaded her kids in the car in the middle of the night to circle the Jersey highways, verging on stalking another housewife's $1000 per plate party, all the while proclaiming, "I don't care that they didn't invite me. But I just want to go see." The crazy behavior didn't stop until her daughters had pled with her for what felt like forever to just please go back home. So instead of parenting her girls, Danielle's teenagers are parenting her?? I'd say HUGE parent fail... The first of many, I'm sure.

Look, I get it, my child is nowhere close to being a teen, so I have not yet had to deal with the discomfort of having "the talk" or getting to that oint where my child is truly leeching off me. But I hope when we do get to that age, we can have a mature and honest discussion, which doesn't sound like two teens each trying to whine louder than the other; and I'm certain I would never as Pop Culture Teen to be an accomplice in childish and possibly illegal behavior. /rant

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