The Norman Transcript

September 14, 2013

Encourage kids to explore

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Q: My son is a ninth grader this year.  He has chosen electives because those are the electives his friends have chosen.  My wife and I feel like he should be in other classes and it has become a battle at our house.  What is your opinion?

Steve — OKC

A: As we have said before, electives are the perfect avenue to explore options that may never be available again. I completley agree with Jeannie that he is the one sitting in class doing the work and I am a huge proponent of taking classes that interest you.  

I do, however, feel that there is a time for a parent to step in while you still have some say so.  As a student I was scared to death to get up in front of people and speak. Had I taken a speech class it would have been a huge benefit to me later in life. Jeannie can attest to a time in my career when I had to speak in a huge auditorium and me knees were visibly shaking!

What about art?  I hear so many student say they can’t take art because they can’t draw. DUH!  That is like saying you can’t take algebra because you don’t know how to do the problems. 

We also have kids who won’t take an elective because they don’t know what it is. Find out!  Teachers love to talk about their subjects! Ask them! Perhaps a happy medium can be reached in the future where you both have input. High school is the time to take these classes because in college he will be paying for them!

Q: We are a very close family and my ninth-grade son has recently not been himself. I do not know the first signs of drug abuse but I am afraid that is what I am seeing.  Can you tell me what to look for?

Bruce — Purcell

A: Dear Bruce,

Although we are unsure of what signs you are seeking, some signs of separation from the family are an expected part of growing up.  At the same time, a shift in the dynamics of friendships could be a big sign.

Specifically speaking, statistics show most kids start by smoking weed.  Things to look for are red eyes, a coated tongue, delayed reactions, and putting physical distance between them and you.  There’s always the sickly-sweet aroma of pot that is indescribable and unforgettable!  Since smoking weed requires papers or a pipe, for example, you might find some of this paraphernalia in cars or bedrooms.

The latest rage is for kids to have pill parties.  They will raid parents’ medicine cabinets and either sell them for extra money or take them to trade with others.  The scary thing is not knowing what they might be getting in exchange.  

All parents should keep all medications locked up!  If a Valium is taken, they will be extremely tired and sleepy. If they take a friend’s adderall (ADD med), they will be bouncing off the walls since its essentially speed.

Don’t be afraid to email teachers to see what behavior in class is like. Let us know if we can be of further help.

Q: Dear Jeannie and Sally, My friends say I am oblivious.  My daughter is the dream child.  She gives us no trouble, makes good grades, has great friends.  My husband and I just don’t see the problem with her that other parents are facing when raising teenagers.  Are we missing something?

Kim — Moore

A: Dear Kim,

Do these friends know your daughter?  Are they parents of your daughter’s friends?  It could be they are most envious of your daughter in comparison to their own kids.  In all of our years, we’ve heard parents say they have great kids over and over.  

We’ve never really heard parents say their own child is a turd!  So, it sounds like you’re doing a great job ... so please don’t let it rock your world the first time your daughter exerts some independence!  Count your blessings!

The next time one of your friend’s say you are oblivious, ask them what you are oblivious about.  True friends will tell you if your daughter is up to something that you need to know!

Sally and Jeannie are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children,Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district. Send questions to