Extreme Parenting

     Whether it’s finding the best way to sneak out of the house without making a noise or deleting every text message before a daily parental phone check, certain kids are well experienced in the art of hiding their personal lives from their parents.

     However, kids aren’t the only ones coming up with new strategies. Some parents are getting creative–perhaps just a sugarcoated way to say extreme–with raising and disciplining their children.

     To those parents who are lacking ideas for new ways to parent and discipline their teenagers, don’t worry, there’s an app for that.

     One junior’s parents have taken full advantage of technology to keep track of her, literally. Her parents use an app called Life360 which is “the world’s leading location sharing app.” The app allows parents to know where their kid is at all times, as long as the phone is on their person.

     Since this generation of teenagers is known for obsessions with material items, parents can easily punish their children by revoking various privileges.

     Sophomore Ireland Ziegler’s recurring punishment is either getting her phone or car taken away. This sounds like a reasonable consequence for breaking the rules; however, she isn’t let off that easily.

     “I broke one of the rules a couple weeks ago,” Ziegler said. “I took my car out to Sonic when they weren’t home, and they found out because they monitored how many miles I drove, and they figured out that I took it while they were gone.”

     She did the crime, and her parents are making sure she does the time. That time is six months, and she has to spend it walking to school every day.

     Ziegler said that her parents don’t have unreasonably strict rules for her, but they aren’t afraid to punish her when she misbehaves.

     In addition to the occasional consequence for acting out, her parents set a few daily restrictions.

     “I have to plug my phone in at 10 o’clock.” Ziegler said. “I have chores that I have to do by 6 o’clock every Sunday, like I have to have them done for the week, and that’s like cleaning my basement, and then I have to wash my car every week.”

     Once Ziegler plugs in her phone, her parents proceed to scroll through her text messages.

     “It just started like ninth grade, end of eighth grade when they started finding out things, and now they just don’t trust me anymore, so they’re like super strict,” Ziegler said.

     Ziegler says that because she continues to break the rules, her parents are at a loss for new ideas of enforcement.

     Another junior girl is painfully familiar with being punished for breaking the rules.

     On the evening of freshman year winter formal, her mom found out about her drinking habits.

     Prior to that night, the girl, who would like to remain anonymous, was a saint in her mother’s eyes. Her mom was oblivious to all of her experimental teenager actions.

     “When that happened, I lost all the trust because I lied to her about everything,” the girl said.

     Her high level of intoxication led her to unwittingly confess to all of her other involvement in boys, drugs and alcohol.

     Her mother’s eyes were wiped dry that night.

     The girl’s life became like the story of Rapunzel, only less fairytale-esque, as her mother took her out of school and put her under house arrest.

     From February of freshman year to August of sophomore year, the girl had a strict, straightforward agenda.

     “I had to be homeschooled, I had to go to church and I had to do volunteer work Monday through Friday from nine to two,” she said.

     Her mom took multiple precautions to isolate from everything in which she had been involved.

     “I wasn’t allowed to be friends with any of my friends that I was beforehand,” the girls said. “My phone got taken away, I wasn’t allowed to listen to music, wasn’t allowed to watch TV, wasn’t allowed to listen to the radio or anything on the computer.”

     It’s no surprise that the girl described her mom as “protective.”

     She said her mom’s protectiveness comes from “just being a mother, loving too much, I guess … She wants to keep me safe.”

     After months of her monotonous isolation, her mom decided she was allowed to return to school.

     The trust between the girl and her mom has finally been restored now that she has shown that she can be well-behaved. She says it’s a “fine” relationship without problems now, but they aren’t close.

     “I guess I keep it pretty like, tame … I wouldn’t say I lie to her, but I don’t tell her like everything that goes on because she’s so strict about like boys, parents being home, going places and all the different stuff,” she said.

     Through this ordeal, the girl did gain some perspective.

     “It definitely like changed my whole life,” she said. “It changes how people look at you obviously, … and it makes you more mature because I had to deal with it all on my own.”

     Another student, senior Maria Mckee who has never been grounded, has the opposite relationship with her parents.

     After watching their son become a father at age seventeen, Mckee’s parents see parenting in a different light. McKee says her parents had never been particularly strict but have always raised her in a relaxed environment. Mckee said what sets her parents apart from others is that they don’t make everything such a big deal.

     “They have a lot of trust in me,” Mckee said. “My parents understand what being a teenager is like, and they understand that like, if they put a lot of pressure on me to do things that I might rebel.”

     Mckee’s parents are the parents that all her friends love. Their house is the designated hangout place for her and her friends every weekend.

     “My parents are fun, and they’ll like come out and hangout with my friends … They just like to have a good time.” Mckee said. “My mom has more friends within my brothers’ friend group and my friend group just because she has a really young spirit I guess.”

     Mckee says her dad is laid back as well, despite the fact that many of her friends find him intimidating.

     Even after McKee had a brief run-in with the cops, her parents approached the situation in a nonchalant fashion.

     One night in ninth grade, McKee was in the car along with a group of her friends when they were pulled over. One of the friends had drugs and alcohol in the car, but none of them were high or intoxicated.

     Instead of delivering a condescending lecture or going into parental-lockdown-mode, Mckee’s dad simply laughed and said, “Just go home, don’t tell your mom, we’ll talk to her tomorrow,” as he drove her home from the incident. McKee was troubled at her lack of punishment and felt a strong need to confess what happened to her mom.

     In instances like those, McKee almost feels as if she were parenting her parents rather than the other way around.

     “It’s matured me a lot,” Mckee said. “In a way, I had to to grow up faster because I don’t have someone there to baby me … I have a new perspective of what’s right and what’s wrong … I learn from my mistakes more so than a lot of my friends.”