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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 4, 2006 / 12 Tishrei, 5767

Permissive parents always bug my pest guy

By Marybeth Hicks



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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When the doorbell rings, it's all I can do to pull myself out of the chair and walk to the front hall. Reaching for the Kleenex box has sapped all my energy, and now, holding my head upright is causing my sinuses to flood. By the time I reach the door, I have to sneeze the word "Hello" to Bert, my pest-control man.


"You're sick," he says, stating the obvious.


"Yeah, one of my kids brought a disease home from school," I explain.


Bert pumps his bug juicer a few times and then starts simultaneously spraying and talking. He hasn't been here in a month, so we have a lot of catching up to do.


"So, we both have high school seniors this year," I say. "How's your daughter doing so far?"


Bert and I often compare notes on rearing teenage girls. Usually he laments her choices of friends and activities.


"Well, she's not pregnant."


Yikes. This is just a Friday morning bug visit, and what with my plugged nasal passages and the cloud remaining in my brain from last night's antihistamines, I'm not too quick on the uptake.


"Um ... is that something you're concerned about?" When in doubt, ask a question.


Bert goes on to explain that three of his daughter's closest friends "turned up pregnant" over the summer, a development about which he's appalled. He has decided his measure of success for his daughter's senior year is to assure that the only tests she takes are in school and not in an obstetrical office.


"The thing that slays me is that these 17-year-old girls are happy and excited. They can't wait to be mommies." He shakes his head as he moves to the kitchen on a quest for pests.


Sadly, Bert has concluded he's the only parent in his daughter's social sphere who "has a clue." For example, last spring, he was the only one to object to a hotel room on prom night.


He's the only one who said "no" when his daughter asked to go on a spring-break cruise with a group of girls and one mom as a chaperone. ("How the heck is one mom going to supervise a dozen teenagers on a cruise ship?")


He was alone in his fight against his daughter's decision to have her nose pierced. Even Bert's wife threw up her hands on that one with the rationale, "At least it's not a tattoo."


According to Bert, teenage motherhood is the obvious result of the permissive and complacent parenting going on around him. He looks at me in confusion and says, "What are these people thinking?"


Indeed.


Most of the time, we work ourselves into a conversational lather as Bert tells me the latest episodes in his parenting saga, but today, I'm too sick to get my ire up the way I usually do.


"I guess we're just 'old school,'" I say, shaking my head in congested agreement as I shuffle back to the den to watch TV.


Picking up the remote, I begin my search for suitable sick-day entertainment, all the while thinking about the cultural shift that has permitted a measure of teenage success to become "She's not pregnant."


At about that moment, my channel surfing lands on Janet Jackson's new video. Seeing it surprises me for a couple of reasons.


First, I thought we had blocked all the music-video channels from our television, but apparently we missed one at the top of the dial, and second, Janet is revisiting the "wardrobe malfunction" she debuted at the Super Bowl a few years ago.


This time, though, there is no mistake. Janet's pornographic lyrics and coarse choreography are punctuated intentionally by flashes of her bare breasts.


I watch this "artistic" rendition of a song called "So Excited," and even in my foggy state of consciousness, it's obvious to me that Bert is up against a whole lot more than just the permissive parents at his daughter's high school.


He's up against the Janet Jacksons of the world — the people who make lots of money selling sex to teens through music, movies, TV shows and magazines.


A dad with a strong set of values to pass along to his daughter is no match for the constant barrage of media messages about what constitutes desirable behavior, not to mention the inertia of adults who let the culture set their children's moral standards.


Then again, despite the odds that the culture will win the war, my money's on Bert (and not just because he has a successful track record against pests of all varieties).


The reason I think Bert will prevail and ultimately will help his daughter toward responsible adulthood is because he won't leave it alone.


He still talks to his daughter about her choices and doesn't shy away from the tough questions and unpleasant conversations.


He still gets mad when other parents throw up their hands and declare they can't control their teens.


He's still incredulous about the provocative way girls dress and the poor manners he sees in teenage boys.


He still expects his daughter to comply with his rules as long as she's living in his house.


In short, Bert is proof that "old school" dads are still out there.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 19 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


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© 2006, Marybeth Hicks