A Teen’s Basic Needs

I’m sure you have all seen the following in one form or another. Well I just had too…


I’m not one to leave things alone. Nope. I have to do a little digging to ensure I have some answers to questions that will surely arise if I am heading into a discussion. So further to my blog this morning, I felt the need to prepare for my talk with the teens this afternoon. Some of my research dates back to a conversation that happened many years ago with my oldest.

She was throwing a fit over something that happened shortly after she entered her teen years. Funny how that happens… again that TEEN ending seems to warp their brains. Anyway, I can’t remember what she was pouting about but she was going to call Child Social Services on me because I was obviously a mean Mom that didn’t really care about her (if I recall, I believe this temper tantrum was over the fact we were having leftovers for dinner. And she hated leftovers). So she yelled at me that she was going to call. I looked her in the eyes and told her I would dial. Stopped her in her tracks. I then, with a smile, explained that they wouldn’t be taking me out of the home while they investigated the facts on this case. Oh no Hun. They would remove YOU from this so blatantly obvious unfit home you live in.

She stood defiantly by as I explained they would place in her in foster care where she would live as they conducted their investigation into her claims. She may or may not be in this neighborhood. She may or may not attend school at her school. Her foster parents may or may not get her involved in sports. They may or may not take you to your softball games. You may or may not have your own room, like you do here. You may or may not get to hang out with your friends (once you make new ones in your new neighborhood that is). You may or may not get hot lunches paid for. And the list went on. So I picked up the phone and asked if she still wanted to make that call. If so, could she please let them know that she has 3 siblings and that if they could please pick them all up by the weekend that would be great. All of a sudden, this Mom had plans that didn’t include children.

So after last night’s tiff with the next one in line, I decided to google some information. So kids, here is what I found.

Did you know that I have to provide you with 3 square meals a day? So I’m thinking a peanut butter sandwich, a glass of milk with an apple for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. It covers all the food groups; protein, dairy, breads and fruits. I may change it up for dinner and offer you some carrot sticks. I mean, variety is the spice of life! No more stops at McDonalds for a quick bite on the way to whatever sporting event you are involved in. No more homemade cookies straight from the oven. No more worry about what to make for dinner. Grocery shopping is going to be a breeze! And oh so cheap.

Speaking of cheap. Those $150 runners you like to wear… I sure hope we can find them at Value Village or Good Will. Because I will no longer be buying you brand name anything. I bet we can get you a whole wardrobe with that money I would spend on just shoes. Grab a basket and shop till your heart’s content! But remember, I will have final say on what you will be wearing. Nothing too revealing, I mean, it says here that it is my responsibility to ensure your safety. That is just part of what I have to provide.

And your safety is important to me. I would hate for anything to happen while you were out roaming around with your friends. No more skate park, mall trips, or anything like that. If you would like to hang out with your friends, invite them over here. I am sure they will love to play a game of monopoly or cards. Yes, I will ensure there is something for you to do for entertainment. No longer will I have to spend close to $100 to take us all to a movie at the theatre. Nor will I have to share my season tickets to the football games and I will be sure to let your dad see this as well (say good bye to those Oiler’s hockey games you love to attend). No more Xbox. Those games are violent! No more cable. Most of the shows on there are not suitable for your viewing anyway.

Yes, you will still need to keep those orthodontic appointments. It says here I have to provide medical and dental treatment. I will ensure that you are brushing your teeth on a regular basis, morning and night. Reminding you often actually.

I searched and searched in this document for anything that says I have to provide you with those expensive cell phones I pay for each month. Funny thing, there was nowhere in that document saying I had to ensure you had a cell phone. Huh… well isn’t that strange! So please hand over the phones. I guess that would also fall in line with safety. We all know that the internet can be a big scary place. So I have upped the parental controls on the computer that I graciously let you use. No longer will you have to worry about stumbling onto a website that is not appropriate for you. I have taken care of that worry for you.

It also says in here that I have to ensure you have access to an education. I will make sure you get to and from school every day. I will also ensure that you have the supplies you need. But it doesn’t say anything about the $20 binders you want or the big package of felts or pencil crayons you like to pick out. I would also suggest that you take care of the ones I purchased already. I am only buying them once. I did my part in providing them, you will have to do your part in making sure you don’t lose them. That new backpack that you saw that you really wanted?? Ya, the one from last year is still good. Just stitch up the part that is coming apart at the seams. You took home ec, you know how to sew.

Gone are those trips to Chapters for new books. You can visit the library to check out books. Gone are the early morning trips to Starbucks. Your breakfast is in the fridge (the peanut butter is in the cupboard).

Am I missing anything… hmmmm. Oh yes, all those trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Disneyworld, etc that I have taken you on… yup you guessed it. Doesn’t say anything in this document about HAVING to take you. All I have to do is ensure you are left with a responsible adult. That I can most certainly do.

All those extracurricular activities you enjoy, wresting, basketball, football, softball, badminton, rugby, etc, well I don’t have to pay for those. There are some sporting things around the house. Maybe you could entice your siblings to get outside and enjoy a game. In the backyard. Where I can keep an eye on you. For safety reasons of course.

It also says in here that I have to make sure you feel loved and feel like you have value. Well, that is easy. If I didn’t love or value you, do you honestly think I would be looking into your well-being? I’m sure you will adjust to this new way of living.

You might even understand the value of what you DID get compared to what I HAVE to provide.

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Debbi Serafinchon Written by:

Just an average ordinary woman being herself on this crazy ride we call life. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I chose to bring along 4 crazy side kicks on this journey, my 4 kids. The actual realization of my journey began after my divorce. Hindsight being what it is, I realized before my divorce I was just going through the steps. My eyes are now wide open to the path ahead of me.

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