True Parent 5
1. Take them to the woods. Boys do a lot less damage in the Gorge than in your house, or someone else’s.
2. Consider every surface in the bathroom contaminated with urine. (Or something.)
3. Expect noise. If other parents seem completely horrified at your kids’ loud, raucous, impulsive behavior—they probably have girls.
4. You are a noob. (Your teens will let you know this, repeatedly, loudly, and usually in very public settings.)
5. Get them a job. A real job is better than any afterschool program, sports activity, or summer camp ever.
6. They are always watching you. What you say, what you do, what you eat, what you drink. Every little hypocrisy you indulge in.
7. Sex and race matter. Boys are treated differently than girls by authority figures—and boys of color are treated differently than white boys. This is not typically beneficial for boys of color, and it is often painful, infuriating and wrong.
8. Making mistakes—even huge, appalling, shocking errors—is completely normal. It’s how teens learn. Be present, realistic, and make it clear that, however deep the hole, there’s usually a way to climb out.
Our cover parents Bill Griesar and Bob Duehmig (together 27 years) were honored to meet Dominic when he was 14 months old, and Jack a year later when he was nine months old. Today the boys are 16 and 14, respectively, and make their parents very proud.