A teenage chip off the old block " but worse | VailDaily.com
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A teenage chip off the old block " but worse

Jeffrey Bergeron
Vail, CO, Colorado

“She lies, steals, cheats, does drugs and I think she is having sex.”

No, that is not a “Swift boat veterans for truth” campaign ad written when it was assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to get the Democratic nomination.

Actually, those words were used by my buddy, Paul, to describe his teenage daughter.

Paul and his daughter, Rachel, left last week for a road trip to Maine.

It was Paul’s last attempt at father-daughter bonding before he dropped her off at a 10-week boot camp for troubled kids.

When Paul described his daughter in those less-than-flattering terms it was in a non-judgmental, matter-of-fact manner.

“She lies, steals, cheats, does drugs and I think she is having sex.”

After saying that, he paused a few seconds and added, “I wonder where she gets that from?”

Both my friend and I knew that, if there were genetic blame, it would fall on Paul’s shoulders.

Paul’s wife, Sarah, is sweet, quiet, kind and spiritual. Paul, on the other hand, as a teen and young adult, was a wild child and I was right there with him.

To be clear, that was many years ago. Paul today is very successful, sober and he and his wife are very good parents. They married late, when both were settled. They are loving, involved and good role models for their kids.

Two of their children are on the dean’s list at Boston College; Rachel is going to boot camp.

When I asked Paul the theme and purpose of the “camp,” he said, “They do a lot of fun stuff, hiking, canoeing and swimming; the camp is on a huge lake. There are consolers, therapists and teachers that work with the kids. But basically, it is a lesson in accountability. Rachel will get rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad. Really, it is lot like real life, but it costs $3,000 a week.”

Paul said he hated to send his daughter awa,y but he is terrified that if she stays home, she will get pregnant, overdose or make some mistake that she will pay for for many years to come.

Parents have every right to be concerned, the world is a scary place today.

The repercussions of rebellion are much greater now than when Paul and I were running wild as teens. Of course, drunk driving was and is a concern. Back then the drugs of the day was mostly pot and beer and violence was confined to fist-fighting.

Yes, there was some teen sex, but it was mostly done in parked cars and in other uncomfortable places and both parents and society made it as difficult as they could.

Though I’m sure there were sexually-transmitted diseases back then, the only sexual ailment I was aware of happened when my buddy, Eddy, knocked a tooth out on a gear shift.

But the biggest difference was when Paul and I rebelled, we were turning our backs on the mores and morals of the ’50s and ’60s. We didn’t have to do much to be considered “wild.”

Long hair, bad fashion and spouting anti-establishment rhetoric was enough to be considered a rebel. Throw in a few street fights and petty vandalism and you were considered a regular suburban Billy the Kid.

Our role models were the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac.

I don’t know Rachel all that well but the behavior of her (badly behaved) role models ” Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse ” would make the rebels of my day blush. In addition, with the Web and heightened media scrutiny, when Hilton is caught by the paparazzi without her undies, gets loaded and smacks into a parked car, it’s on the news the next morning. Gossip was not as immediate in my generation ” we didn’t learn that Marilyn Monroe and JFK had an affair until long after both were dead.

I’m not discounting the role personality disorders play in the anti-social behavior of kids like Rachel, but I do contend that a perceived societal tolerance of bad behavior has upped the repercussion ante, as well as a parent’s heartburn.

“She lies, steals, cheats, does drugs and I think she is having sex.”

If my buddy’s daughter doesn’t mend her ways, perhaps she can go into politics.

Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at biffbreck@yahoo.com.

Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at Backcountrymagazine.com.


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