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Raising the iPod Generation

Those of you experiencing the pleasure of parenting adolescents, you can empathize with me here.

A few weeks ago, I had a discussion with my 12-year-old when he "didn't have anything to wear" for us to run errands. He balked when I pointed out the nice sweat pants in his drawer. By "nice," I mean the version with a hem instead of elastic. "But Mom," he argued, "people will think I'm wearing my pajamas in public."

So, later when I was at the grocery store, imagine my surprise to see grown women wearing their bedroom slippers. Okay, I wasn't really surprised, at least not the first time. But after repeated sightings, I began to realize that this was not a person with a temporary foot discomfort. This was a new trend.

I filed this info away with all other trends, meaning I didn't give it another thought. Until I read somewhere (sorry I can't give due credit here, but at the time, I again didn't give much effort) about the new iPod generation, connecting the love of taking ones music everywhere with the urge to talk on cell phones in restaurants and wearing pajama pants in public. The author said this proves that today's society acts as if they are at home, no matter where they are. Thinking of my now-generation pre-teen refusing to wear sweats, I thankfully assumed that I had raised him to be oblivious to "worldly trends." Then, yesterday he discovered his big brother's sleep pants almost fit. As he headed out the door wearing them, I stopped him short.

"But Mom, this is the style now," was his reply.

So, pants that aren't pajamas but appear to be are unthinkable, but pants that actually are pajamas are the style? Sigh, I'm feeling older every day and out of touch with this "at home everywhere" generation.

But it seems I don't even get to enjoy being at home. Last night, I received complaints that my boys' Nerf basketball game was too loud for the neighbors downstairs. Really, I understood.

But at the same time, I had to smile. Pajamas, iPods, indoor ballgames - if I can't be young and carefree again, at least I can enjoy it in my kids. They are truly wonderful. I wouldn't trade them for all the tucked-in shirts and belted khakis in the world.

Next time you see a young person in the store with a plastic growth stuck to their ear, give them a smile and say "hi," which they will translate into "wassup."

You'll be pleased with the outcome. I know from experience.

Web posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006


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