Teens Hanging Out
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Teens Hanging Out
I know I've read some things about this before but for the
life of me I'm scouring the message boards and can't find
the info anymore. I have a 15 1/2 yr. old son who loves
to just go over to Berkeley (from the other side of the
tunnell) and hang out with friends. They say they just
like to go in and out of stores but I hear them talking
about how someone asked them if they wanted to buy drugs,
etc. This is all daytime stuff. I have one girlfriend
who says it's harmless and another who says ... no way.
So far, we're been fortunate with him not getting into
much trouble and keeping his grades high. There is not
much to do in these sleepy towns on weekends so Berkeley
is very appealing. For those of you who live in Berkeley
and are reading this ... is it ok for me to drop them off
to hang out for a few hours and then have them take Bart
back? I'd really like some advice on this. Thanks.
If your son's 15 1/2 he's at that in between age where it's so
curiousity provoking and tempting and inviting for his "cool quotient."
If it's daytime I guess I'd let him go till I felt my trust had been
betrayed. They just feel so happy and cool when they're familiar with
Telegraph and the street people and the scene. You only have the
opportunity to parent for a short time more so doling out trust is
somewhat reinforcing of being deserving of it, in my opinion. I'm not
saying more than once a week or whatever fits in with his schedule, but
just enough so that he's feeling trusted and rewarded for his,
presumably, good grades and dedication and hard work at school :-)
Anonymous Berkeley Mom
Luckily, my kids live in Berkeley and only go to Telegraph
to shop or eat. Give your kid a break from the suburbs.
Make sure you give and he agrees to a time schedule; try
not to give him too much money and TALK when he gets
back. If he's not willing to talk about what he sees/saw
on Telegraph, he doesn't get to go for awhile. Remind him
of something stupid you did when you were a teenager, but
grateful it turned out okay ... or something like that.
Mom of 14 and 17 yr old
For what it's worth,we live in Berkeley, and my 15 year old son and his
friends regularly hang out together on Telegraph. They also hang out in
downtown Berkeley and on Solano Ave. My guess is there is nothing offered
on Telegraph that isn't offered at school. So we let him go and trust him to
make the right choices.
Ah, the old Berkeley drug-haven dilemma! It's been going on
for years. Berkeley, like most University towns in the U.S.,
draws a very diverse crowd. Of course there are those who
would, and do, offer drugs to rambling teens who are gadding
about the place. On the other hand, most likely no one is
forcing the kids to take it, and drugs usually aren't
offered for free. I, for one, have never even been offered a
free trial in the 40+ years I've lived here!
So your question is whether Berkeley is a safe daytime
activity for mid-teenaged people, and I would say by all
means, Yes. That is, as long as you trust that you child
isn't trying to cop drugs and has the common sense to Just
Say No, either by ignoring the offers or simply saying, ''no
thanks.'' If your child, or their friends, really want
drugs, a visit to Berkeley isn't a shoo-in to a dime bag,
neither is it the safest, cleanest place in the world to be
hanging out. But then, neither are S.F., New York, Boston
or Los Angeles.
Berkeley can be a very fun place to just hang out and do
''nothing,'' and I do think it's perfectly okay to drop them
off for a few hours during the day.
The parent who has concerns about their teen commuting to
hang out on Telegraph has every reason to be concerned. We
live in Berkeley not far from Telegraph and we would not
let our teens hang out on Telegraph (to go to Cody's or the
record store, yes...but not just to hang out). The scene
is not healthy. Besides, there are a lot better things to
do. There are some very amazing (and cool) people doing
creative things in Berkeley (and elsewhere). Your son
should hang out with them. For further thoughts on related
issues I highly recommend the book ''Our Last Best Shot'' by
Stepp. You can pick it up at Cody's.
There is nothing wrong with hanging out in Berkeley on Shattuck
or Telegraph if you know your kid and who he's hanging out with.
There are drugs. There are street people. There are a lot of
students. I would make sure your son has a cell phone, and make
it mandatory that the phone is on. Make sure your kid has a curfew
and that it's adhered to. Find out who specifically he's going to
hang out with. Spell out for your son what kind of behavior is not
OK, and tell him what the consequences will be if his phone is not
answering, he gets home late, or he buys or uses drugs.
Both my kids liked hanging out on Telegraph - we live within
walking distance. There are lots of people there and I think it's
safe. The one thing I'd do is mention to them that the street
people often target young kids to hit up for spare change. Kids
are a soft touch. I'm still explaining that they don't have to
do everything anyone wants them to do. You might give your kids
some hints about how to say "sorry, no" or otherwise plan ahead
how to respond.
My son is hanging out with his friends on Shattuck avenue on Friday with
what appears to me as no destination. Is this area safe. It wasn't several years
I sent this to another post tonight about unsupervised
parties but it contains stuff about Shattuck Avenue. I
would not be too worried if your teen is age 14 - 16 maybe
17? kinda pushing it. I know this is the stage where
they are looking for themselves seperate from us. Some of
the teens are individuals and this is where they
congregate, along with the Gilman, etc. I would be clear
howeve that it is not due to any problems at home and is
not directly drug related.
good luck all the best and remember this is only my
opinion on the matter.
so they all say
for some it is true. I am a very liberal mom but I also
enforce boundaries because they still need them. My teen
is 15 and can go to say the Gilman with friends but most
often is picked up by her dad or another parent, why? so
that she can not get too out of hand. I fully expect and
know that in fact most teens are experimenting with pot
and alcohol occasionally, once or often so don't fuss but
keep a close, close eye on it.
I try to reach a compromise in these situations, like what
if I was there? Or how about doing it
like________________________? If there is NO alternative
but NO supervision then she can't go. She screams and
wails but I wait it out as patiently as I can muster. She
has learned from this that I don't let her do this stuff
and she accepts what she can get and she gets more freedom
than lots of teens do. I allow her to have freedom with
RESPONSIBLITY. Wtih Freedom comes the greatest of all
responsiblities and she needs to learn that NOW. I remind
her of this regulary. I let out the rope, apron strings,
and see how she does. If she messes up or I suspect
strongly she has I reel it in a bit and then try again.
But there is no way she is going to a party with no
adult. She has tried the ''everyone is going to the beach
and staying the night, why can't I go with teenage drivers
and no adult?''. She doesn't try it anymore, she is not
stupid and I suspect you teen isn't either. They know
when we talk about drinking and driving and no supervision
in case something happens or someone gets drunk and
decides to drive what might happen.
By the way she is a regular at the park and hanging out on
Shattuck or other local spots but she is one of the most
responsible least drugged out teens there. A hallmark of
this is that she regulates herself with minimal input from
me at Berkeley High's Independent Study program. She also
absolutely hates hard drugs, period and doesn't associate
with the teens who engage in them. She has had a lot of
education about the ''real'' world and drugs and sex. This
too could be a subject that needs addressing here. We
were lucky and got it through speaking plainly to her her
entire life and through an education plan at the UU church
that intensified as they grew from 12 - 14.
hope this helps.
this page was last updated: Sep 22, 2010
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