I've been spending the last three nights in Orlando with my son 17, my niece 15 & nephew 18 years old and their computers.
Two summers ago, this trio I call the Cyber Junkies due to their addiction to their computers, spent the summer with me in Roatan, Honduras so this summer hanging out thing, is starting to look like a trend.
These non-Belizean raised kids are much different than my Belizean raised teen age neices & nephews. They don't want to leave the dark dungeon feel of their bedrooms sitting in front of their computers playing games or chatting online with friends. The Belizean raised kids love to party and love the outdoors & the ocean and miss Belize because of the freedom afforded them there and always have a bunch of friends hanging around. Now that they have all recently migrated to First World, they too have become addicted to the computer. So this computer addiction is most common in a developed country rather than a developing country. Third world kids don't miss what they don't know.
I don’t mind hanging with this crew, it’s a different world spending 24/7 with teenagers and I did not really know what that was like until recently. I am relishing the young blood company and catching up on some of the times I had been missing. They know everything just like I use to know everything at that age! I don’t argue, I let them think they do. I have gained wisdom but I don't have to force feed that down their throats. I was raised 'tough love' style & I think it worked wonders for me. They can learn from the school of hard knocks too, shape some character, especially if they don't want to listen to the voice of reason, which quite possibly is not me.
TEEN: “we like ribbing you until we get under your skin Aunty Tina, just to see you squirm.”
ME: “what do you mean squirm? I don't squirm.”
TEEN: “when you tell us to do something, we like to challenge you, but you just back away”
They know that I lack basic 101 parenting skills, I am open about it with them. I tell them I don’t really have the experience, the most I know about teenagers is how to act like one & I can relate to their angst. Plus, my mother is so strict, so I don’t want to be like that, I’m much more of a chillaxed person. Kudos to my mother though, all that old fashioned whipping made me a better person, & I don't need therapy because of it.
The teens admire my chaperon skills & my taste in music. The new generation still likes the old classic rock.
I take great pleasure in trying to corrupt the Cyber Junkies, always trying to drag them someplace where they would not normally go - that is, anywhere out of the house. If it has any shock value, better yet. Like I told Teen nephew (who recently turned 18) when we passed the Gentleman's club in Orlando, that I was willing to pay for a lap dance if he would gather the cojones to go in and get it. It was my turn to watch him squirm for I know that he is not interested in anything that doesn't have a micro chip in it. He gave me a smart comeback, he said "No thanks Aunty Tina, they have a NO TOUCH POLICY subjecting me to cruel & unusual punishment"
TEEN (argument): "Different generation Aunty Tina, remember in 1983 when you got your first T.V. how your mother couldn't pry you away from that one channel WGN you use to get? You yourself said you watched Cubs games for hours everyday and you did not even like baseball. You'll never forget Harey Carey"
ME: "Yeah, but we still use to go outdoors and do sport activities & socialize"
THEM: "we don't want to be sporty or go outdoors & we socialize online, we are the cyber generation, entertained by our computer, that's what the new generation is all about, we are in a technological world"
ME: "Only in your country where you can afford computers, the rest of the third world countries teenagers are still having a hell of a good time hanging outdoors enjoying nature".
But we did manage to have some summer fun in Orlando, and I got them away from their computers. We visited Islands of Adventure and they even convinced me get on my first roller coaster ride ever. Well, that was also my last roller coaster ride. My body reacted to those hair pin upside down turns in slow motion. The tram would leave and the rest of my body spent the time trying to play catch-up. It took me a good hour sitting down to recover my equilibrium. After that, I was strictly a spectator.
On the way back to Miami, I missed my exit and got lost eventually ending up where I intended to go, but not before adding a few extra hours to the journey & after travelling through alligator alley & many back water roads through the Everglades Park & Mecosoukee Indians reservations to arrive. Getting lost was a tour in itself, Florida like I had never seen it & it was beautiful & tranquil, & I hauled ass down the one lane highway without traffic or state troopers in sight.