Teenagers, Coffee and Jobs


Recently Jane asked me if I’d buy a coffee maker. You see she has a soy allergy so Starbucks and the like is not an option for her. There’s soymilk everywhere and when she has it there’s two days of feeling ill. Jane would like to drink some coffee in the morning and since I don’t have a coffee maker and she has the allergy that would require purchasing one.

I have thoughts about kids and caffeine. My kids have occasional sodas when we are at a restaurant. We don’t have soda in the house and I stopped drinking coffee sometime around 2010 when I had the flu and didn’t leave my bedroom for four days straight. With that being said I’m not militant about caffeine, just reserved. So when Jane asked about coffee I asked my Facebook friends what they would do and the answers were all over the place.

I think what surprised me most was the number of people who think a 16 year old should buy their own coffee maker. Which led me to another question. Are 16 year old kids working these days? None of the local stores here will hire a 16 year old. There are plenty of college graduates pushing buttons at McDonalds and Starbucks. Movie theaters are staffed by adults and the unemployment rate in Los Angeles is still higher than most of the country so I never considered asking my kids to get jobs.

Also, I’d like them to concentrate on being students.

Here is a smattering of the comments:

Tell her for $25 she can purchase a 3-4 cup machine at Target and you’ll gladly loan her the counter space?


Buy them instant coffee and tell them to get a job.


She can save up for her own with her part time job


Let them pick out which one they want. (on their dime)


No reason why she can’t buy her own. They have to learn that at some point. My post college son just paid his first doctor bill.


luxury items can be vetoed, veto the request




Send her to my house where the pot is always warm, and I’ll always be ready to sip with her:)


She CAN work for it. You may have found something that motivates her, that’s awesome! When I was her age, I was publishing a magazine and working as a live-in au pair half of my weekends.


You buy a coffee maker.

There is a lot of input about what people did when they were teens. I had a job at 15. My manager at the Mann Theaters always wanted to see my boobs. That was awesome. When I was 17 and worked at the Glen Center a certain celebrity used to grab me from behind and say, “My girlfriend is about your size. What should I buy her?” I was fired from that job because I didn’t know how to iron things. I think I could have entered the workforce at 18 and had the same success but that’s just an anecdote, I’m just one person.

My kid is 11. He and I both plan that he will have a job when he’s 16. He’ll have to pay for his own car insurance or he won’t be able to drive. Chauffeur is not on my resume.


After raising one adult with the mentality that school should be their job, I have now decided that my younger two will need to work minimal hours once they are driving to help understand the the concept of earning money.


I grew up poor. My mom couldn’t afford money for lunch when I had a debate match or other school trip so as soon as I was able, I got a job. I was 16 and I haven’t stopped working since. But I agree – if you don’t NEED the money (I went hungry without it) then a teen needs a chance to be a KID and not work.


I had a job after school and weekends from 16 and up. My kids will also work after school, weekends and summers once they’re of legal working age.


I don’t have a teen so my mileage may very but I had a job starting at 14. I agree that school (and extracurriculars) are your job, but we had a family business, which changes that dynamic somewhat I think. I still didn’t buy my own food, or any necessities. “My” money was for fun/entertainment/fashion, and I enjoyed the freedom of wanting something and being able to buy it myself. My parents still supported me.


My youngest brother is 17 now, and job opportunities for teens have changed considerably with the recession. Jobs that used to be for high schoolers are now held by adults. He couldn’t get a job if he wanted to, unless he was able to find someone’s dad or similar to hire him. Contrast to his older siblings who were all ABLE to work. So I think that is definitely a factor.


I would have summer jobs, but during the school year my mom was insistent that I focus on school. As for coffee… Im still surprised teenagers even drink coffee in high school. I wasn’t introduced to coffee until college… that and LSD.

I love Facebook and blogs because teens are not at all alike. Two year olds are all developing mostly the same, six year olds too. By the time you hit adolescence kids and parents are all concentrating on different things. Some kids are entering puberty, others are playing in the sandbox. With every year that progresses my parenting diverges more from the ideal and becomes Jane and Alexander’s ideal.

My friend Sharon is 10 years older than I am and her children are 10 years older than each of mine. She has warned me that when they’re little you’re a manager and as they age you become a consultant. I think we have reached the age of consultancy with Jane and we are in a transition period with Alexander.

When my kids were in elementary school I knew what kind of mother I’d be to middle school kids. By the time my kids hit middle school I knew that I had no clue what high school would bring. Every year I’m less certain about what we’re doing but when I parent with my child in mind (as opposed to an imaginary perfect child) I’m pretty sure we’re on the right track. Even if it’s not your track.

I have two questions:

Does your teenage child have a job?

Does your teenage child drink coffee?

This is Why UBER Should be on Every Kid’s Smart Phone


I’m at a party with my friend Laurie and we’re talking to this really nice guy who has a seven month old daughter. I’m typically really cautious when I talk to new parents because I don’t want to scare them. Especially Dads. Especially the Dads of daughters.

We totally failed when I started talking to Laurie about how unpanicked I am about leaving Jane to wander Century City with her friends. “She has Uber.” I said. And sort of shrugged.

Then Laurie and I started talking about why every kid should have Uber on their phone and when we got to the part about being a teenager and on occasion not wanting to get into a car with a Dad who plays grab-ass the new Dad looked at us with horror in his eyes. Even though 100% of the adult women at the party sort of nodded and knew what that felt like I was all, “Oh but times have changed. I’m sure it will never be an issue.”

Because ya know… new parents… sometimes you’ve got to lie to them.

Laurie was insistent that I’ve got to blog about it so, here’s how I use Uber with my kids.

I’ve installed the app on Jane’s phone because she’s out and about with her friends both during the day and at night. She also goes to parties and not all of them are with close friends. I’ve told her that she should use Uber to get herself home if she is ever uncomfortable getting into a car with anyone for any reason. Some of the reasons I’ve talked to her about are parents who have been drinking, parents who make her uncomfortable (and there doesn’t have to be a name for the discomfort), teenagers who make her uncomfortable (same thing, no reason needed) or if there’s anyplace she wants to leave and she doesn’t want me picking her up.

I’ve told Jane, and I will honor this, that if she gets herself home with Uber from a sticky situation at noon or at 2am there will not be any negative consequences. She won’t be in trouble for going to a party with alcohol or drugs. She won’t be in trouble for being out with friends. She will never be punished for getting herself home safely.

I’ve decided to give the kids Uber for a variety of reasons. Each and every reason in it’s essence is because I love my children.

When I met the Push Girls last year I noted that four of the five women I met were in wheelchairs because of car accidents. The accidents were all excessive speed or alcohol fueled. If a smart phone app can get my child home without risking dangerous driving conditions I’d be a fool to not use it.

Parents of teens: I’m going to ask you to do something we should all do at least once a day. I want you to be still and quiet and try to remember being 14 or even 17. Now put yourself at your friend’s house and their parents have just left. All of a sudden 5 other kids appear and they’re thinking about drinking a beer and smoking some pot. What does the 14 year old you do?

The only answer I have is that I know the 14 year old you doesn’t call Mommy for a ride home.

Now imagine the same scenario. The 14 year old you pulls out a smart phone (it’s probably already out) and texts for a town car. 14 year old you can hop into the back seat of a limo and get home. My credit card information is already stored in the app, no money changes hands and your private driver gets you home.

Boom. Done. Decision made.

Taxis in Los Angeles are filthy, dangerous and unreliable. Public transportation is something we struggle with and is only marginally safe. Plus there could be walks of up to a mile, kids can’t do that when they’re already feeling unsure. Los Angeles is not the worst city for public transportation but it’s close.

I’m totally okay with UberX and I’ve loved my drivers but I’ve asked my kids to use a black car first. I’d rather have a professional driver with them but if there’s an exceedingly long wait they should use UberX. With little kids I like that extra level of vetting but at the end of the day UberX would probably be just fine.

Thus far Jane’s only used Uber with friends during a scavenger hunt (long Hollywood story). I wasn’t exactly thrilled but part of me is delighted that she and her friends can get themselves around town and have experienced the app without me.

Remember when you’d go out and your parents wanted to be sure that you had $20 on hand to not spend, it was just in case money? Well, this is the just in case app and I think it’s brilliant.

If you haven’t signed up for Uber you can use my link here to get a $10 credit.

Uber ratings safety

This is my Uber account history


It Sounds Like You Live With a Teenager


I’m reaching for my hairbrush and it’s not where it’s supposed to be. I scan the counter and see nothing so I yell Jane, where’s my hairbrush. She typically walks in, shrugs and then walks away.

Next I’m standing in her bedroom which is littered with expensive clothing that she routinely leaves on the floor to be trampled and I spy my hairbrush on her desk. I know it will be on her desk because the desk is where she does hair and nails, the bed is where she does homework.

I return to the bathroom where my husband is calmly brushing his teeth and tell him that our daughter is beyond sloppy and not allowed in the master suite. No bedroom, no bathroom, no closet. This is when he smirks and says the same thing every time, “It sounds like you live with a teenager.”

Which is not the right answer. The right answer would be him marching in and telling Jane to use her own brush, hang up her clothes and stop living like an animal. I think we know that isn’t going to happen. Let’s face it, the only people on earth who are unafraid of a teenage girl are adult women. More specifically, their mothers.

This morning Mr. G spent five minutes teaching Alexander how to do a bro hug. You know the one where you do the not quite a handshake grab and then a smack on the back?

On the upside the children are getting a phenomenal education, they should land themselves in top tier colleges and then good jobs. There will be plenty of cash for the talk doctor.

Approaching the Teen Age Years


Jane is twelve. This autumn she will be thirteen and I’m pretty sure what we’re experiencing here is not unique. The elementary school years were pretty easy, there were no big upheavals, just a bit of mean girl behavior in third grade that got nipped in the bud, but nothing monumental. Sixth grade was pretty much a cake walk too. This summer there’s been a change in the air.

Jane is pissed at me because I have limited her phone access. After 10pm she can only text us and her grandparents, the same goes for phone calls on the cell. Further, her computer time is limited to ninety minutes a day, the computer simply shuts off after ninety minutes. These simple steps save Mr. G and me from policing screen time.

Jane came to me with tears in her eyes. I treat her like a baby and none of the other parents have time restrictions for their kids. In fact some of her friends are scared of me.


I had to explain to Jane that I hadn’t recently called any of these other parents for advice on how to monitor social networking and child-rearing. I had to explain to her that unrestricted smart phones for 12 year olds means that a parent isn’t doing their job. I then got to remind her that I’m not her friend and her friends are not allowed in the master suite at any point in the day, not even to pee, there are bathrooms downstairs.

Something horrible happened. Instead of tears her eyes turned a steely blue and her lips pursed shut. We were nose to nose and I got a curt, “fine then”. My daughter turned on her heel and walked out of the room, composed but seething.

I told Mr. G about the event and I asked him what he thought. I told him that she’d said that none of the other girls had media restrictions and that I’d told her our position on it. I asked him what he would have said to her if she asked him to lift the nighttime texting and social media bans. His response? “Drop Dead.”

At least I have an ally. I really hate that it’s so clear that we’re going to have prolonged battles.