Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lovely Teens: A Summer Miracle

Suprisingly, there
was no "Mom that
drove the furthest"
award given out.
So, we all can all barely remember my last post at this point.  But trust me, it was not my usual "summer hours" that has kept me away.  The last couple weeks have been very hectic.  SB came home from camp (along with her boatload of crap), she participated in the Maccabi Games (short version answer - Jewish Youth Olympic-type competition-International) on the soccer team, we hosted 2 teens from Los Angeles (these were 2 of over 1200 teens who were hosted in the Philadelphia area), and I attempted to get ready to go to the beach for our family vacation.  I spent most of the week in my car driving an hour each way, more than once a day, to get the girls to their games.  Very cool experience for the kids, but it was a lot of driving!  And, when everyone got home around 11pm-ish, I had to feed them as they were starved!

But...there was a silver lining.  I was surrounded by pleasant teenage girls.

I know!!  I can hardly believe it either, but it's true!!  The 2 girls we hosted were beyond sweet, friendly, grateful, and polite!  It was lovely!  How did this happen you may ask?  My friends and I have discussed this in the past and we feel that this kind of lovely teen behavior is a result of being with parents that are not their own.  My week hosting has firmed up in my mind that we all need to implement the plan that my friends and I have discussed.  The Trade Around Plan.  (Please note this is different from our sign in board/cardboard casket idea that is both a way to give a last message to your loved one and be environmentally friendly).

Chores?  Can do!
We have learned to
love helping.
The Trade Around Plan involves trading your teen to other families for a week or so at a time.  Several very important scientific studies (just trust me) have shown that when teens go to other people's homes, they keep all snotty comments and rude tones and eye rolling to themselves.  They are friendly and helpful.  BUT, you can't keep them in one spot for too long.  Once traded-teen becomes comfortable in her new environment, she will start to get her edge back.  Nobody wants that.  After about a week, you need to trade again.  You probably need about 6-10 homes for this to work best (another scientific fact).  After every 2 or 3 trades, participating teens will return to their own homes for a week.  By the time they are no longer being loving and pleasant and grateful to be at home, it's time for them to move on again.  If run properly, whole communities can avoid the need for things like Xanax and visits to the Nervous Hospital.  

The plan is brilliant in its simplicity.  I am actually amazed that the American Pediatric Association hasn't officially recommended it.  I know you are thinking that some kids might not like all the moving around and might miss their families.  Well, you know what?  That's the kind of soft-hearted thinking that got us in this mess in the first place.  Teens are under the impression that THEY, not us parents, are supposed to be happy and not ever have to do anything they don't want.

Yes, absolutely,
a walking billboard
for Cadillac is
too famous to
be on DWTS.
And, if you need further proof that the Trade Around Plan is really needed, just look to The Jersey Shore cast.  In this most recent stretching of one's 15 minutes of fame, Pauly D says he's too famous to do Dancing with the Stars.  He further dazzles us by complaining that his trip to Italy was hard because there are no tanning salons, the gyms are far away and you have to carry your laundry versus drive to the laundromats.  This is exactly what happens when teens live at home full time and don't get to experience how good their lives are by having to go live in someone else's house for awhile.


  1. OMG The Trade Around Plan is *awesome*... if only I can figure a way to get rid of my teen without bringing any new teens in... lol

  2. Someday I will have three teenage boys and I will be up for anything! In 10 years I will totally be searching for a trade around program. Maybe by then they will have one!

  3. Dear God... You may just be a genius. Now I need to find 6-10 households with 5 children apiece, the same age as mine, whose children I won't slaughter the first day out, and with whom I'm willing to ruin

    (Oohhhh, so your mother actually lets you stay up til midnight/raid the fridge/dump your dirty undies in the bathroom floor..? Oh yes, I've had short term guests do the weirdest things.)

  4. I've just realized that the technical term for someone like me is "crotchety old fart," and I'm only in my thirties... Now I need Xanax.

  5. I don't (quite) have teens yet, and still, I think this is the most brilliant plan I've ever heard of.

  6. I am considering running "how to" workshops to help families organize and get started. This may be my big opportunity to make the big bucks.

    Oh - and Caitlyn - xanax is a beautiful thing. Probably the reason why so many children are still alive. :)

  7. Brilliant plan, but other people's children tend to annoy me. There must be an application process for the children involved.

  8. This is a fabulous idea! I love it. What week would you like to like to trade teens?

    And I kind of like Mom on a Line's idea too. They need to come with certain basic manners!


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