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In This Issue:

 Dan Angel

 Amazon.com

 Last Laugh

Cuisine

 From the Editor

Getting Even With Your Teenager

Listen up, Moms, Dads and other oppressed minorities. I bring to you a new weapon in the ongoing struggle called “Raising Your Children.” In a brilliant military maneuver, I have taken one of their most powerful weapons and turned it against them. That weapon is music.

But first, let me begin with a quick flashback to my own childhood. The year is 1966. I’m 10 years old, sitting in the kitchen of our home in Daytona Beach, Florida. The kitchen was filled with the aroma of my Mom’s salmon loaf, a despicable dish which was destined to be eaten by my dog, Mike, should he position himself under the dining room table during dinner (sorry Mom, I never could handle your salmon loaf). I was playing with my Captain Action (it was not a doll, it was an “action figure”) when my Dad came trudging through the door after a hard day’s work.

My old man did the same thing that I do — he worked in radio. One of his favorite quotes about having a career in radio was, “It’s better than working for a living.” My Dad had always been a radio man, starting in Northern Pennsylvania and eventually making his way to Ironton, Ohio. During the fall months in most of the 50s and part of the 60s, there wasn’t a single Friday night where you wouldn’t find my old man sitting in the pressbox at Tanks Memorial Stadium, broadcasting the Ironton Fighting Tiger Football Games.

When his health started to fail, his doctor told him to get his skinny butt to Florida and back in those days, when a father went somewhere, he usually took his wife and kids with him. He got a job at WMFJ in Daytona, with studios overlooking “The World’s Most Famous Beach.” We had a great house three blocks from the ocean, Dad was working in radio and all was right with the world. Except for Rock and Roll.

My old man hated Rock and Roll. His record collection was made up of big bands like those of Tommy Dorsey, Sammy Kaye and Woody Herman. The closest my Dad got to Rock and Roll was the occasional Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass album. And that was the problem — WMFJ was a rock and roll station.

So, on that fateful day, with Captain Action in my hand and salmon fumes in my nose, I looked up to see my poor, disgusted Dad walk in the door after his airshift, sit at the table, hang his head, sigh heavily and mutter in a voice full of disdain, “Wooly Bully.”

Thus were sewn the first seeds of my rebellion. If my old man hated a song that much, I just had to get to know this Sam the Sham guy, maybe even become one of his Pharaohs. Trust me, brothers and sisters in parenthood, children have been using music against their parents since Mog the Caveman got yelled at by his Mom and Dad for banging rocks together too loudly in his cave.

Admit it, you did it, I did it. Grand Funk and the James Gang were the deadliest weapons in my arsenal. But that doesn’t mean we have to be victimized by the same tactics. And the countermeasures are simple — pretend to like the same music.

While sitting at the dinner table with your child, say something like: “Savage Garden’s new album really rocks, don’t you think?” The next time they have some of their friends over to the house, walk over to the stereo and pop a Foo Fighters CD into the player. When you’re in the shower, make sure you sing a Puff Daddy song loud enough so they can hear you as they get dressed for school.

You’ll be amazed at the results. When your child thinks you are enjoying their music, it loses much of the appeal and they will move on to something else to irritate you. But you must be strong and consistent. If they catch you listening to that Barry Manilow box set, you’ll have to start all over again.

It’s not easy. Even I have had the occasional lapse. One day last week, I had a particularly rough day at the radio ranch. I trudged into the kitchen, sat at the counter across from son number one, hung my head, sighed heavily and muttered in a voice full of disdain, “Limp Bizkit.”

 

 

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