Today’s guest is my 20 year old son. I thought he would be a good vantage point as to what we can concentrate on when raising teenagers.
Big thanks to our sponsor Family Routines — if you’re looking to focus more on the experiences and the parenting, family routines will help give you that time!
In this episode
- How to handle privacy and the internet for teenagers
- How my fear as a parent affected how I parented
Other things that might interest you
- My review of The Circle
- Sending your kids to college
- Getting teens to read podcast episode
- Why my kids hate me
- Talk to your kids about sex
- Logical Consequences for Teens
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other parenting podcasts:
Check out all my podcasts:
[00:00:00.265] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast today on Episode 73, we are having my first born on, he’s going to tell me everything I did wrong. Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:18.375] – Hilary Erickson
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, I’m Hilary, your curly headed host on the podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting and home routines. I want you to know that there are no right answers for every family. And I find that simplifying my priorities is almost always the answer. It’s tangled just like my hair.
[00:00:43.105] – Hilary Erickson
OK, today’s guests got your tubes when he was one, he was the one who got my third child to sleep because they were all in one room and he finally one day was just losing his mind with her and her crying. And so he was like, Paige, you’re just making me so frustrated. And then she slept every other night since then for the most part. And he is a junior at ASU on a full ride scholarship. I want to introduce you to today’s guest, Conner.
[00:01:10.735] – Hilary Erickson
This episode of the Pulling Curls Podcast is sponsored by Family Routine’s How to Automate Your Housewife Life.
[00:01:16.015] – Hilary Erickson
Ever wish life was more like you pictured? It would be before you had kids being able to spend less time at the mundane tasks and more time teaching kids the fun and valuable life skills you know, they need.
[00:01:26.755] – Hilary Erickson
Family routines, teaches families to simplify daily tasks into routines that help them feel more peace and joy.
[00:01:32.935] – Hilary Erickson
Save 15 percent with a coupon code untangled. You can find it at Pulling Curls Podcast in the menu under courses or in this episode show notes.
[00:01:43.555] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Conner, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:01:46.555] – Conner Erickson
[00:01:49.585] – Hilary Erickson
Conner. Have you ever listened to my podcast before?
[00:01:52.195] – Conner Erickson
[00:01:52.975] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So are you regretting that at this point or. No?
[00:01:56.055] – Conner Erickson
No, no regretting.
[00:01:58.915] – Hilary Erickson
All right. So Conner…
[00:02:00.085] – Conner Erickson
And I’m probably not going to listen to this one either.
[00:02:02.155] – Hilary Erickson
We’re going to play it all day on Christmas. So Conner is 20.
[00:02:08.665] – Hilary Erickson
We turn 20 in July. Yeah. Yeah. He was 12, baby, a millennial baby. And you don’t live at my house?
[00:02:16.885] – Conner Erickson
No, I have an apartment.
[00:02:17.785] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, he’s moved out three years ago, so I thought Connor might be able to give us some insight as my next one is in the junior year slump of things. Maybe give us all some advice on raising teenagers. Do you think you have any advice to share, Conor?
[00:02:30.275] – Conner Erickson
I do have some advice to share.
[00:02:33.185] – Hilary Erickson
OK, I have to tell my listeners I’m a little bit nervous. Obviously, I was a perfect parent, so I’m going into this knowing that. So that’s. Yeah, OK. So I asked Connor to share some. Let’s start with the bad things I did. Start with the bad things I didn’t… did I really do anything that bad to you?
[00:02:56.635] – Conner Erickson
Horrible. So awful. I hated my life for 18 years and…
[00:03:01.735] – Hilary Erickson
You seemed really happy the first five.
[00:03:06.845] – Hilary Erickson
OK, so what were some things that we could have done better at? Just give me one.
[00:03:11.575] – Conner Erickson
[00:03:12.445] – Hilary Erickson
[00:03:13.045] – Conner Erickson
Yeah. So especially I just I think the first time that I ever had a real sense of privacy was when I was like 16 or 17 and I thought it should have been earlier than that.
[00:03:24.085] – Hilary Erickson
So, OK, what did you want to be more private about?
[00:03:27.235] – Conner Erickson
Well, I remember when I was a sophomore in high school, you set up that app on my phone that would check my calls, my texts, my apps, my like all of my personal information would be monitored. And that one was probably the worst example.
[00:03:39.995] – Hilary Erickson
OK, do you know how often I check that?
[00:03:42.385] – Conner Erickson
Wasn’t it like once every couple of weeks?
[00:03:44.125] – Hilary Erickson
No, no. OK, I mean, I had you thinking that I was checking it. Forgot what I was.
[00:03:49.615] – Conner Erickson
You definitely did check it.
[00:03:51.145] – Hilary Erickson
There were times I had checked it. Yes. And I will say that I’m better now because I realize how important it is for kids to learn how to use the Internet while they’re at home.
[00:04:00.355] – Conner Erickson
[00:04:00.805] – Hilary Erickson
And to have some sense of their own. So, yeah, but that’s a good one. I think a lot. I see so many moms, especially with her first kids… Conner’s our first, where you make all the mistakes that are like my kid can’t have a phone, my kid can’t have the internet, they can’t have social media. And I just think, how are they going to know? Like even Spencer, I’ve been making some some decent sized mistakes on Instagram and I think it’s our job. Well, he’s living in my house to be like, here’s some ways you could have handled that better. What do you say? Do you think that’s a better idea?
[00:04:28.135] – Conner Erickson
I think I think the way you handled the Internet for me was more of a police. And the way you seem to be handling the Internet for Spencer and Paige is like more of a teacher. And that’s probably the way I would do it. Yeah.
[00:04:40.995] – Hilary Erickson
You know, also, I’m on the Internet, probably even more now than when you were in high school. And so it’s hard to be like you guys can’t be on social media when I’m on social media all the time. So, yeah, that’s a good one.
[00:04:52.135] – Conner Erickson
Yeah, I think especially well that was actually my second one was the way that you did with the Circle. Have you talked about that?
[00:04:59.275] – Hilary Erickson
We have the circle device, so it just basically filters the Internet and then it also turns off the Internet when they’ve reached a certain limit.
[00:05:06.655] – Conner Erickson
Yeah. And so I think that most of that time that’s good. But I think using it, like the intention is to keep stop kids from having an Internet addiction. But it actually I feel like it kind of did the opposite for me, like when I was on the Internet, it was like more addictive to me because it was less available, kind of like the same deal with prohibition in like the sixties, how there was no alcohol. So people like wanted to drink alcohol more. Yeah.
[00:05:31.255] – Hilary Erickson
And I will say you ended up like buying your own data plan so that you could have more Internet. And at that point I was kind of like, well, if he’s going to have it anyway. Yeah. So do you realize that we’re all just learning. Yeah. And Connor’s been a great first kid, right?
[00:05:47.365] – Conner Erickson
Yeah. I’ve been the best first kid ever.
[00:05:50.185] – Hilary Erickson
Well the first best first one I had. And I think I think the longer you have kids the more you’re like, well that first one was definitely kind of a practice round. You do get a lot of benefits. Is the first kid like you got a lot of attention and stuff in the beginning
[00:06:02.735] – Conner Erickson
For the first three years. Yeah. That I can’t remember.
[00:06:07.405] – Hilary Erickson
Anything else that didn’t… I know Conner and I probably thought the most about the Internet when he was at home.
[00:06:13.015] – Conner Erickson
Yeah. It was kind of probably mostly the Internet stuff. I think the other thing this isn’t like exactly something that could be helped. But I think another thing about the lack of privacy, it’s just that I didn’t have, like, my own personal space, just like because I didn’t have my own room. I well, I did up until I was three. And then, like, as a teenager.
[00:06:31.195] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And then for a while, you had two siblings in your room in California.
[00:06:35.155] – Conner Erickson
Yeah. So until I was ten, I had both of my siblings in the same room with me. And then after we moved I had just Spencer and me, which was still a lack of personal privacy, which was my one of my two big issues as a teenager.
[00:06:49.145] – Hilary Erickson
Which again, I was so afraid of, like the Internet at the time, that was part of why we didn’t move you into our guest room. So probably some mistakes on our end, but maybe you and Spencer enjoyed some quality time together.
[00:07:01.305] – Conner Erickson
[00:07:03.125] – Hilary Erickson
I think that’s something we can all think about because, I mean, in California, it couldn’t be helped. Like there weren’t… there weren’t other options, really.
[00:07:09.435] – Conner Erickson
[00:07:11.075] – Hilary Erickson
But here we probably could have moved into the guest room. Yeah. But I also wanted everyone on the same floor because again, I was thinking more of a police mentality than a teaching mentality. I think that’s a good idea for all parents because I wanted to police you.
[00:07:23.465] – Conner Erickson
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:07:26.225] – Hilary Erickson
OK, anything else?
[00:07:28.205] – Conner Erickson
For negatives? No, I didn’t really think of anything else.
[00:07:30.705] – Hilary Erickson
OK, what about going to seminary? Should we have kept you in seminary?
[00:07:34.685] – Conner Erickson
[00:07:35.825] – Hilary Erickson
Side note, for my listeners who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, our kids go to a seminary class that’s like religious training one period of the day during school. So my second one has seminary third period. He goes to a separate building and they just learn religious things. So that’s what seminary is and Conner all four years of high school in seminary.
[00:07:56.195] – Hilary Erickson
And we had a rough row.
[00:07:58.215] – Conner Erickson
Yeah, that was one of my pros actually.
[00:08:00.855] – Hilary Erickson
That I kept you in seminary? The pros was that you were willing to like stand up to school stuff. That was unfair. Yes.
[00:08:06.845] – Conner Erickson
So there was there was the seminary teacher. And then there was also one of the teachers that I had who didn’t grade anything until the second last day of school. So I didn’t know I had a D until it was already too late. And also I got a four on the AP test and it got to be in the class, which still seems unfair.
[00:08:23.525] – Conner Erickson
But you know what it is. Yeah.
[00:08:25.025] – Hilary Erickson
And I went to the mat hard. Yeah. With both of them. Right. Yeah. Note here’s a little ditty, so Conner like she didn’t grade anything. He had an A in the class and then the night before the final I look and he has a D all of a sudden and so I email her and she’s like sorry, so sad. Two weeks into the summer or something. I emailed her and I was like, you know, the new school year is going to start and you basically let my kid fail in your class like you are really close to failing.
[00:08:49.685] – Conner Erickson
Yeah. Like a sixty two.
[00:08:50.915] – Hilary Erickson
Which would have like would have been really bad. And I was like, you know, if I just ignored everything in my job as a labor and delivery nurse then the baby would die and you just basically let him die in your class. And then the principal wrote me back and was really upset with me because she was pregnant. I didn’t know she was pregnant.
[00:09:11.795] – Hilary Erickson
And she felt that that was really unfair of me to say. But she did basically let you die. That semester. Yeah, very much so. And I it’s always really this thing was it’s always such a fine line, though, because I don’t want to, like, fight your battles. Right.
[00:09:23.975] – Conner Erickson
Yeah, well, there’s that. But then in that case, there was nothing I could’ve done.
[00:09:38.465] – Hilary Erickson
You learned the things
[00:09:39.515] – Conner Erickson
I did learn the things. Yeah.
[00:09:40.865] – Hilary Erickson
There are some issues turning in homework. Yeah. OK, then you didn’t know you thought you had turned in most of the things I think in your head.
[00:09:48.065] – Conner Erickson
Yes. And I had an A in the class until the week of finals. Yeah.
[00:09:52.745] – Hilary Erickson
Oh no. It was like two nights before the final. It was crazy. I will say I still have that problem. I don’t know when to step in, but when I step in I step in hard.
[00:10:01.655] – Conner Erickson
Yeah. Yeah. I think that could be.
[00:10:03.575] – Hilary Erickson
Would you say if it’s at the wrong time it could be a bad thing. But you’ve been pretty good, at least for me, about stepping in at the right time. So did I ever step in at the wrong time? Not really that I know of, no. Yeah. So with seminary also I talked to the guy that was over at and he was like, well, he just clearly doesn’t have a strong enough testimony.
[00:10:21.245] – Conner Erickson
And I just lit into him like I just gave him all that I had. Yeah. That was so weird to me because that, like, that’s not even part of the issue at that point. It was just a rough situation. So I think that’s really important. Do you have any advice for when a parent could know when to step in?
[00:10:45.905] – Hilary Erickson
I, I think if a kid has an issue. No, no, I don’t honestly.
[00:10:50.735] – Conner Erickson
Well, I would because we, like, brought her to the house and we tried to have you have a discussion with her, right? Yeah. And I could see that was just failing. Yeah. Like, she there wasn’t going to be any change there. And so I think I’ve always tried to try and get you guys to do it on your own. I remember. Was it like your junior year? They hadn’t given you math in high school, right?
[00:11:10.145] – Hilary Erickson
Like on your schedule? Yeah, on my schedule. I asked for a math class and they like it like a full honors AP. It was a junior year. Yeah. I took like full honors AP classes and you’d been taking, like, hard math the whole time. So you obviously wanted to do math. Yeah. And they gave me nothing. Yeah. And I was like, I want that. I actually I think they gave me nothing that I asked for on the schedule and they gave me two classes that didn’t actually exist at the high school.
[00:11:33.995] – Conner Erickson
I mean, that’s that high school. I think that was that year. But I was like, OK, you go in and try and fix it. And you did. Yeah. And they were just like, I guess you’re not going to. Yea, yea, and I was like, and sometimes that’s what’s so frustrating as a parent, because really you should have gotten the same response as I would get, but where when I went and they were like, oh, I’m so sorry.
[00:11:51.075] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And they fixed it right away. So yeah. We were all trying. Yeah. I guess. I don’t know. OK, so on a scale of zero to 10 zero being horrible and on fire and 10 being pure bliss. Childhood heaven. Yeah. Where would you rate your childhood before we moved to Arizona. So before you were probably like, like in terms of my mental state, probably like at eight. Yeah.
[00:12:13.425] – Conner Erickson
Yeah we did pretty good. Even though you were all in one room and we had the tiny house. Yeah. We had great teachers. Right. Yeah. Yeah. OK. And then zero to 10 at age 10 until you moved out. I would say ten to fifteen is probably still like a seven and then 15 to 18 is probably like a a five. Yeah. I think junior year was just rough. Yeah. Junior year was really, really terrible and I see that with Spencer too.
[00:12:41.475] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Junior year is kind of just like that year in high school where everybody hates themselves. So yeah. So is there anything we could have done better you think maybe giving you a little more leeway rather than just pulling in. Yeah, pretty much the things that I already said. Privacy, I will say your senior year, our bishop advised us to take you off the circle. We left you on the circle because we’re all on the circle so that it filters and we don’t see stuff we don’t want to see.
[00:13:04.335] – Conner Erickson
But we took your time limit off and we made it. You basically were as free as I am. Yeah, pretty much. And then I remember like the first two weeks that you took off my Internet, I was like, like plugged in for twenty four hours a day. And then it just gradually came down because I was like, I don’t know what the word is like when it’s like we had you on a diet. Yeah, pretty much.
[00:13:23.715] – Hilary Erickson
And then you just like crazy eating whole house. And then I took off the diet and I’m like crazy for two weeks. And then after that I was kind of normalized. Yeah, that’s something definitely I’m learning with the other two, but it’s probably not going to have perfected it by Paige. Maybe if I had ten other kids. Yeah, pretty much. I think honestly, yeah. The main thing was privacy and then kind of just teaching me self-control.
[00:13:44.325] – Conner Erickson
And the Internet’s probably the most blatant example of teaching me self-control, because I kind of had to learn that both during my senior year and when I moved out. So, yeah, I mean, our plan is to do the same thing with Spencer. Once he starts his senior year, we’ll take off his time limit. Yeah, we’ll see how it goes. Maybe he’ll turn out poorly. OK, now you’ve lived with roommates. Any tips on what kids need to learn before they leave the house?
[00:14:07.605] – Hilary Erickson
Anything. You’re like, whoa, your mom really needed to teach you besides like doing like regular household things like laundry and dishes and that kind of thing. Or do you find that whether kids at the dorm that didn’t know how to do any of those things? Well, the thing is, at the dorm, there was a lot like no one at the dorm. The dining hall just took care of all the food. Yeah. For most people, like, I had one meal a day, which was the lowest amount that you could possibly have.
[00:14:29.685] – Conner Erickson
And most people. Do you wish you had had more than that? Kind of, because then it would just take away some of the like. I wouldn’t have had to get a job if I had to a day or three a day. But having one a day and just having a job was fine for me because I could just eat there and then just eat a ton of food and then get some more at the grocery store down the street and then just eat that in my dorm room.
[00:14:49.425] – Hilary Erickson
But yeah, yeah, I feel like most people at my dorm usually just ate all of their food at the dining hall because they had a more expensive meal plan. So if you’re eating, if you have a situation like that, just learn how to like, not be a slob, like keep your place clean so your roommates don’t hate you. And just basic like just learn how to be a regular person. I don’t the kids have. Westword Did you have roommates that were real dirty?
[00:15:11.625] – Conner Erickson
I think my roommate in my dorm was he wasn’t messy, but he was just kind of like all over the place. OK, so I think he was fine as as far as like keeping the place clean. He was just not a good person, but he was a good fake people person, but he was actually just not a good person person. So, yeah. So maybe he needed better interpersonal skills and like resolving conflict and yeah. That No one.
[00:15:36.105] – Hilary Erickson
And just like thinking about how other people are going to react to you doing something like if if you did have the desire to play music and the ukulele at three a.m., maybe think my roommate needs to go to bed so I’m not going to do that. Yeah, that’s always the roommate issue, right. Yeah. So kind of just like take your kids to think about other people. That’s also that’s one good thing that I learned about being in a shared room when I was a teenager is that I didn’t have to learn that while I was in a dorm with strangers.
[00:16:04.665] – Conner Erickson
So like I knew that, like, oh, I can’t be doing like playing music late at night because my brother needs to go to bed and he’s sitting right below me. So but maybe other kids who had their own room just could do that, I guess. I don’t know.
[00:16:16.815] – Hilary Erickson
So I don’t recall that I had my own room, but I didn’t like my roommate either, so maybe I was the bad one. All right, Connor, I think this was really good to have on. I think it’s really given me some ideas on. I liked how you said it about instead of policing your teaching them. And I think there’s a lot of great devices like we use the circle and I know lots of families use the circle, but you can’t just use the circle.
[00:16:37.635] – Conner Erickson
And then just like check out as the mom because, yeah, I think it’s. Find to use the circle, you just have to be telling them, hey, this is the reason why unless they’re like seven or eight and they don’t really understand that, like, hey, we’re teaching you how to be a functioning human being. But like once they once they get curious about that and they’re asking why you can’t just be like because I’m the mom, because that is probably the worst way to develop a relationship with your kids.
[00:17:02.635] – Hilary Erickson
No one ever teach them that this is what they need to be doing, like when they’re an adult. So, yeah, OK, what was the funniest thing I ever did as a mom? The funniest thing you ever did as a mom.
[00:17:11.305] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. What’s your favorite memory? Nothing. I don’t know.
[00:17:14.725] – Conner Erickson
Probably going maybe going to Bryce Canyon that once I made spring break where it was so cold, like it thought those were was really cool. Yeah. That was pretty fun though. That was fun. Or you going skiing. I didn’t know you didn’t, but you took us skiing, so I supported skiing. All right. Good advice for all the parents out there.
[00:17:29.635] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for coming on the podcast, Conner.
[00:17:31.555] – Conner Erickson
Yeah, no problem.
[00:17:33.325] – Hilary Erickson
No problem. No problem.
[00:17:35.965] – Hilary Erickson
OK, he didn’t yell at me too much. Right. Good advice, though, because I would agree that I policed him too hard. But it’s so hard to know, especially in your first year. I was so afraid of the Internet with him. And I think now I realize that my kids have to be on the Internet and be friends with the Internet and realize that the Internet has good and bad things. And so hopefully I’m doing a little bit better on that.
[00:17:57.805] – Hilary Erickson
But it’s still hard, I have to say. So hopefully you enjoyed today’s episode. And if there’s more things you’d like to hear from my full grown child, let me know in the comments in this episode 73 on Pulling Curls Podcast. And we could always have it back.
Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we help smooth out a few of the snarls in your life. We drop an episode every Monday and we always appreciate it when you guys share and review. Until next time we hope you have a tangle free day.