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Teenagers, Survival tips for parents

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Teenagers, Survival tips for parents
By Hill on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 6:54 pm:

Therei s so much useful information on the web in regards to raising kids in Japan-and so little of it useful for parents of teenegers. Let's exchange ideas on helping our teens maintain social contacts, guaranteeing their safety, prying them off of the internet occasionally, dealing with the isolation that comes from being an English speaker and/or homeschooler in Japan's "Group" society and cool down strategies for us!

Two topics we might discuss:


Any groups or non-sports (dance is okay) for teenagers that don't cost 3000 yen an hour? Is anyone brave enough to form one?

My darling 13-year-old has recently started to nag ME about getting things (housework, lesson plans ) done-mostly as a way to assert control. At age 13 she herself is still allergic to housework, (I have to remind her three times per chore she accomplishes.) so I try to be understanding but my patience is wearing thin. (I work 6 hours a day six days a week when the universities are in session.) Any strategies from parents that have been there?

I hope Teenagers will be a energetic, useful discussion! This is really a wonderful , fun time-parent-wise! (No sarcasm!)

Yoroshiku!


By Tai Dirkse on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 6:57 pm:

does TELL have information on things like that? on "activities" stuff? or are they more counseling type of people?


By Yuko Kubota on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 4:34 pm:

Hi Hill, fellow parent of a troubled 13 year old!

I'm not sure if I can help you on your questions since we're an all-Japanese family in means of nationality, culture and language, but I just wanted to drop a note to tell you that you're not alone. I haven't actually been there, but I'm deep IN there.

My son stopped going to school last December, and although he plays with his close buddies (thank god), he somehow "can't" go to school rather than "won't", and really has his ups and downs.

Chores? He used to put out the garbage and clean the bathroom drain etc., but I long gave up on those things. Unfortunately for me, he can live without it. Instead, I try my best not to do much for him. I don't wash his clothes and dishes unless they're placed in proper places I tell him to, and don't buy his favorite soap, that he can't live with, unless he writes it down on my shopping list (and I know most kids can do this, but it seems so damn difficult enough for my son). A great chance for me is when he says he wants to go out for meals with me or asks me for his allowance. I won't let them happen until he does what he's supposed to do, such as cleaning up. Of course, all this is possible only when he's in a fairly good mood, but I do have those chances.

It's almost impossible to make a person do what he doesn't try to do, but it's a lot easier to say "no" to things he asks you to do (although I know that saying "no" is still a hard thing to do). And when there's no one else to do them for him, he will try to do them by himself, and he will try to "live".

Groups, I know there are tons if your daughter doesn't mind challenging on Japanese-speaking groups. Just ask at your local ward office (kuyakusho). There are also "free spaces" , public and private, for homeschooled children. The big difficulty is often that the kids won't try to go, but if you're daughter is willing to go, you're very lucky.

I wouldn't worry too much about the parent being busy. They often say that kids stay up late, because it's the only time that the parents aren't around. In your case, your daughter is free to be active during the day, since you're not there.

Have you thought about at least registering your daughter to a public junior high school? Then teachers can come to your home every so often to talk to the student, even if the student doesn't actually attend classes. There are English speaking teachers too, you know.

Just some thoughts from a pretty-clueless-about-her-own-son mom. I hope that other teen's parents will respond so that we can form some kind of a off-web mailing list if possible.


By Hill on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 11:06 pm:

Thanks. What is a free space?

Actually, homeschooling works really well for us. I am alos really enjoying the tiem I spend with my teenager-she is a load of fun! I let her read your post (ther are no secrets in this household) . She wanted to know that if she left her dishes and laundry in one place, would that exempt her from ever having to clean them! (Dishes are supposed to be HER job, even thought I still do at least 50 % of them.)

I thought it would be nice to have a catgory just for parents of teenagers. we are still REALLY moms (or dads) and still need to compare notes-even though hints on strollers just doesn;t do it anymore. (Actually I miss the stroller for carting around bags. Ah well, the days when I will be using one to lean on as I cart my old body down the hill to the station are not far off.)

Some new topics:

Braces!! anybody have the scoop? Is it true that you can have high quality braces put on your kid while on vacation in Thailand at a greatly resuced cost. (The Japanese orthadontist I went to here, whom I trust, gave me an estimate of 5 years 10 thousand USdollars. Judging from my kid's mouth that is probably fair for Japan. Are Japanese orthadontists receptive to the idea of providing maintence care for braces purchased abroad?

Modeling-which of the modeling agencies are especially user friendly for younger teen models? I will share my experiences (with helpful details ) with Junes, Kand I, R and A, Sugar and Spice and IMJ if anyone wishes the information. Are there any other agencies out there for teenage half- Japanese English speaking models? what are the requirements for narration?

Hope to hear from other parents of teens.

Oooh-another topic and question-what kind of activities are your teens interested in? at our end it is reading, art, emailing friends, (live chat, chat, chat!)music, FASHION!!! with the emphasis on reading, especially fantasy. NO video games ot TV in this house (lots of movies, though. I really have very little idea what other teens are into, so I thought htis topic would be interesting.


By Yuko Kubota on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 12:07 am:

Hi Hill and daughter!

>What is a free space?

I don't know the exact English translation for what we call "furii supeesu" in Japanese, but most of them are rooms that low teens can gather for recreation, and they are mainly designed as an alternative for kids who had trouble going to their original school.

> She wanted to know that if she left her dishes and laundry in one place, would that exempt her from ever having to clean them!

It certainly would. However, since it won't be her mother's job to take care of them, she will soon end up with a pile of dirty clothes and dishes, unless she goes out to buy new ones with her own money. And still, the dirty ones will smell and collect bugs and things, eventually affecting her health, not to mention that she won't want to be having any friends over.

Braces, I hear of specialists who support them and those who don't. We went to an orthadontist in Japan who studied in the U.S., and he said that braces aren't something that all people must have, so we didn't get them. On a related note, I spent 2 years with my braces in the U.S. when I was young.

What kind of activities is my teen interested in? Video games (let's face it, he's a boy), Cable TV, manga, anime and movies. Movies in fact has been the mutual hobby among us family members, and my son watches a wide variety of them, not only kids' stuff. He seems to be into an on-line game, but more on the chat than the game, which is okay since the members seem to be reasonable high teens and adults. Of course, I'm very concerned about the damage all these screen things can do to his brain, but at least he rides his bicycle with his friends. I hope he starts ping pong again.


By Yuko Kubota on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 12:07 am:

Hi Hill and daughter!

>What is a free space?

I don't know the exact English translation for what we call "furii supeesu" in Japanese, but most of them are rooms that low teens can gather for recreation, and they are mainly designed as an alternative for kids who had trouble going to their original school.

> She wanted to know that if she left her dishes and laundry in one place, would that exempt her from ever having to clean them!

It certainly would. However, since it won't be her mother's job to take care of them, she will soon end up with a pile of dirty clothes and dishes, unless she goes out to buy new ones with her own money. And still, the dirty ones will smell and collect bugs and things, eventually affecting her health, not to mention that she won't want to be having any friends over.

Braces, I hear of specialists who support them and those who don't. We went to an orthadontist in Japan who studied in the U.S., and he said that braces aren't something that all people must have, so we didn't get them. On a related note, I spent 2 years with my braces in the U.S. when I was young.

What kind of activities is my teen interested in? Video games (let's face it, he's a boy), Cable TV, manga, anime and movies. Movies in fact has been the mutual hobby among us family members, and my son watches a wide variety of them, not only kids' stuff. He seems to be into an on-line game, but more on the chat than the game, which is okay since the members seem to be reasonable high teens and adults. Of course, I'm very concerned about the damage all these screen things can do to his brain, but at least he rides his bicycle with his friends. I hope he starts ping pong again.


By Yuko Kubota on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 12:10 am:

Sorry for the double post. Please ignore either one.


By Hill on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 11:22 am:

REPEAT: Anyone else who can share knowledge about getting brqces. My kid definitely needs the. I am looking for info on cost, quality in Jpan as compared to other places and feasililty of getting them in Thailand and then be under the care of an orthodontist. Thanks!!


By Hill on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 11:24 am:

REPEAT: Anyone else who can share knowledge about getting orthodontic BRACES. My kid definitely needs them, top and bottom. I am looking for info on cost, quality in Jpan as compared to other places and feasibilty of getting them in Thailand and then be under the care of an orthodontist. Thanks!!


By Caroline on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 3:23 pm:

Sorry Hill, don't know anything about the braces, but have you tried calling Himawari Medical Infoline? Their number is 03-5285-8181. Might be useful.
Also, I am very interested in the discussion on teens, even though my kids are still small. It is always great to hear comments from mothers who've been there, just so we know what to except in the not-so-distant future.


By Nancy on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 9:18 pm:

Hill, there are a number of orthodontists listed on this site in an earlier discussion under health topics. If you perform a search using the word "orthodontist" (make sure you do not put a time limit on the search) the discussions should surface. The cost of orthodonture varies, but it is well worth your while to have a consultation and find out exactly what is needed. The English speaking orthodontists do treat patients who arrived in Japan with braces already in place. If you do not plan to stay in Japan long enough to finish the course of the treatment, this is not always an issue but it is best to be honest about this up front, particularly as it may affect the type of records that are kept.


By Julie Hansberry on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 10:09 pm:

In response to the post about braces. We just moved here and my son was already undergoing treatment in the US. There are several Orthos here that have trained in the US. Usually the procedure is to visit the orthos for a consult...they will explain to you their basic practice and related costs, etc. It really does depend on each patient. Most treatment is done as a "package deal" from start to finish. We also lived in Thailand (son started treatment there with spacers, etc.). There are several excellent dr.'s there as well....but I personally wouldn't purposely have them put on in one place and then "treated" in another to save costs. The treatment plan as a whole would be compromised. If you know you are moving to Thailand in the near future, it may be better to wait. Your best best is really to consult with a couple orthos directly and get their professional opinions. We were referred to Dr. Kaku (sp?) and I've also heard of Dr. Kan in Setagaya.


By siney dey on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 6:11 am:

Whatever happened to this thread? I would like to revive it. My son is in his teens and I am looking for some forum to share
the teen issues that most parents have to deal with.
Recently I discovered that he has stolen money to buy stuff like game cassettes for his nintendo, toy gun, etc. I found money missing from my wallet, and when I asked him he pretennded ignorance.
I was very sure, so I searched his room and found the shopping receipt. When I produced the evidence he still did not admit and said he just accompanied his friend . It was only when I asked
him to accompany me to the shop to find out the truth, did he admit.
I have been counselling him to know what is going on in his life and what triggered his urge to steal. It turns out that he is hanging out with a few freinds who also steal money from their parents, in the range of 10,000~100,000 yen. I know about these kids parents, they are nice families and their earnings are modest like ours. I wonder whether it is acceptable in Japanese families if their children steal, or whether parents are too busy to note that money has been stolen.
In my country, I could go ahead and talk to the parents concerned, who would in turn appreciate my communication. Can I do the same here? Can I say for example, meet up his friends` parents and share what I found out? Or, may be just keep away from meddling in others` affairs and just watch out my own son.
And any advice on how to discourage my son from meeting up those friends? Actually, he has no choice of friends, except the ones in neighborhood who study in local public Japanese school and my son attended a few years of elementary school with them. His classmates from his intl school live far off from home, and he commutes 30 min to the intl school. I am working but I am back home by the time he is back home and so far I have allowed my son to hang out with other kids from the neighborhood (with a curfew time) so that he doesnt feel socially deprived.


By Yuko Kubota on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 1:55 pm:

Hi Sidney,

I'm a Japanese mom of a 15 year old boy.

Of course it's not acceptable in Japanese families if their children steal! And of course in this country, you could go ahead and talk to the parents concerned, who would in turn appreciate your communication! It depends on the parent, not the nationality or country. Some might appreciate it, some might not, and if they don't that is their business, but you _should_ tell parents if they're loosing a hunderd thousands of yens!

My son used to steel from his father's wallet when he was in 5th grade. He wouldn't steel from mine, because I count my money, but my husband is ignorant about his, and he never noticed that notes were missing little by little.

When I talked to my son, I noticed that it wasn't really a matter of needing cash to buy things, but something like he needed comfort and security and "abundant money" was the thing that mentally secured him in some way. And mind you, we never recall giving too much or too less to him. His insecurity seemed to come more from things like the relationship with his family (including me) or his teachers.

But he begged me not to tell anyone including his father, and (I don't know how to put it but) I sensed it was important to listen to him. So I pretended not to tell anyone, but I did secretly talk to his dad and later to a couple of mom friends.

I'm not sure if discouraging your son from meeting up those friends is a good idea. But if he is hanging out with them just because they are his only choice and not because they are the only ones of whom he can accept each other, that is a different story. Speaking from experience, if it is the former, he might stop seeing them as he notices that it's a waste of time. If it is the latter, I'm sure they're nice kids at heart. You can try to get yourself or a reliable adult involved directly with the kids so that the relationship between adults and kids will be tighter.

Your local hokenjo public health center also provides professional counceling for either parents or children or both. You may want to give them a call. Your local koban police booth is also there to help you on these issues. If your son is simply having trouble killing time, you might want to send him to youth activities like the YMCA type. Your kuyakusho ward office can give you information.

Actually, I'm a bit puzzled though. Your son seems to have spent enough time here to build a firm relationship with the local elementary school community and you seem to know their parents fairly well. I wonder why you have been hesitant about talking to them about this issue. Some more background might help.


By Vicki on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 2:10 pm:

My son used to steal everything under the sun:goods, bikes, money, etc. and the ONLY thing that made him stop was a day-long visit to the local police station. I hauled him in myself and asked the police chief to "do all he could" to get him to stop stealing, and left him there. He was able to scare him enough to stop. You have to take him in yourself---if he's caught stealing in a store here, they will only ask the parents to come in and pay for the stolen items; they will not call the police. Now, at 17, my son is a well-adjusted young man who even returns things he finds to the police.


By siney dey on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 8:03 pm:

Thanks Yuko and Vicki for sharing your experiences.
Yuko: I agree with you that irrespective of the country and nationality some parents might be easier to talk to and some wont be. Its certainly not right to think that Japanese families would allow stealing - I am sorry about my comment. I am not as confident of my ability to deal with such social situation in Japan as I would be in my own country. And I dont know the other parents on a personal level, I have met them at school, and when my son was at elementary school my Japanese was worse than how it is now. All I know is that they are nice families like ours.

Vicky: I have thought about police station, but I have decided to give him another chance. I have made it very clear to him that if there is another incident, I am going to talk to everyone about his stealing. Actually I have already told my mom over phone, whom he loves and she has also counseled him.

Lets hope he learns from this chance. Thanks again


By Yuko Kubota on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 11:18 pm:

Siney,

First of all, I'm sorry for mis-spelling your name previously. And I think I see the picture now.

About dealing with Japanese parents you don't know well. If I were you, this is what I'd do. First, I'd hope I bump into them when I'm shopping groceries or something.

If not, I'd just go one parent at a time, give them a call or email and start with a "Ohisashiburi desu. Ogenkidesuka? (Long time no see. How are you doing?)" and chat for a while. Then I'd change the subject with a "Jitsuwa (Actually...)". In Japan, it's better to let the bad news come slowly when you don't know the other party well enough.

I'd try to be clear that I'm not assulting them, but having a problem with my own child and want to talk about it. But I'd also be clear that I needed to talk to them only because they might be having _their_ money stolen. And if all that works, then I can start discussing what both (all) families can do about it, since it needs teamwork.

Of course I know Japanese parents who do these things more "offensively", but I hope to try to do things so that it would be easier for the other party to talk. At least that is how I prefer to approach them.

But before that, I'd talk to my own child and tell him that I'm going to contact the other parents. I wouldn't want to do that in this situation without his approval.

Also if the shopkeepers seem like reliable people, I might talk to them as well, so that they can keep an eye on the kids when they seem to be spending too much money. Just a thought.

Anyway, it's not a problem that you don't know them that well. After your kid graduates elementary school, parents get to have very little chance to talk to each other. But most of them are thinking the same thing; that they don't get to talk but should talk once in a while so that their kids can live straight. They'll understand why you're contacting them all of the sudden.

Btw, it took some time and great effort between us for my son to stop steeling. It was something he couldn't control. But I think it lasted less than a year or two. In our case, the key was to tell him that I'm not here to punish him but to help him do what he wants to do which was to stop steeling. He had some other problems during age 13-14, but now he's in senior high and he's a different person (or back to normal, should I say?).

Hope it helps.


By Shikokumom on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 12:08 am:

Personal anecdote:
I stole from my parents as a young teen.
I knew it was wrong but it didn't really count if you stole from your parents - did it?
I did it because I wanted to impress my friends - buy things for them etc.
It also felt good to be able to buy what I wanted and it was great to have friends looking up to you to buy things for them.
The thing is I never knew the value of money. I didn't know where it came from, how it got in my mom's wallet.
I pretty much got whatever I wanted.
All I had to do what beg, whine, plead, throw a tantrum and voila - I got my stuff.

But in my mid-teens, my family moved to Canada.
Both my parents were working jobs that didn't give them the same kind of financial freedom that they had in the Philippines.
For a while my father wasn't working because he was over-qualified for positions in Canada and he had a really thick Filipino accent that he was very conscious of so there were periods where it was just my mom working. They did all this so that all 5 kids could have a better future in Canada. I'll be forever grateful to them for that.

Anyway, my parents didn't know that I had stolen from them until we were in Canada and my younger brother told on me when we were having a family discussion about the family finances.
My mom asked me how much I took and honestly I couldn't remember because I knew that she had a big fat envelope full of money and I would just sneak in her closet and pull out a couple of 100peso bills from time to time. I think at this point I realized that my mom didn't know the value of money either cuz she had no idea that money was missing! LOL!
There really wasn't a " consequence" for me per se but I remember being embarrassed. I don't even remember apologizing.
Even at that point (I was about 15) I still wasn't 100% sure about the value of money.
It wasn't until I got my first "real" job doing part-time work at a restaurant when I was about 16 or 17 that I clued in. My brother had just bought a really expensive bicycle from money that he had been saving for at least 2 years - from gifts and allowances.He wouldn't let me ride it until I convinced him to let me use it. Then one day, I locked the bike the wrong way and it got stolen - except for the front wheel. My brother was so upset and I promised to pay him back for the cost of the bike. It was a $500 bike and it took me about a year to pay him back because I could only pay him little bits at a time from my meagre paycheques as a part-timer.

I could've just paid him half of my pay each time but I told him that I could only afford to give him 50 bucks at a time. Like seriously I had to buy make-up, snacks, shoes, clothes - being a teenage girl and all. LOL!
My brother agreed to let me do it but that stolen bike weighed heavily on my head long after I had paid him back for it. Not because I had to pay him back, but because it was such an expensive thing for him to buy with his OWN money and he was so miserable and sad when I told him that it got stolen. The fact that he never bought another bicycle after that to replace it may have had something to do with it as well.

Another anecdote:
My husband and I are friends with a Canadian-Japanese couple. They had a 500yen kitty.Every time they came home from work they would put whatever 500yen coins they had in it.
One day, mom decides that she was going to count the kitty and found that it had very little than expected. They didn't want to believe it but they eventually had to face the reality that their 10 year old son was stealing from them.
They confronted him about it and he confessed.
It turns out that he was buying candy and cards for his friends from the local candy shop and they figured that he had spent about 30,000yen over a period of time (several months to a year).
They never thought to check the kitty before and they didn't think that their own children would be stealing from them. They called all his friends' parents and told them that he had been stealing from them. They didn't know exactly which of his friends were involved so they asked if their sons were bringing home stuff that was given to them by their son. Some parents went to their home with their sons and apologized for being part of the situation as some of the boys had encouraged him to get more money from home to buy playing cards and candy.

Anyway, to make ammends, this is what the couple did:
Their son got paid for doing chores at home - about 100yen at a time. The boy still had to do his chores but he didn't get "paid" until all of the money was paid back.
Also, when New Year season rolled around and everyone was getting otoshidama from the grandparents and relatives, mom and dad took that money until the kitty was paid back.

It was a very painful lesson that the child had to learn. It was particularly hard when his younger siblings were buying all sorts of things with their otoshidama while he had nothing to spend. Every time he would winge about it, they always remind him that if he hadn't stolen mommy and daddy's money, he'd be buying his favourite video game right now.

I guess from these two experiences teaching your child the value of money is really important.
I suppose a scare tactic of going to the police station works but it might also be a good thing
if the child is placed in the "victim's" position so that they can personalize not only what it feels like to be the victim of a theft - say taking his video games and selling them to pay you back, for example. Or maybe imposing a limit on video game playing because the money your son took from you was to pay for electricity and now that it's gone, you can only afford to have the essentials on.
I know these are all silly examples (or are they) but you know what I mean.

My lengthy two cents.
Sorry about that but hope that helps.
Good luck.


By siney dey on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 6:22 am:

Thanks Yuko and Shikokumon

Your messages are extremely helpful. I am planning to go to the store where he hangs out for window shopping with his friends and he spent his stolen money. I have told him many times hanging out in stores or even shopping there by themselves for big amounts of money is bad. But he insists it is common in Japan and that I dont know things in Japan and he feels he is being deprived when others are enjoying.
When I was his age my parents accompanied me for big shopping, and I feel I should do the same with him, unless there is a special plan like going out for movie going out with his class.
My son said he stole because he had to play some new games. He said he was aware that stealing money was bad when he did from my wallet. But later he stressed that after all it was only from your wallet, I am not and will never steal outside or from others. Then, he tried defending himself further that all his friends have a lot of money. They get 100,000 yen every year in otoshidama and okozukai, which they can spend by themselves. And he said some children habitually steal money from their parents. I am not sure whether these other friends who my son claims have stolen, have really stolen, or my son is just trying to make his case strong by saying that (kids try to do that sometimes). So I am still talking to him to get to truth.
I would really apppreciate if I get others opinion on these particular questions.
Would you allow 12 13 year old kids to hang out in big electronic stores with friends?
And do you hand them big amounts of money to spend on their shopping spree for games? I have always asked him to bring back the receipt, but he never does - he is careless and forgetful. So I have stopped handing him big amounts of money, except for tennis or kumon lesson.
After I told him that I am going to talk to his friends parents too if he does not stop doing these things, it does not matter whether his friends are stealing or not. That has scared him a bit because he does not want to in any embarrassing situation.
Thanks anyway to everyone for spending so much time and sharing their experience. I will update you what happens after a week. And I have become really careful and asked my husband too to be careful with the money. And we also keep an eye on his pockets and bags and rooms.


By Yuko Kubota on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 10:25 pm:

Hi, it's me again.

I found Shikokumon's message extremely helpful as well. I wasn't much of a good girl myself, but I was never interested in sneaking money, so it really helps to hear from people with experience. I'm going to make sure that my son doesn't become the "kid that can buy/lend everything for everybody"!

Also, I think we parents all have this problem of our kids saying "everybody does it." They say it like if they're not part of this "everybody" it's the end of the world. "Everybody" has later curfews, "everybody" is getting more allowance. I often reconfirm this to the other moms, and it almost always turns out that this "everybody" is just one or two friends the most, and even these friends' families have their reasons for making special rules. I don't think that the kids are necessarily lying by saying "everybody", but at least in their minds the few luckiest friends appear to be the "everybody" and the small luckiest part of the friend's lives appear to be "everything".

So I'd say to my son that I know that not "everybody" is doing it, and that he should be ashamed of trying to get more than "everybody". In particular, I'd often name this boy whose family have strict rules and say to my son, "Is he doing it too? I don't think so. You're not alone." And it's usually okay. I don't know if my son feels less deprived by that or if he just gives up, but he stops insisting or at least lowers his tone.

Siney it seems you're not sure if the other kids are stealing too. But I still think that this is a good chance to get in touch with the other parents and see how they're handling the allowance, shopping, hanging out and all. Chat and check what's going on in kid's land these days.

I can also understand a bit that it's difficult being the only non-native mom, because it works the other way around. When there is a foreign mom in class, some parents think it's difficult to communicate with her even if she speaks some Japanese. You can be honest with them though. Tell them it's not like communicating with parents of your own country but you still want to communicate. I'm sure they feel the same. And as long as you don't mention the stealing, your son has no right to restrain you from chatting to _your_ friends, the moms.

Now, to answer your questions;

> Would you allow 12 13 year old kids to hang out in big electronic stores with friends?

Actually I did/do. I've never heard of a parent having problems with their low teens going to big electric stores with friends during day time if it's just "hanging out". Btw, children 16 and under usually aren't allowed in game arcades after 4:00 pm without being accompanied by an adult.

> And do you hand them big amounts of money to spend on their shopping spree for games?

I never "hand" him. He is expected to save his otoshidama or okozukai for games, DVDs, CDs and manga etc. I think it's usually the same for most families around me.

But if he's going to the movies or bowling, I hand him about 5000 yen including lunch money and transportation, and make sure I get the change back, and make sure it wasn't spent for games or DVDs etc. This is because other parents were doing something similar, but then, I notice that some of my son's friends would turn down the invitations "because I don't have enough money" so I suppose some kids pay from their allowance or something.

As for otoshidama, some families make their kids save part of it, and some let them use it all.

Hope it helps.


By Siney on Monday, July 2, 2007 - 6:28 am:

Hi Yuko,

Thanks for answering my specific questions, which is really helpful. I thought if kids hangs out every weekend in electronic stores without any intentions to purchase, it may tempt them to somehow get money to buy the stuff they are always looking at. You are indeed right that I should be meeting his friends` moms and I will try. I know a couple of moms who can speak in English with me, and I will ask them for their help in re-introducing me to these moms.

What is the usual curfew time for most kids in your neighborhood? Does it bother you when your boy promised to return home at 5 pm but returns around 8 pm? Or, you would just ignore it as long as you are ensured he was not doing anything ikenai?

Some time ago, he was obsessed with guns. Even after we bought him a toy air gun, he kept on getting more, which he claimed were borrowed, but later I found out that he traded them with his other possessions. These toy guns are quite dangerous I didnt know. One day my son went about shooting inside the house and broke off a laptops screen, left a big dent in our microwave door, and a hole in my husbands precious painting. He (hubby) got so angry (and violent with son) that he threw off all the guns and and told my son that he had to give up guns. My son gave up reluctantly but he did. Soon afterwards, I discovered a knife in his pocket, a kind of survivors knife, which son claimed his friend let him borrowed for a couple days. I immediately took him to his friends house. My intention was to hand it over to his mom, but the two conspired so as not to let this happen, me meeting his mom. Anyway, I told his friend not to keep such dangerous stuff. I know that both that boy and my son are quite innocent guys and would do anything to keep away from any fights, but its just a craze I guess. Anyway I hope that is over now.



These days my son is busy with a new pet. He always loved pets and we didnt buy him any mainly because we dont like pets. Now I dont have too many choices, pets are far better than guns and knives, and stealing :-)

Thanks as alwasy for sharing with me


By Admin on Friday, July 6, 2007 - 3:03 pm:

This topic has been moved from the "Suggest a Main Topic", which is subject to admin approval to prevent duplication of already existing discussions. This is the new location.

Siney, sorry for the couple days delay, but I was in airplane/airports for about 28 hours and then I was sleeping, and then I had no access to the internet for another day.


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