Monday, October 5, 2009

I Want My Own Car

The October issue of the Pediatric magazine has published a study that should give parents pause: giving in to teens' demands for their own cars can have dangerous consequences. The study found that teenagers with their own cars or free use of one are much more likely to get in crashes than those who share a car. Here is the kicker: where parents set down clear driving rules, crashes are far less likely.

DMV Teen Final Exam

As of October 1, 2009, teens seeking to obtain their license will have to take a second exam. This “DMV Teen Final Exam” will be given by the DMV after a teen driver has completed home or driving school training and has passed the DMV road skills test. The first 25-question test is administered by the DMV when the teen seeks a learner permit to start the licensing process. The new test will determine a teen driver's knowledge of the rules of the road. Connecticut continues to lead the country on teen driver safety.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

No Glove No Love

Talking with teens about sex has come along way since I turned 16 in 1979. At that time, it was uncommon to have frank conversations with parents about sex. Based upon the discussions at our dinner table, I thought we had come a long way. Although somewhat crass, we are not naive that our children may be sexually active and we promote abstinence, but our constant mantra is to say "no glove, no love." Dispite this openness, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a third of girls will get pregnant before age 20. The teen birth rate actually rose by 3 percent between 2005 and 2006, after dropping 34 percent over the last decade. In light of these statistics, why is teen pregnancy rising ? What are the issues surrounding legal support, legal custody and moral responsibility following an out of wedlock abortion ?

Friday, September 25, 2009

The HPV Vaccine and Teens

Recently, a teen made the national headlines when she was denied U.S. citizenship after she refused to be injected with a vaccine that protects against a sexually transmitted virus linked to cervical cancer. This vaccine is commonly known as the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is controversial and is not required of teens who are U.S citizens. The government is considering requiring all teens to have the vaccine. Should the government mandate that vaccines be required of U.S. teens ? How far will we move towards the society depicted by Ayn Rand in the novel Atlas Shrugged ? If a teen gets sick because of the vaccine, does she have legal rights against the vaccine maker ?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Surprise - Strip Search of a 13 Year Old Girl Unconstitutional

The rule of zero tolerance continues to lead to cases of zero common among some school administrators. It seems beyond imagination, but it took a recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court to hold that a strip search of a 13 year old girl at an Arizona school, who was suspected of hiding extra-strength ibuprofen, was unconstitutional. Keeping kids safe is a top priority. However, safety includes protection against constitutional violations. Back to School Rule 1: Zero Tolerance must be tempered with Common Sense.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Most Dangerous Sport - Cheerleading

The stunts are spectacular. The athletes are exceptional. However, cheerleading is fast becoming the most dangerous sport for women in both high school and college. The Boston Globe reports that between 1982 and 2007, more than 1/2 of all serious injuries to high school or college women athletes related to cheerleading. As part of our parental responsibility, I urge you to join with me and other champions of cheerleader safety, to demand better regulation of the sport. In signing up your son or daughter to participate, investigate the training and safety practices of any school or cheer organization. We don't want to stop the sport. We want to stop the unnecessary, and sometimes deadly, injuries.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Parental Liability for Teen Sexting - Possible

Your teen sends a nude picture of his ex-girl friend to all of his buddies. The girl suffers humiliation to the point that she can no longer attend school. As a parent it is possible that you could have civil liability for your teen's misuse of his cell phone. You may own the phone and pay the bill. This means that it is possible for an attorney to argue that your failure to monitor or take action to control your son's use of his phone creates a duty to the injured girl. This could make you personally liable for damages. While you do not need to read every text message sent by your child, it is suggested by the experts that you might want to reserve the right to periodically look at your teen's phone.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eddy Haskell

My daughter has a friend. He is Eddy Haskell. No, his real name is not Eddy Haskell, but he is an “Eddy Haskell.” Eddy Haskell was a character on a black and white T.V. show called "Leave it to Beaver." He came across to unknowing parents on the show as the perfect teen: well groomed and almost sickeningly polite to adults. However, the viewers knew better: Eddy was not a good teen. Eddy was always up to no good as soon as the adults turned their back. My daughter’s friend is the same way. He is perfectly put together and says all the right things at the right time. But I have caught snippets of conversations when I have walked into the room. I am wise because of the “Beave.” This friend is Eddy. While the Cleaver’s were stereotypes of an American family that never existed, our kids are familiar with Eddy Haskell who is now a reoccurring character at our family dinners.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Son, Facebook and Dr. Suess

My son added me as a friend on his facebook. I told him that I respect his privacy and that he did not have to add me. Why do I have a facebook anyway ? I told him he could "de-friend" me anytime and I that would not be offended (I might be). While not everything on his site passed the parent whiff test, one item stuck out. He posted a quote by Dr. Seuss: Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. I did not know he was listening to the 45th reading of Green Eggs and Ham when I read it to him 15 years ago. Small act, big Result.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tailgating Teens

Teens and Tailgating before concerts is becoming routine.  Beware.  In Connecticut, Teens arrested for possession of alcohol on public or private property will face a stiff fine and loss of their license. For teens who are not drinking but who still want to participate in the party here are three tips:
1.    Move On - The law regarding alcohol is about possession, not consumption.  If you are at a tailgate where there is alcohol, you will likely be arrested whether or not you have been drinking.
2.   Move On - Fireworks injury hundreds of bystanders every year.  When the rockets come out it is time to get out.
3.   Move On - Violence erupts often without warning.  If you feel tempers rising and anxiety brewing, it might be time to go into the show rather than become part of someone else's drama.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mr. Rogers

I loved Mr. Rogers on PBS. Recently I found myself coming home and working. When my teens came to me to tell me about a band or friend, I barely looked up from my screen. I was doing important work right? Then Mr. Rogers popped into my head. Where did he come from ? Since then, when I come home, I take off my work shoes, put on my sneakers and I am trying to do the real work of being present for my teens.

Monday, July 13, 2009


If your child is ADD and attends public school you have rights. Your child may have the right to reasonable accommodations under state and federal law. A great ADD resource is the Hallowell Center in Sudbury,MA.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Scout Code Applicable Today

Substitute the word teen for scout: a good teen is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Fits the bill.

Fair Play: The Price of Victory?

My daughter's U-19 soccer team was blown out of the water in the finals today. The game was rough. Our girls handled the play and the loss well. Here is a great link that sums up the spirit of fair play and victory. The article is from the Responsibility Project.

Q: How many hours of instruction must parents of new drivers take before their teens take their driving test ?

Parents of those obtaining a learner’s permit must attend two hours of instruction on teen-driving laws before their teen takes his or her driving test.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Q: Can a new driver with a permit drive in another state?

A: Whether or not you can drive legally in another state depends upon the laws of the state you are driving in, and not the law of CT.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Raising A Good Teen Lesson 1 - Set the Goals

Set Your Goals High. Write them down. My goal is that my teens turn out to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent (yes, I was a scout). That my teen takes control of her life, establishes lasting relationships, has self-confidence without arrogance, get things done, decides what matters most, makes good decisions and has the balance that leads to happiness. What are your goals ?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Effect of the Recession on Gen Y: How will Gen Y Shape Policy in the Future ?

It is reported that the recession has had a significant impact on the Gen Y. Over 70% are worried about not having enough money to live and 53% are living paycheck to paycheck. Gen Y workers are less likely to have the security net of disability insurance. They believe that employer benefits for the most part are to few. Over 50% would like their employer to provide access to investment advice. When Gen Y moves into the legislature, the judiciary and the White House, what effect will these experiences have on how Gen Y shapes policy into the future ? What laws might be enacted that would effect the aging Gen X parents and the emerging Gen Z ? What laws might be enacted by the present Gen X and aging Baby-Boomers that might effect the future policy choices of Gen Y ? The future is beiing formed now.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good Teens - Speeding Police Cruiser Kills Two 19 year olds

It is a tragedy that two 19 year old teens were killed in a two car accident over the weekend in Orange.  As tragic is that the police maintain that the teen driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene, turned his car into the path of the police cruiser causing the accident.  In fact, it is reported that witnesses to the accident saw the dark cruiser traveling at a high rate of speed with no lights or sirens.  Gen-Y is criticized for not being responsible or accountable.  Responsibility means taking ownership for one's actions.  We look to the police to set the model.  The Milford police owe these two teens and their parents the dignity of taking responsibility for this accident.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Responsible Parents - 3 Tips For Parents with ADD Teen Drivers

The Hallowell Center in Sudbury, MA, is a fantastic treatment center for regular kids who have ADD/ADHD. Having your child properly diagnosed and treated may save their life. This is why: Parents of ADD/ADHD Teens are likely familiar with recent studies that show that their sons and daughters are more likely than non-effected teens to be involved in motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers. Here are three easy tips to reduce the risk that your teen will be in an accident:
  1. Restrict the Use of Cell Phones
  2. Limit Driving during High Risk Times Between 3pm and 6pm when medication may be wearing off, and on weekends when kids may skip a dose.
  3. Consider entering into a Teen/Parent Driving Agreement that clearly sets out the rules for the car. More

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bad Teen - Clown Car and the Parent Teen Driving Agreement

Have you ever seen a clown car at the circus? You know, the car where the clowns keep coming and coming out of the car. You know they can't all possibly fit. Yesterday, I walked out of the house to see my son and five of his friends getting out of my car. Way too many clowns. After his driving privileges were restored, we had him enter into a Parent Teen Driving Agreement. read more

Monday, June 22, 2009

You Have Good Teens...Right?

I am a lawyer. But first, I am a dad with four teenagers. Yes, they are good kids. That's the fear. I hear from other parents with good teens disbelief that their son or daughter is in trouble. Look: good kids can get in real trouble, real fast. Football stars do sell Adderall in the boy's locker room and girls in National Honor Society do drive DUI. It happens.

Understanding the legal landscape of teen law and parental responsibility may help to keep good teens from a lifetime of consequences stemming from one poor decision. This blog will be a blunt discussion about the law, teens of the Y Generation and parents of the X.

Importantly Note: It almost goes without saying that this blog does not offer legal advice. If you have legal problems whether a teen or a parent you have to see a lawyer and not consult a blog.

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