As far as you know

Posted by: on Jun 18, 2010 | 11 Comments


My son Zach and his friends survived last night’s post-prom festivities, and are just about done with their high school daze. My years as a parent has taught me many lessons and here is one of them that I like to call “As Far As You Know.”

I want all parents to repeat after me…”as  far as you know.” Did you repeat it?  Just for emphasis, say it again…”as far as you know.” Now, every time one of your friends tells you “oh my child would never do that,” just look at them and say “as far as you know.” Or you can turn the tables on yourself and say “as far as I know,” which I often do.

I sometimes think parents walk around with their heads in the sand or swimming through the long river in Egypt….De Nile.  If you are away for the weekend, than the party is at your house.  I know that from personal experience of raising two children.  I’m not proud of it, it’s just the way things are.  It amazes me that I know parents whose kids were at my house during these times and they walk around saying “oh my child would never do that.” Really? Did you enjoy your swim in De Nile? What exactly do you think is in those red cups that abound at every party in town?

Here’s the classic. Many years ago, we were out celebrating a friends 40th birthday in NYC. During the limo ride, one of the other guests kept telling everyone about her perfect daughter (which we all knew not to be true), how her child was so innocent (which we all knew not to be true), how she should have never raised her children “here” and yada yada yada. After dinner, we decide to go to a club. Just as we are about to head into the club, the birthday boy’s daughter calls to tell us that the Miss Perfect Innocent Daughter got shit-faced and is puking her brains out. Congratulations, clueless in suburbia has a new poster mother.

Listen, I remember my HS and college daze extremely well. I know what my friends and I did, and I know what my friends and I got away with. To think that kids today aren’t doing the same thing just because you think you are more “aware” than your parents were, just proves how unaware people really are.

Growing up is all about experimentation, trial and error, finding your equilibrium in this world, when you are sober and when you are not. It’s staring out at the abyss…backing off, falling in or puking in it, and learning to appreciate how nice and cool it is when you are curled up next to it.

And yes I know, your kids tell you everything because you are such a good parent or an involved parent or a cool parent or you know so much more than your parents did.  Well, if you think your kids tell you everything because you are whatever makes you a good parent (and you probably are a really good parent), I have one thing to say to you…”as far as you know.”


  1. DONNA
    June 18, 2010


  2. Kelly
    June 18, 2010

    Ira – that was too funny! This is really the 1st time she’s been out (except to a movie) this year. So this is all new. I think I’m a ‘cool & very aware’ parent. That’s probably what makes me suspicious. I know she will do things. Just hope she’s smarter than I was at that age. That’s all. Keep up the good work!

  3. Ann Shuman
    June 18, 2010

    As far as I know, this post is right on the money! It is so true. I thought my daughter was perfect and innocent, but found out that she is “normal”. Great writing, too.

  4. Linda Landau
    June 18, 2010

    So true. I liked that my child did his first experimenting with things under my roof, or at least returned there at the end of the night. There were lessons, and some words of wisdom (not lectures) that I was able to part on him that I could not have done if his first drunken experiences were after he was at college. Any parent who thinks their kid is not partaking is delusional. I’ll never forget the first time a bunch of guys jumped into my car reaking of…mints. A tell tale sign. I later asked my son if they had been drinking, and he readily admited it. Always was better to have open and honest conversations. A kid who can do that with his or her parents, is a much safer and wiser child.

  5. Maureen Tillman
    June 18, 2010

    well put..complicated issues for sure!

  6. Ina
    June 18, 2010

    You are one honest and well-spoken parent! But….I may be just a little prejudiced….

  7. Tracy
    June 19, 2010

    Heck by the time my kids are in hi gh school I will be in the state is SENile!!!!

  8. Anonymous Richie
    June 19, 2010

    As we approach the beginning of summer camp season I recall visiting weekend last year when we left the incoming Junior home to finish my fresh bottle of Tanqueray, all the tonic water, and the limes sections left in a small bowl in the fridge, in addition to that a glass pipe was left in the basement and the ping pong table had strange marks left in the painted finish, likely created from bouncing a minted coin, obviously for some physics experiment. When asked who consumed the tonic water, the reply was that so and so LIKES tonic water. Oh yes, straight up. “As far as you know.”

    The learning curve for “street sense” for the eldest of two boys appears to be a steep one. The total lack of understanding that some of their teen behavior might actually be illegal and hence the need to have some paranoia and to actually be looking over their shoulder seems to be a difficult but quite necessary concept to fully grasp.

    The “as far as you know” rule came into play when a total void of street sense eclipsed eldest son and friends’ mind. After phoning a friend for the garage door code so they could smoke in his garage they then order a pizza. Neighbor sees a delivery going to a garage next door where the folks are away for the weekend. Can you say BUSTED. Of course the outcome was a slap on the wrist and an eventual expungement but the sheer lack of street sense was startling. I don’t even want to pain your readers further with the way in which the ownership of their stash was determined. When the detective said their initials were on each bag, we both had to hold back a chuckle. This must be a weekly happening at the station, but not with my kid, “as far as I know.”

  9. lizzie
    June 19, 2010

    You hit it right on the mark-this should be in every newspaper!!!! If your child tells you 50% of the truth, that is pretty good. I think most parents seem to forget that they were teens once, and I’m sure they didn’t share their shenanigans with their parents all the time.

  10. Sharon Rimland
    June 21, 2010

    Thanks once again, Ira. Very well said!!!

  11. Alicia
    July 10, 2010

    You are right on… because i’m 23.