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May 05, 2010

Turn that DOWN!

E drives Let's face it: Teens are no more rational than toddlers, really. They're both self-centered, determined and completely convinced that you're wrong. That's why, when it comes to parenting teens, you have to pick your battles, just like you did when they were terrible two-year-olds.

And look, I can let a lot of things slide. Messy room? Just don't get bugs. Use of the F-word? I wouldn't recommend you say it to your girlfriend's parents. Grunting conversation? I can play passive-aggressive silent treatment with the best of 'em. But the one battle I seem to constantly wage is the war against loud music in the car.

We bought Elijah a car when he turned 16. (Don't judge...he's my only child. I think I'm legally required to spend all my money on him.) My husband then took the car and had some million-dollar stereo installed in it. Or it seems like it anyway. Lots of woofers and tweeters and equaliberators. Something. I don't know. Anyway, it was all TOO MUCH and I kept telling him so, but my arguments fell on deaf ears. "This is cool!" he'd say. "This is what everyone wants!" (My husband, we're talking about here. Not even the 16-year-old boy. Although most days it's hard to tell the difference.)

So Elijah got the "bumpin'" stereo. He bumped the damn thing so loud he shook the speakers loose. My husband had to keep taking it back to the stereo installers to have them repair it. Eventually he started to lose patients with them, blaming them for shoddy work. And I was all, "OMG I TOLD YOU."

To make matters worse, he listens to hip hop. So let me just go ahead and apologize to you now: I'm sorry. I'm sorry you had to be stuck at a traffic light next to my kid's bumpin' stereo. I'm sorry you were unable to both enjoy the nice day with your windows down and listen to your NPR station. I'm sorry the bass made your chest vibrate. I've been that annoyed grownup driving next to a damn kid, and I know, and I'm sorry.

But the fact of the matter is, even more than I hate the annoyance of hearing my son get home long before he actually opens the garage, I'm worried about his safety. Driving with loud music is still a distraction, right? One study I read out of Canada said a driver's reaction time was slowed down by as much as 20 percent when subjected to loud volumes. Never mind what you're doing to your ears, Son, I would really like for you to NOT WRECK YOUR CAR.

Someday, he'll turn the music down, I'm sure. Probably when he has a baby seat in the back, but eventually he will. Until then, I'll just be over here, battling for this hill.

This is an original 50-something Moms post. When Kalisa isn't complaining about the radio, she's telling kids to get off her lawn or blogging at .