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February 20th, 2009

Beth Harpaz Blogs on Motherlode: First Mugging

Park Slope's Beth Harpaz, author of 13 is the New 18, is blogging this week on Lisa Belkin's Motherlode blog at the New York Times website. Here's the introduction by Lisa Belkin and an excerpt:

In her guest blog this week, author Beth Harpaz writes about the
rites of passage for suburban and urban kids. The title of her newest
book. “”13 Is the New 18 … And Other Things My Children Taught Me —
While I was Having a Nervous Breakdown Being their Mother,” sums up the
constant state of unease that comes with being a parent.

So does her essay:

FIRST MUGGING
By BETH HARPAZ

First shave, first concert, first kiss, first smoke — they’re all
teenage rites of passage, right up there with bar mitzvahs,
quinceanaras and Sweet 16 parties.

But when you raise your kids in the city, there’s another to add to the list: First mugging.

Unless you chauffeur your kids door to door in the five boroughs the
way parents do in the “burbs,” chances are, before they’re old enough
to vote, they’ll be mugged. Now obviously you hope and pray that if and
when your kid is mugged, it’s nothing more than a quick shakedown for
an iPod or a big kid grabbing a cell phone from a smaller kid.
Unfortunately, plenty of kids also get slugged or have weapons pulled
on them — even in neighborhoods like Park Slope, where I live. Yes,
it’s not all fusion restaurants and designer dogs. We got thugs, too.

You tell your kids to be careful, as they wander around the
neighborhood, hanging out in playgrounds after dark with their friends,
or going back and forth to school. But like teenagers everywhere, they
believe they are invincible. One night a few years ago, after a kid was
mugged at knifepoint near our house I warned my son to watch out. He
told me I didn’t have to worry because he was “unjumpable.”

Read the rest at the Motherlode.

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