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0759 Worrying About Your Children

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 759: Worrying About Your Children.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 759. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Support this podcast by becoming a member and downloading our Learning Guide for this and all of our current episodes.

This episode is about worrying about your children. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Pavel: I’m really worried about Hanna. She’s been hanging around with that girl Carla, and Carla runs with the wrong crowd.

Hillary: Hanna is rebelling a little. That’s natural at her age. When I was her age, I thought I knew more than my parents or any adult, and that I should be able to make all of my own decisions.

Pavel: I’m not talking about being stricter on her, but she’s become so secretive. I’m really worried that she might get exposed to things that should be off-limits at her age.

Hillary: There’s no way we can keep her from seeing her friends short of locking her in her room. We have to trust her and let her come to us if she runs into problems. We raised her right and she can handle herself.

Pavel: I wish I had your confidence. She’s a girl, remember? All kinds of things can happen to girls.

Hillary: We’ve talked to her a lot about those things and what we feel are right and wrong. A lot of things can happen to boys, too, or don’t you remember? Hanna takes after you and she has your brains and resourcefulness. Like father, like daughter, so stop worrying so much,

Pavel: Do you really think she’ll be okay?

Hillary: Yes, I do. Take comfort in knowing that she’s just exactly like you. When she has a daughter of her own, she’ll stay up nights worrying, just like you.

Pavel: That’s small comfort!

[end of dialogue]

Pavel begins by saying to Hillary, “I’m really worried about Hanna. She’s been hanging around with that girl Carla, and Carla runs with the wrong crowd.” Pavel is worried about Hanna, his daughter, because she’s been hanging around with that girl Carla. “To hang around with” means to spend your time with, especially your free time, time that you can use however you want. It isn’t clear what you are doing, there isn’t a clear activity; you’re just spending time with that person you’re hanging around with. Sometimes informally I think now people might say “I’m just hanging with my friends” instead of “hanging around,” but they mean the same thing. Pavel is concerned that his daughter is hanging around or spending time with a girl named Carla. Why? Well, because Carla runs with the wrong crowd. The expression “to run with the wrong crowd,” or group of people, is to spend time with people who are not doing good things, people that will have a bad influence, in this case, on his daughter.

Hillary says, “Hanna is rebelling a little.” “To rebel” (rebel) means to disagree with someone in authority. To not follow what your parents or your government or teacher says, that is to rebel. There’s an a noun, which is “rebellion,” which is the act of rebelling, and the person who rebels is called a “rebel.” A “rebel,” stress on the first syllable, is the person who rebels; the verb, stress on the second syllable. Hillary says that Hanna is rebelling a little, “That’s natural at her age.” When you say “that’s natural,” here we mean it’s normal, it’s to be expected. “Natural” has a couple of different meanings; take a look at our Learning Guide for some of those. Hillary says, “When I was her age (when I was the same age as my daughter), I thought I knew more than my parents or any adult, and that I should be able to make all of my own decisions.” This is something that many teenagers, of course, believe.

Pavel says, “I’m not talking about being stricter on her.” “To be strict” (strict) means that you have rules, in this case for your children, and you don’t make any exceptions; they must follow exactly your rules. That’s to be strict with your children. “Stricter” would be the comparative, to be more strict. Pavel says that his daughter is becoming secretive. “Secretive” means that you keep secrets, you don’t tell someone about what you are doing, you don’t give them any information about what you are doing. Pavel says, “I’m really worried that she might get exposed to things that should be off-limits at her age.” “To be” or “get exposed to (something)” means that you have some experience with it; you see it or you are aware of it. “Off-limits” (off-limits) means not permitted, not allowed. You might see a sign in a school saying “The principal’s office is off-limits to students.” You are not allowed there, you are not permitted there. Pavel is worried that his daughter will be exposed to things that she shouldn’t be at her young age, that should be off-limits, that she should not see.

Hillary says, “There’s no way we can keep her from seeing her friends short of locking her in her room.” “To keep her from (doing something)” means to prevent her, to stop her from doing something. There’s no way to keep her from seeing her friends short of locking her in her room. “Short of” here means except or unless, but usually it’s used, as it is here, for an extreme action, something that you wouldn’t normally do. “Short of selling their home they don’t see how they can pay their doctor bills.” There’s no other choice. Well, Hillary is saying that the only way they can keep their daughter from seeing her friends is to lock her in her room, which they wouldn’t want to do.

Hillary says, “We have to trust her.” “To trust” means to believe that, in this case, the person will act appropriately, will the right thing – the correct thing. “We have to trust her and let her come to us if she runs into problems.” That is, if she has problems we have to let her ask us – come to us, come and talk to us, we can’t go and talk to her about it. I’m not sure if that’s true, but that’s what Hillary believes. She says, “We raised her right and she can handle herself.” “To raise (raise) (someone)” is to take care of and educate someone from the time, usually, they’re a baby until they’re an adult. “To handle (one’s self)” means to be in control of what you are thinking and what you are doing, to be able to get through a certain situation, especially if it’s a difficult situation. If someone says, “I can handle myself,” they mean I can do it by myself, I don’t need anyone else to help me.

Pavel says, “I wish I had your confidence.” He doesn’t the same confidence – the same belief that Hillary does in his daughter. “She’s a girl, remember? All kinds of things can happen to girls.” Hillary says, “We’ve talked to her a lot about those things and what we feel are right and wrong. A lot of things can happen to boys, too, or don’t you remember?” Pavel is saying that a young girl – a teenage girl – could get into more trouble than a teenage boy. That may be the opinion of a lot of parents I would guess. But Hillary, the mother, is saying that boys can get into trouble, too. Hillary says that she and Pavel have talked to Hanna, and Hanna knows what’s right and what’s wrong.

“Hanna,” the mother says, and notice the psychology here of the mother, her thinking, to try to convince the husband not to worry, “Hanna takes after you and she has your brains and resourcefulness.” The mother is saying that Hanna takes after her father. “To take after” means that they behave or they are like that person, usually a parent or an older relative. If the oldest sister likes to swim and youngest sister starts swimming, you might say, “Well, she takes after her older sister.” She follows the example of her older sister. In this case, Hanna takes after the father, Pavel, and has his brains and resourcefulness. “She has his brains” means she is as smart as he is. Of course, Hillary is complimenting – is saying something nice about the father. She also says that the father and Hanna are resourceful. “Resourceful” means that you are able to use what is available to you and make the best use of it, to get the maximum benefit from whatever you have available. That’s to be resourceful; the noun is “resourcefulness.” She then uses a version of a popular expression; the popular expression is “like father, like son,” meaning the son will behave the way the father does. But she says, changing the expression, “Like father, like daughter,” meaning the daughter will be like the father, so the father doesn’t have to worry because the daughter is just like he is. “Stop worrying so much,” Hillary says.

Pavel says, “Do you really think she’ll be okay?” Hillary says, “Yes, I do. Take comfort in knowing that she’s just exactly like you.” “To take comfort in (something)” means to feel comforted by, to know that you don’t have to worry because of this piece of information – of this thing. “Take comfort in knowing that even if it rains we’re inside a building and we won’t get wet.” “To take comfort in” means to get some sort of positive emotion or some, we might say, reassurance that things are going to be okay.

Hillary says, “When she has a daughter of her own (when Hanna has a daughter of her own), she’ll stay up nights worrying, just like you.” Well, Pavel doesn’t think this is very comforting, this isn’t very reassuring. That’s why he ends by saying, “That’s small comfort!” “Small comfort” means it’s not very comforting, it doesn’t help. It doesn’t really matter that Hanna, when she grows up and has a daughter, will also worry. Pavel thinks that isn’t very reassuring, that isn’t very comforting, and I must agree, he’s probably right.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Pavel: I’m really worried about Hanna. She’s been hanging around with that girl Carla, and Carla runs with the wrong crowd.

Hillary: Hanna is rebelling a little. That’s natural at her age. When I was her age, I thought I knew more than my parents or any adult, and that I should be able to make all of my own decisions.

Pavel: I’m not talking about being stricter on her, but she’s become so secretive. I’m really worried that she might get exposed to things that should be off-limits at her age.

Hillary: There’s no way we can keep her from seeing her friends short of locking her in her room. We have to trust her and let her come to us if she runs into problems. We raised her right and she can handle herself.

Pavel: I wish I had your confidence. She’s a girl, remember? All kinds of things can happen to girls.

Hillary: We’ve talked to her a lot about those things and what we feel are right and wrong. A lot of things can happen to boys, too, or don’t you remember? Hanna takes after you and she has your brains and resourcefulness. Like father, like daughter, so stop worrying so much,

Pavel: Do you really think she’ll be okay?

Hillary: Yes, I do. Take comfort in knowing that she’s just exactly like you. When she has a daughter of her own, she’ll stay up nights worrying, just like you.

Pavel: That’s small comfort!

[end of dialogue]

It’s natural for you to expect to have good scripts on our episodes, that’s because they’re written by the wonderful Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to hang around with – to spend one’s free time with someone, without a clear purpose or a defined activity

* Jill spent the weekend hanging around with her friends instead of studying for the big test.

to run with the wrong crowd – to spend time with people who are a bad influence, usually because they are involved in activities like smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or breaking the law

* When the Pedersens realized their son was running with the wrong crowd, they put him in a private high school.

to rebel – to disagree with someone in authority and not do what he or she wants or expects one to do; to fight against those with authority or power

* It’s normal for teenagers to rebel against their parents at least a little bit.

natural – normal; expected; common

* It’s natural to feel nervous when speaking in public, but practicing can help.

strict – enforcing rules without making exceptions; expecting other people to do what one says

* Kris is very strict about not letting her kids watch more than eight hours of TV each week.

secretive – not sharing information openly; hiding information about one’s activities or thoughts

* Kayla guessed her friends were throwing her a surprise birthday party, because they were so secretive about their plans for the weekend.

exposed to – having an awareness of something, usually because one has seen or experienced it

* Liliana was exposed to foreign languages and foreign foods when she was very young.

off-limits – not allowed; not permitted

* We can have the party in the backyard, but my parents’ bedroom is off-limits!

to keep (someone) from (doing something) – to prevent someone from doing something; to not allow someone to do something

* The only way we can keep the bank from charging monthly fees is by maintaining a $1,000 balance in our checking account.

short of – unless; except for; without taking some extreme action

* Short of selling their home, they don’t see any other way to pay their medical bills.

to trust – to believe that someone will act appropriately or correctly and will not do anything wrong

* Do you trust your kids enough to let them stay home alone all week while you’re traveling for work?

to raise (someone) – to educate and take care of a child until he or she is an adult

* Joy raised her children by taking them to many concerts so that they would have a love of music.

to handle (oneself) – to be in control of one’s thoughts and actions; to behave as one should without assistance or guidance from other people

* William handled himself with grace and dignity throughout the scandal.

to take after – to behave or be like another person, usually a parent or an older relative

* It’s amazing how much Orlando takes after his mother.

resourcefulness – able to use what is available to find ways to solve problems or succeed in difficult situations

* Our team owes its success to Wynona’s resourcefulness. She found ways to make our project move forward without increasing the budget.

like father/mother, like son/daughter – a phrase used to show that a child is very much like a parent, either in appearance or behavior

* Nic’s father is an accountant, and he has decided to study accounting, too. Like father, like son.

to take comfort in – to feel comforted and receive reassurance by being aware of something or by having some piece of knowledge

* Although she was nervous about the surgery, she took comfort in the surgeon’s experience and reputation.

small comfort – not very comforting or reassuring; little help

* The slight rise in home prices was small comfort for people who still owe more than they paid for their home.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why doesn’t Pavel like Carla?
a) Because she’s much older than Hanna.
b) Because she spends time with people involved in bad activities.
c) Because she doesn’t run very quickly.

2. Why isn’t Hillary worried about Hanna?
a) Because she knows Hanna has a lot of money.
b) Because she knows Hanna is a lot like her father.
c) Because she knows all of Hanna’s secrets.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
natural

The word “natural,” in this podcast, means normal, expected, or common: “It’s natural to have trouble sleeping when you’re very stressed out.” The word “natural” can also refer to someone who is very talented at doing something: “From the first time Jacques went skiing, it was obvious he was a natural.” When talking about colors, “natural” can describe a color seen in nature or a skin color: “I hope the neighbors paint their house a natural color, and not bright pink or orange.” Or, “Which foundation looks more natural on my skin?” The phrase “natural childbirth” describes having a baby without taking any medicine to reduce the pain: “Melinda is too scared of the pain to even consider having a natural childbirth.”

to take after

In this podcast, the phrase “to take after (someone)” means to behave or be like another person, usually a parent or an older relative: “Harvey takes after his grandmother and is very careful with his money.” The phrase “to take (someone) out” means to go on a date with someone: “Ollie is going to take Heidi out to that new restaurant this weekend.” The phrase “to take (someone) on” means to fight or compete against someone, especially when one is unlikely to win: “Even though Bradley is short and not very muscular, he swore he’d take on anyone who said anything bad about his sister.” Finally, the phrase “to take over” means to take control of something that was previously controlled by someone else: “The company needs to hire a new director to take over the department.”

Culture Note
GPS Tracking of Children

Parents always worry about their children, “wondering” (wanting to know) where they are, whom they are with, and whether they are safe. In the past, parents had to ask their children to share that information and “rely” (depend) on their answers, but today some parents are using modern technology and specifically “GPS” (global positioning system; technology that shows exactly where an object is) to “track” (follow; monitor; observe over time) their children’s “whereabouts” (where someone is). They can use computers to know exactly where a “device” (electronic machine) is at any point in time. If that device is being carried by the child, then the parents will know where the child is, too.

Using GPS to track children and teenagers is “controversial” (a source of disagreement and strong emotions). Some parents hide GPS devices in their children’s backpack, watch, or car without telling them. This lets them know where the child is and, for example, how quickly he or she is driving. But some people argue that this is an “invasion” (violation) of the child’s right to “privacy” (the ability to have information that is not shared) and that parents should raise their children well enough so that they can be trusted.

But GPS tracking can be very helpful in cases of “abduction” (kidnapping; when a person is taken away by a criminal). Cell phones can be used as GPS tracking devices and police can use the “signals “(electronic information) sent from the phone to follow and find the kidnapped child.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - b