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Polis Report

Who Knew?

By Traci Hukill

Who's Who students--the alleged crème de la crème among high school students nationwide--really aren't the biggest dorks on the planet. Their parents are.

According to the Who's Who Special Report "What Parents of Top Teens Don't Know About Their Kids," parents of high-achieving kids consider their offspring substantially more honest, sober and virginal than the group profile revealed in a comparative survey of their kids (the 27th Annual Survey of High Achievers). Is this some kind of gross generational amnesia or just plain idiocy?

The average parent interviewed is a married, white, middle-class mama in her 40s who's been to college and lives in the Midwest. And, boy, are things swell! She and 84 percent of her friends believe they know their children "very well"--but of the 76 percent of Who's Who teens who've cheated at school, only a third of their parents (37 percent) are onto them, and although three-quarters of the parents surveyed acknowledge that booze is easy to procure, a paltry 11 percent remember that the best place to get loaded is at a friend's house when the parents are away. More than half of their children, by contrast, know this formula and use it.

Parents are similarly clueless when it comes to their kids and sex: Only 9 percent of parents think junior is sexually active, whereas one out of five kids surveyed own up to doing the deed. And while only 16 percent of moms and dads believe their kids copulate upstairs while they're home, a nervy 56 percent of sexually active teens surveyed 'fessed up to getting it on while the folks watch Wheel of Fortune.

Probably the saddest part, though, is that while only 5 percent of the grown-ups cite money as the thing Who's Who students want most from them, 25 percent of the kids claim that moolah is the major reason for keeping parents around.

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From the April 24-30, 1997 issue of Metro

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