Driving home from a fantastic weekend away camping with all but 1 of our boys, one of my sons asks if he can go to his girlfriends house. A simple request right? Well, nothing is simple for me. Why God gave me 4 boys I will never understand, but thankfully I do not need to understand, I just need to recognize the gifts and do the best I can with them. So, the conversation goes on. Me: “Well, her parents are not home, I know they are on holidays, I am not really comfortable with you being there alone.”
A long discussion ensued. I am not going to lie, it got intense. I talked about how it is not always smart to put yourself in an environment where temptation is easier to give into. We talked about how as parents we understand it is fun for them to be hanging out alone but we are here to guide them into making wise decisions and so we touched on some other subjects too, sort of cause and affect situations. Sentences that started with, “you do know that if you ______, _____ could be the outcome? (you can fill in the blanks) Sitting in the front of the truck, loving my son, not wanting him to go, I realized he has not given me a reason to not trust him. He convinces me that along with a few other friends, her older brother will be there, and he is super over protective and will keep an eye on them. My son: “nothing bad will happen mom”. So this is what we decided. We allowed him to go with a clear message that we will be calling her parents when they get back from vacation to just discuss our concerns because he convinced us that her parents were totally ok with it. I want to understand where they are coming from.
Why are they ok with it?
Why on earth am I not?
Should they not be ok with it?
Should I be ok with it?
Maybe I should be ok with it?
I want you all to know, I am definitely not too old to learn!
I do not have all the answers, but I do know I was so frustrated with the whole situation.
I just thought, why? Why do we have to have these inconsistencies in parenting? Why can we not act more like a village and less like we are all in this alone.
I so struggle with feeling like a heel or an overprotective parent, or whatever guilty feelings come up. My hope is that this blog will help any of you who are struggling with similar feelings. I want you to know you are not alone. I really hope this blog will encourage and empower you to call other parents and talk things out. We have really gotten away from allowing ourselves the strength to pick up the phone and just quickly share our feelings about certain things. It is OK to tell another parent, “you know what, I am not really comfortable with that, would it be possible that we work together?"
You are not judging anyone when doing this, you are just sharing that you have not come to a place where you feel that it is ok. Parents who receive a call from a concerned parent, please open your hearts to them and honor them by working within their parameters if possible.
You may never get to a place where you agree but we should be a united front when it comes to rearing our teenagers. We must RESPECT the opinions of the other parents and learn from them. Then you can make educated decisions about how your kids will be present in their homes based on the communication you have with them and your children.
So, please, parents......reach out and share and remember, you are the primary care givers of your children and should not be afraid to do what is right for your teens. I mean seriously, in so many ways they are not even developmentally capable to act on what they know is right or wrong! They just aren't. They will tell you that you are wrong, they may tell you they hate you, they will be angry with you, but later, when the dust settles, they will tell you that they love you.
Disclaimer: this could take years ;)