My fifteen year old was invited to a party on Saturday night to celebrate the end of the school year. It was hosted by a classmate and his mom with chaperones. There was a flyer with mom’s contact information, and the location. It was at a well-known place downtown from 6-10pm, and alcohol free. We live in a small town, so downtown is like a couple of blocks. She wanted to go to the party with two friends from school. This was the first time she would be riding to a party with a friend who drives. I felt a little PANIC on the inside.
I’m always a little overprotective but I responded with the diplomatic parental response, “let me think about it.” She’s never given me a reason not to trust her, but it’s not her that I’m worried about, it’s all of those other people out there. She did get straight A’s this term while balancing sports and other activities. Fortunately, she is very responsible and makes good choices when it comes to friends as well. I thought, why not let her go enjoy herself.
I’m trying to loosen up a little bit. I don’t want her to be one of those teens who goes buck wild in college because her parents wouldn’t let her do anything. We all know a few teens who fit that description
Her Dad was out-of-town on business, I suggested she call and ask him also (stall tactic). We talked to him on speaker phone for a while and he gave his approval. Mid-way through the conversation we both went into parental overdrive. It all started when he said, “by the way, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about peer pressure.” We’ve talked with her about many teen related developmental issues before but we had to refresh her memory.
We discussed the topics listed below in the course of a 10 minute conversation:
- Friends contact phone numbers
- Book sense vs. Common Sense (Street smart)
- Do not accept any open container drinks
- No alcohol
- No texting and driving (for your friend)
- Peer Pressure (friends may act one way in school and another outside of school).
- Stay with the group (do not go off alone with anyone).
- Call me if you need a ride or my help no matter the time or circumstances.
She is such a mild-mannered young lady, she took it all in stride and politely indulged us by nodding and agreeing. She really didn’t have a choice if she wanted to go the party. We had to get it all out.
It never occurred to me that she would become good friends with girls who drive and are older than she is. We tend to put an age limit on experiences. You can get a cell phone at this age, you can date at this age, and you can hang out with friends who drive at this age. Parents never know when we’ll be faced with tough decisions. Sometimes things don’t happen in the exact order we think they should.
As parents we do our best to guide and develop our children. At some point, they will face experiences and situations that will call their values into question. My prayer is that she is true to herself, remembers her core values and stands firm no matter what is going on around her.
After returning home from the party, I asked if she enjoyed herself. Her response was, “the music was good but it was BORING”. “No one was dancing.” This is a typical teen response these days, everything is boring. They are looking to be entertained instead of creating their own fun like we did when we were kids. That’s a blog post for another day.
She made it home safe and sound.
Peace and Blessings,