I try not to be a helicopter mom. I want my kids to be safe, but I also want them to experience the world and be given chances to make their own choices in it. That does not mean, however, that I will not do my hardest to protect them and ease them into those choices as they are ready.
I struggle with this. I struggle with saying “No” to my kids’ requests to go to a friend’s house (like 90% of the time). But really, just because you are a parent doesn’t make you trustworthy. By default, I will NOT trust you with my kids until you can prove otherwise.
Today while driving to work I felt justified in my feelings. I was listening to a radio station where they were taking “Mother’s Day” calls about something “your mom let you do that she probably shouldn’t have”. I listened to story after story of things like:
· My mom took me and 3 friends down to Mexico for my 16th birthday to get drunk. (when the radio host asked how the other parent’s friends felt she said that the mom never told them they were even going to Mexico).
· My mom bought my whole swim team wine coolers for our post-game win celebration in high school.
· My mom dropped us off at a concert in LA with some friends after the friend’s parents said she wasn’t allowed to go.
This stuff happens. I experienced it growing up (being from a strict home). My parents had rules to protect me. Like, you know, not drinking until it was legal. So, when I went to a friend’s house and their mom offered us beer I would decline and call my parents to come get me.
And as a parent, I will not be sending my kids to your house unless I trust you. They are still too young to trust to make those choices. ANOTHER example? A few years ago we were at a friend’s house. My kids were with us. We were talking with our friend in one room and my kids were in another room with the friend’s mom (this is a woman with an ADULT son by the way). My daughter comes to us crying and we find out that this friend’s mom thought it would be funny to stick a cigar in my daughter’s mouth and have her try it. EXCUSE ME?! So, until they are old enough and wise enough to deem a situation safe for themselves, until they are old enough and wise enough to be able to stand up to their friends and/or adults, my kids will not go with you unless I trust you. Parent or not.
ALSO! If you are one of the parents that are ok with this type of thing I have a hard time sympathizing with you later in life when your child is stuck in that loop. Another example? Somebody I know would buy their daughter alcohol long before it was legal. She was able to drink it at home or on vacation (‘special occasions’). This daughter is now older and an alcoholic. An angry alcoholic that has done a lot of damage to her family. Are the parents the cause? Of course not. That is a choice she had to make. But did they help her get there, heck yes they did.
EVEN on the school bus with Elijah on a 2nd grade field trip there were issues! The bus driver had on the radio half the kids were singing along with this song about what this guy wanted to do to “her body”. It had what the media calls “OK” swear words in it and although I’m sure most of those kids didn’t realize they were singing about several sexual acts, it is still ingrained in their head.
So, I’ll be that uptight mom that doesn’t let my kids do drugs or drink (once it’s legal for them it’s their choice). I’ll be the one telling my kids not to swear or use vulgar language. I’ll be the one telling my kids any lie – is still a lie (they are ALL wrong) OR EVERY law is to be followed (if they don’t like it find legal ways to change it – breaking it is not ok). I’ll be the one ensuring the music they listen to and the movies they watch are not full of things inappropriate for their age (not matter how catchy the toon or that ‘everyone’ is watching it). AND I will not trust you with my kids unless you can show me that, even if you don’t agree, you will support me on those choices when it comes to my kids.
None of us get this parenting thing 100% correct. I am not saying your way is better/worse than mine. I am saying, that we can respect each other’s parenting decisions and if we can’t…our kids probably shouldn’t be hanging out anyway.