It’s midnight, are you sure you know where your teen is?

There was a time in high school that we didn’t have a typewriter at home.  Conveniently, my best friend did, and coincidentally, the nights I had homework often coincided with nights the Lakers were on TV.  As my parents didn’t let me watch TV on school nights, and I NEEDED to see my games, there was no other option but to stretch the truth a bit and use the typewriter on specific nights when games were on.

My scheme worked fabulously until the night we played basketball during a timeout and I slipped and hurt my wrist.  It wasn’t until I tried hurriedly to complete my typing assignment (on a manual typewriter, no less) that I realized something was really wrong.  I went for x-rays, my wrist was broken, and I was busted.  Grounded for a few weeks…

As much as we’d like our kids to always be honest, tells us everything, and always make good choices, the reality is that they are sometimes deceptive, hide things from us, and make poor choices.  Despite our best efforts, there will be times that “Mike” will tell you he’ll be at “Brad’s” house, and “Brad” will tell his mom he’ll be at “Mike’s”.  And both will probably end up at “Jack’s” house (where parents are conveniently out of town.)

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent our kids from being deceptive and making poor choices.  However, there are some steps parents can take to help prevent this.  First, know where your son or daughter is going.  This can be extremely difficult, particularly when you think they’re hanging out with their longtime best friend Sophia, but instead are hanging out with their new friend Sophia who lives 20 miles away.  Second, know if an adult is going to be there to supervise. (Unfortunately, you won’t always be able to trust your teen’s word on this.  Insist that you get confirmation from his/her parents.)  This is made easier if you take the time to get to know your kid’s friends’ parents and confirm that they have similar parenting philosophies.  Third, make sure your teenager contacts you before going someplace different, and confirm he or she will be supervised.  Without fail, teens whose parents do this hate it, but it’s my experience that these kids make many fewer impulsive choices when they know their parents are aware of where they are.

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