Jack’s parents are out of town!-River City Counseling

There was a time in high school that we didn’t have a typewriter (yes, I’m that old!) at home.  Conveniently, one of my best friends 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 very 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 decisions.  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 (whose 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 minimize the problems.  First, know where your son or daughter is going and as much as possible about their plans for the evening.  Ask as many specific questions as you can, in hopes of knowing things like she’s planning to spend time with her new friend Sophie, as opposed to her best friend Sophie from second grade.

Second, check if an adult will 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 texts or calls  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.  A teacher friend shared a story that highlights this point well.  A student of hers forgot to tell his mother that he was leaving where he was and going to a movie.  She learned of it, went to the theater, bought a ticket, and sat behind him.  She quietly asked him if he’d forgotten something.  He was understandably mortified and pleaded with his mother to leave ASAP.  She did and I don’t think her son forgot to update her from then on.

I realize that what I’m suggesting comes with a ton of work, and sometimes you’ll feel like you’re chasing your tail trying to keep up.  Yet, it’s my experience that teens whose parents do their best to supervise what they’re doing are less likely to make impulsive, poor decisions.



One Response to Jack’s parents are out of town!-River City Counseling
  1. elizabeth
    April 30, 2013 | 3:19 pm

    Really important article…….Also some parents think when your child gets to driving age if you buy or lend them your car with their promise not to drink and drive that provides for their safety.

    That sounds a little harsh for parents not to let their child watch a special sports event. I think if the child finishes his homework early it could be an occasional treat.

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