By Rebecca Duvall on March 26, 2014
When my kids were little their play dates included the parents and were planned by the parents. It seemed to be what everyone did. It was nice because the kids were kept busy and tired each other out while the adults had a relaxing conversation. Then as the kids got older it changed to one parent dropping a kid off at another kid’s house. The kids still kept each other busy, but the parent whose house they were at no longer had someone to sit and relax with. The parent who dropped off had time away from their child. To make things fair, you usually traded back and forth where the kids played. This was also planned by the parents.
As the kids got even older it was suddenly “mom, can Laura come over for a sleepover?” or “mom, can I go to Laura’s house for a sleepover?” There were suddenly no parents communicating. All communicating was between the kids. I found myself being told when, where and who by my child. At first it was with families I already knew, but then my children would meet new friends and I didn’t know their parents. My first reaction was to talk to a parent first. Talking to a parent meant I had their contact number and was sure they were ok with the arrangement. I didn’t want to drop my child off somewhere they weren’t expected.
I’ve been surprised over the years how many parents have brought their kids to our house without meeting or talking to us. Has this become the new norm for the older kids, Junior High to High School? The parents just drop the kids off where ever they ask to go without checking things out first? I realize they are getting older and becoming more independent, but it seems too laid back for me. However, I am guilty of not always checking in with the parents of the other child or children.
Lately my daughter always wants to hang out (mall, movies, park, etc.) with a friend at some point during the weekend. This is completely understandable. I didn’t want to stay home and hang out with my parents when I was a teenager either. Since she can’t drive yet I’m the chauffer to and from. Sometimes working this around our schedule can be difficult.
Since I’m not always able to communicate with the parents of the other child, I communicate with my daughter while she is out with her friend. We have a plan where/when we will meet and discuss what she will be doing while away. I usually text her a few times while she is away also. I’ve even asked her to send me a picture a few times. Does that make me an over protective mother who doesn’t seem to trust her daughter?!
Last week my daughter wanted to meet her friend at the movie theater. Not the one in town, the one a town over. We didn’t have any other plans and it wasn’t too late so I agreed. My daughter had been spending a lot of time with this friend and I did chat with the mom once at a school function.
While I was driving her to the movies I was told her friends brother, who is a year older, would be there too. Her friend wasn’t allowed to go out without her big brother. It was reassuring to hear her friends parents were protective of who her daughter was with. We pulled up at the theater the same time as her friend. Before I drove off I told her I would be out front when the movie got out.
I arrived back at the movie theater about 15 minutes before the movie was out. I played games on my phone while I waited. The next thing I knew, it was 15 minutes past the time she was expected to get out. I thought maybe the movie started late or the previews ran late. No big deal. I was irritated because I wanted to go home and get in my jammies. I continued to wait. I noticed a lot of people exiting the theater, as if a movie had just let out, but still no sign of my daughter. It’s now about 30 minutes past the time she should have come out. I’m now starting to worry. Then I remembered she always calls once she’s out of the theater. What if her phone died? She’s been having problems with it. She couldn’t see me where I was, so I decided to pull up in the front in the drop off zone. I thought for sure she would be standing there waiting for me. Still no sign of my daughter. I tried several times to call and text her, but no response.
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