16 y.o. daughter, need perspective, time to loosen the reigns a bit? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-12-2011, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Daughter is 16, thinks we're too strict with her time.  She likes to hang with band friends after school.  Sometimes they walk to the 7-11 or the hamburger place. Band has practice twice a week at 5pm.  So to her it makes sense to just stay at school rather than come home for 2 hours and go back.  I'm a little uncomfortable with this, but it sure is convenient for me.  It also means I don't see her for a little more than 12 hours on band days. 

 

She has to call and ask me, each time she stays after school.  She has been doing so, but she says NONE of her friends have to do this, they ALL have complete freedom and don't have to call their parents to ask permission to go to the 7-11 or even to just stay after school.  Dh and I think this is really unlikely.  But maybe we're wrong?

 

Dh and I are both really uneasy about her just being out at loose ends, no agenda.  We're both concerned that this is an invitation for trouble.  Dh grumbles that it's because he remembers what he was like at that age.  I'm concerned that she'll get in a car crowded with teens and die in a car crash.

 

She'll be 17 at the end of January.  She isn't particularly a risk taker. Her grades are good, actually better than they've been in years. She's been an easy kid so far. By the way, school is walking distance.

 

She also insists that no one has to even inform their parents where they are.  Again, I think this is really unlikely.  Regardless, I'd be willing to change the policy so that she doesn't have to ask, she just needs to let me know where she's going to be. 

 

So my question is, does your 15, 16, 17 y.o. need to ask you for permission to stay after school and hang with friends? 

 

Do you know where your teen is most of the time? 

 

 


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Old 10-12-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by journeymom View Post


So my question is, does your 15, 16, 17 y.o. need to ask you for permission to stay after school and hang with friends? 

 

Do you know where your teen is most of the time? 

 

 


My kids are 13 and 15. I do know where they are most of the time. We live walking distance to the school, and also walking distance to an ice cream parlor. They are allowed to walk to the ice cream parlor with friends after school any time they want -- they just need to let me know where they are. So, a text to saying saying they are going there would be fine. They don't really need to "ask permission" but they do need to keep me in the loop.

 

But I do the same -- when I'm leaving the house, if someone is going to get home while I'm gone, I leave a note on the counter saying where I went and when I expect to be back. I think it's just polite to do that for the people who live with.

 

My kids haven't given me a reason to not trust them, and I like their friends. thumb.gif

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 10-12-2011, 02:34 PM
 
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LOL - I just put the phone down. It was DD, 15 y.o., calling to let me know that she was at her BFF's house and asking when I'd like her home. She told me this morning that she planned on going there, so she wasn't really asking permission - more like confirming. 

 

For context, she takes public transit to and from school. After school, she'll often head downtown with her friends and they'll check out the vintage clothing stores and music stores. She usually calls and updates, as a courtesy to give me an idea when she'll be home, so I can plan dinner or she might score a ride from the subway station if DH is home with the car, but no, I don't know her exact whereabouts. 

 

I think being kept informed is mostly a matter of courtesy, not strictness. I've tried to encourage that attitude, particularly as they grew older. It's funny, though, DS, 18 y.o., sometimes still phrases updates about his plans in the form of a "Can I..." or "Is it all right if I...." permission-seeking question. For at least a year, I've been responding in terms of "Thanks for letting me know", because I want him to understand that while I appreciate being informed, I don't expect or want to micromanage his schedule or consider myself in a position to tell him what he can and cannot do with his time. He's an adult now and responsible for his activities. 

 

I know that there are parents who are much more protective and controlling of their teens though. Last month, her class spent a week at a small downtown theatre attending drama workshops and developing an original production (she's a drama major at a performing arts high school). It's not a horribly dodgy area but it isn't a nice, quiet suburban spot either. She told me that at least a couple of her classmates were individually escorted by their parents on the subway and directly into the theatre (so it wasn't just a matter of riding with the kid as they went on their own way to work). DD has a friend who isn't allowed to take public transit alone - she either has to travel with friends or her parents drive her everywhere. That kind of protection seems excessive to me for 15 and 16 y.o's. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 10-12-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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I don't think it's unreasonable for you to expect a text or a call to let you know she won't be home. That's just common courtesy in a family. I also don't think it's unreasonable for a 16-year-old to hang out with friends after school and prior to band practice. Kids do need time with no agenda and 2 hours between activities with kids you know... that's a real easy, low-risk freedom to give her.

 

If she's been a trustworthy child and there is no real reason for her to be home those 2 hours, I'd let whether she comes home or stays with friends up to her. If she doesn't tell you she's staying prior to leaving in the morning, I would continue to expect her to text you to let you know she's not coming home. DD's only 14 and so still has to "ask" because she relies on me for transportation (her school is 20 minutes away and she has a little brother with activities too) but I don't have issue with her hanging out with friends after school. It's pretty common for teens to touch base with their parents if they won't be where expected or if something might keep them from being home at the pre-determined time. Most of the parents we encounter would be open to the activity you described.

 

 


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Old 10-12-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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My teens are 13, 15 and 17 (18 in Jan).  I like to know where they are (approximately) all the time.  If they change places, I like to know.  A simple text is all I ask.  If it's new or somewhere they have never asked to go, sometimes I like a picture.  It's just me.  They are really good about it.  My 17 yo will often ask me if she can go somewhere with friends if it's short notice, because I might be counting on her to do something, otherwise she lets me know plans.  My 15 year old rides his bike all over town.  We live in a college town of 126,000 and I think he and his friends have biked every inch of it.  They even went to the movies 5 miles away and came home at midnight ,over the summer.  My 13 yo doesn't venture too far afield yet.  He does bike to school 1.5 miles away.

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Old 10-12-2011, 03:35 PM
 
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I have two teens. Like the PPs, I like to be kept in the loop, but there is no need to ask permission. I don't see teens hanging out as an invitation to trouble. Then again, we live in the city, and none of my DDs' friends have cars.

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Old 10-12-2011, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Alright, I'm feeling better.  I told dd today that I don't mind if she stays after school, I'm not going to require her to ask, she just needs to let me know.  And she needs to let me know if she goes somewhere else.

 

 


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Old 10-13-2011, 05:31 AM
 
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Same here. My youngest is 17. She's pretty free to spend time w/her friends - I just like to know roughly where they are. Difference is - they all drive. There are some friends that she will NOT get into a car with because she feels they're not safe drivers. She actually prefers to drive so as not to deal with all that drama. Whether she's driving or not, she knows I worry and shoots me a text when they're leaving as well as when they get where they're going.

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Old 10-13-2011, 07:22 AM
 
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I just want to add some (((hugs))) because I will be there soon and I have the same feelings you do.  I know I can't decide now (ds is 12) about what life will be like at 16 but I know how most kids seemed to be at that age and it wasn't always the best choices. (and I was a good kid)


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Old 10-13-2011, 03:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

 

So my question is, does your 15, 16, 17 y.o. need to ask you for permission to stay after school and hang with friends? 

 

Do you know where your teen is most of the time? 

 

 



We gave ds1 a cellphone for his 15th (maybe it was his 14th?) birthday. From that point on, he was required to have his phone turned on, and to answer it, when he was out with his friends. But, he wasn't required to call home to check in or ask permission. Generally, he was allowed to go hang out with his friends, unless we told him otherwise ahead of time. That was usually if we had plans in the early evening, or if I wanted him to watch his younger siblings for a while or something like that.

 

Before he was accessible by cellphone, he was required to call in, if he was doing something out of the ordinary. But, if he had a standing "date" to hang out after school or something, he didn't need to let us know. Last year (when he was 17), when he had rehearsals for the school play, he usually just stayed after school and did homework until rehearsal, or he'd go to a friend's house and hang out there, as a couple of his friends lived closer to the school than we do (all within walking distance, but his high school was straight uphill from us). I didn't worry about him getting into trouble, because I don't think there's anything wrong with hanging out with friends a bit. I was a punk...but it wasn't because I was hanging out with my friends. It was because I was bored, depressed, and not coping very well with the depression, PMS, being a social misfit, etc. None of that applied to ds1, so I didn't (and don't) worry about him.


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Old 10-13-2011, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I'm having anxious feelings (go figure!) about dd growing up. Lol!  She's much more gregarious than I was.  She was 15 when she had a first boyfriend, I was 17.  I've told her this before, but this morning I mentioned it to her again, she'll need to forgive me because she's my first, I've never done this before and I feel like it's a balancing act. She said affectionately, 'yeah, I know mom, I'm your guinea pig."  eyesroll.gif  Poor girl. 

 

 


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Old 10-13-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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I think I'm having anxious feelings (go figure!) about dd growing up. Lol!  She's much more gregarious than I was.  She was 15 when she had a first boyfriend, I was 17.  I've told her this before, but this morning I mentioned it to her again, she'll need to forgive me because she's my first, I've never done this before and I feel like it's a balancing act. She said affectionately, 'yeah, I know mom, I'm your guinea pig."  eyesroll.gif  Poor girl. 

 

 


I think it's great that you fessed up to her about your own insecurities in the matter. You aren't alone and it really can be a jarring transition. We have always been the house where all the kids hang out. The sleep-overs are always down the hall from us. We were the ones that had the parties and usually drove and chaperoned events they wanted to go to. Then high school starts with kids I don't know, going to the mall or movies with a group of friends and no adult, sleep-overs at other people's homes, no boyfriends but male friends who are clearly interested, new events and activities, ect. I told her then that this was going to be a trial and error sort of transition... she'd probably want freedoms that weren't yet appropriate (and she has) and my instinct to protect her would have me say "no" when I should probably be saying "yes" (and I've certainly done that.) We sort of laugh about it now. Giving her some relatively "safe" freedoms now makes my "no's" mean more. It's proof I'm not totally irrational lol. She's made some poor choices in low consequence situations but she learned some lessons. Sigh, it isn't easy for sure!

 


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Old 10-13-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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Yeah so long as you have a way to reach her, I'd let it go. She could be living on her own within 2 years. She needs to ease into that freedom, not get it all suddenly at 18.

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Old 10-13-2011, 05:45 PM
 
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I think I'm having anxious feelings (go figure!) about dd growing up. Lol!  She's much more gregarious than I was.  She was 15 when she had a first boyfriend, I was 17.  I've told her this before, but this morning I mentioned it to her again, she'll need to forgive me because she's my first, I've never done this before and I feel like it's a balancing act. She said affectionately, 'yeah, I know mom, I'm your guinea pig."  eyesroll.gif  Poor girl. 

 

 



My dd (17) calls herself the same thing!

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Old 10-14-2011, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View PostWe sort of laugh about it now. Giving her some relatively "safe" freedoms now makes my "no's" mean more. It's proof I'm not totally irrational lol. She's made some poor choices in low consequence situations but she learned some lessons. Sigh, it isn't easy for sure!

 



How old is your daughter?  This is true, for sure. 



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Yeah so long as you have a way to reach her, I'd let it go. She could be living on her own within 2 years. She needs to ease into that freedom, not get it all suddenly at 18.


Such a good point.  Thanks for the reminder. I wasn't very prepared for adult life when I turned 18, and usually I keep that in mind when I contemplate what I hope for her.  You know, when I'm not in the moment having to quickly decide if I'm being a good mom if I let her do this or not -I'm much more rational and even permissive.

 


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Old 10-14-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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How old is your daughter?  This is true, for sure. 

 



She's 14 and a sophomore so we're still in the thick of it. Last year was a really rough transition for us and we both learned a lot. She is used to multi-age environments and has always connected better with older kids. This was easy when she was 8 and buddies with 10-year-olds but now she's 14 and they are 16/17 year old. She still doesn't get the same freedoms as they have but I did have to learn to give her the freedoms that were at least appropriate for a high school freshman. I expect we'll be going through it again when all the driving and such starts but we've both been able to own our mistakes from last year so hopefully, we'll communicate better in the next few years.

 

I learned a lot from college too. Some kids came in having no experience managing themselves and just went wild. They didn't make all those stupid mistakes in high school so they were making them in college a thousand miles from home. I was glad to have already messed up so much lol.

 


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