I cannot believe what my kids did... - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 72 Old 08-06-2008, 07:23 PM
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side note:

My brother and I had permission to go out at jr high level so long as my mom had the opportunity to say 'no'.

We never abused the privilage and we were only allowed to do it if it was a planned event like 'night capture the flag'

We never checked if other kids had permission but the age range was 13-20 who would go out and play.

If we ever snuck out what you did to your kids is about what my parents did to us, so we never(rarely) risked it but my mom would rather KNOW where we were than to not know, and she wanted us to trust her and let us know we could always tell her.

Food for thought.

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#62 of 72 Old 08-07-2008, 03:27 AM
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I'd forgotten all about this, but the memory came flooding back. When I stayed at my friend's we used to go for midnight hikes. It was really fun, and it never occurred to me that it was either dangerous or really forbidden. We just did it.

We were 'good' kids. It was no more than adventure and fun. I don't know what would have happened if we'd been 'caught', but I'd have been stunned to have been really punished. (I can't recall ever being 'grounded' - I don't think the concept even entered my parents' heads.)

I didn't know that people ever did stuff like make their kids clean toilets with toothbrushes until I saw that on a programme on TV about a family disciplining sextuplets. The thought makes me queasy. Maybe it's cultural and not as shocking to Americans, but I'd never, ever do that to my kids. I'm not trying to be mean, but just wondering how the kids felt being made to do this. I imagine that as a teenager I'd have just seethed with resentment, not seen the light about how foolish I'd maybe been.

I'm not saying that these japes are a good idea, but personally, I"d not go overboard on punishing. I'm not big on punishment anyway and don't think it works. If I were made to clean toilets with a toothbrush then had all my 'priviliges' taken away, I might not have gone on another midnight walk, but I'd sure as heck have felt angry. I wasn't a 'bad' kid, just maybe made a childish decision - because I was actually a child at the time. Isn't our job to gently guide our children and their job to make childish mistakes?

If I imagine my parents finding out about my midnight walks, the best thing to have made me stop and think about the dangers would have been to sit me down and seriously discuss what may happen if I was out late at night without anyone knowing where I was. Punishment would have just been counterproductive, certainly for me personally. Even if it stopped me doing the midnight adventures, it would have had the sad impact of making me angry and rebellious against my parents and would not have helped me feel trusted and understood.

My kids aren't old enough for this sort of jape yet, but when it comes to it, I plan to problem solve with them. If it's adventure and late nights they want, I'd help them find a way to do it safely. Of course, how you do this will depend upon where you live, but I don't think when I went out at night I was in any real serious danger.

I'm sure your kids are great kids and that your style of discipline is different to mine. I'm not being snarky, just sharing a different perspective on what might have the desired effect upon children who do things like go out on late night adventures.
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#63 of 72 Old 08-07-2008, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
Yeah, I'm worried that they'll decide the punishment was worth it, too. Hopefully, if they pull enough weeds and scrub enough floors on hands and knees, they'll turn their thinking around. I hope, because holy cow, this could've been bad bad bad!
So what is the punishment worth if they think (after the punishment) that sneaking out was woth it and they want to do it again?

Did the oldest (or all of them) know that there are creepy people around late at night that have no problems taking and-or abusing kids? Or, that they are not allowed out of the house after bedtime? Like you guys had some type of "stay in the house after dark" understanding with them? If not I think the grounding that they are under is really severe.

Don't get me wrong, I totally agree that sneaking out at night is a recipie for trouble. Our children will not be allowed to traips around in the park at night, I and dh would be very scared. But I would rather sit them down and explain to her exactly why I was so scared (ie, bad people abusing them, us not knowing where they are and not being able to help ...) after the first time of us finding out. I figure if they are old enough to sneak out of the house, they]re old enough to get a lesson in some ugly things that happen late in the night. THEN if they chose to do it again dh and I would be very sharp in our punishment.

I started a conversation with dh about this scenario after reading your post and we agree that we would talk very openly with our kids about such bad decisions, using the opportunity to teach them why is was a bad decision. Of course they are just thinking fun and nothing about danger, that's why they chose to do it. I would assume their consciences told them to some degree that they were doing something that wasn't right, but because of there innocence they chose not to listen to it (?).

Thanks for sharing this cause it gets all of us with younger kids thinking!!

Oh, and I agree with other posters that maybe some late night outings are in order!

I've got three monkeys jumping on the bed!!

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#64 of 72 Old 08-07-2008, 10:46 AM
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I snuck out almost nightly from the age of 14-15. Usually during the week I was meeting my boyfriend and yes we were having sex. On weekends it was usually with friends and we were doing acid , drinking and or smoking pot.
Nothing bad happened but it certaintly could have. I shudder thinking about what could have happened. My parents would have flipped had they found out but they weren't involved in my life and frankly didn 't care as long as I didn't cause trouble or bother them.
I guess I would be a little bit relieved they were all together. I used to walk alone to my boyfriend's house and it wasn't all that close to mine. I had a near bad situation happen but luckly there were work men out already and creep sped off.

I will not be okay with my kids sneaking out. It's dangerous and I will be open with my kids about that. If they are caught sneaking out I will punish them, it's just too risky in my opinion to let it slide.
I am willing to plan somekind of middle of the night adventure for them though.

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#65 of 72 Old 08-08-2008, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
I don't understand what the toothbrush reference means. You made them brush their teeth at 5am? I don't get it. 'splain.
I think she means she made them clean the bathroom with the old toothbrushes, a-la bootcamp! LOL!

Uptownzoo, kudos to you and the rest of the adults for handling this in such a rational manner! I think you handled it just perfectly. I'm sure they'll definitely think twice before even attempting to attempt to try something like that again! How scary!

Then again, I remember doing similar things when I was in my early high school years. Not as young as 11, though!
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#66 of 72 Old 08-08-2008, 05:35 PM
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my friends joke that i was grounded from 7th grade until i graduated from high school. they were pretty much right, though. no tv, no phone, no friends, blah, blah, blah. and it was usually for "not good enough" grades, not for being a delinquent badass (because i wasn't even close). all it did was make me constantly loathe my parents and look for more ways to escape. (fyi, all i did then was hang out and occasionally smoke tobacco- no drugs, booze, thievery, vandalism, or sex.)

and, yeah, now that i think about it, the toothbrush thing is pretty extreme. OP, you seem to recognize it was kind of a silly thing you did in the heat of the moment, but do your kids understand that or are they silently resenting you right now and planning their next caper?

fwiw, not every town has a curfew. if ours did, i'm one of those people who'd rally against it if my kid was old enough to be affected. i don't believe in the state making parenting rules. i also think it's horribly demeaning for a 17yo to be subject to arrest for being out past 10pm, in addition to all the other second-class citizen type of crap teens have to deal with.

just my 2 cents...

trying to mother my 11yo sweet skaterboy, 4yo stepgirl of the universe, this apocalypse babe-on-the-way, and my 36yo innerkid ...while figuring how to market myself, stay married, and murder my ego
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#67 of 72 Old 08-08-2008, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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The controversy here at MDC has now officially outlasted the kids' punishment.

I'm going to answer a few things, but first I want to say this: I love and adore my children beyond measure. If I overreacted at all, it's because I was so terrified right after they came home. For 3 nights after this happened, I barely slept thinking about all that could have happened to them. Rational? Not entirely, though part of the fear is the same instinct that made me run to pick them up when they were babies.

We had several conversations with our kids, both as a group and one-on-one, about why they did this, and what the consequences could have been. My kids absolutely knew that this was not an OK thing to do. They were under no illusions that this was something that we would have given them permission to do.

As for late-night parties, my house has frequently been the place for those. They don't lack for opportunities to hang out all night. Most of our kids' parents love DP and I because we're willing to do that, and it's true that I get almost no sleep on those nights. So as far as this being a way for them to meet needs that they couldn't meet some other way... I don't buy it. They got a thrill out of getting away with something a little bit scary.

My kids are wonderful people, but NEVER underestimate the power of an adolescent hormone soup feast to turn them inside out and upside down! Sometimes they're almost unrecognizable as the people I've lived with all these years.


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#68 of 72 Old 08-08-2008, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
My kids are wonderful people, but NEVER underestimate the power of an adolescent hormone soup feast to turn them inside out and upside down! Sometimes they're almost unrecognizable as the people I've lived with all these years.
My son is 16 and while he has never snuck out, I do agree that the hormones can turn them upside down. I was just talking with dh today about ds and how for the first time ever, I find myself getting annoyed with the teen attitudes and overall ds doesn't give us too much grief. Yet its still the way they just switch on and off.

I read the thread and honestly, I can't say what I would do in that situation, I suspect knowing my temper and my ex-dh (ds's son) it probably would not have been anything as organized as what you did.


Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#69 of 72 Old 08-09-2008, 01:40 PM
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Edit - Oops missed a couple pages!
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#70 of 72 Old 08-09-2008, 03:16 PM
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This scares me kind of. My oldest DD is turning 13 soon and she has a BF already and such. Not that I'd expect her to do this, but you never know.. The worst she's done is have a sleepover and when DH and I were sleeping, went outside and were running around the yard, putting mentos candy in soda to make it explode, role soda cans down the street, and shaving cream... they could have gone somewhere else.. scares me... though it was funny to look at the mess outside the next morning :::::
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#71 of 72 Old 09-02-2008, 10:30 PM
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I have not read all the replies, but I just wanted to say that I think you and all the dh's and ex's handled it really really well...now, just FOLLOW THRU on the punishments and making them earn back their stuff/privilages!!

Also, I was that teen too.
I snuck out to go drinking with some boys several times.
I also snuck my boyfriend IN to my room for some hanky panky time.
So yah, the alarms on windows is a GOOD idea.
I've since confessed to my parents, and they were/are shocked.
And now, I am MARRIED to that boyfriend who I used to sneak in. 12 years now.

Anyhoo, bravo to you for actually PARENTING your teens!!!!!
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#72 of 72 Old 09-04-2008, 04:11 PM
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Hate to say it ladies, but I disagree with most of you. I hope you welcome a fresh perspective. My experience is based on my own, since I am only barely 20. I was a "perfect" kid in my parents eyes but still probably would have leapt at the chance to peruse the streats at night atleast once. I actually was a pretty straight edge kid. Infact my 2 younger siblings and I went with some kids around 11:00 or 12:00 one night. We basically walked down the streat, got all freaked out, headed for the local gas station (which was closed) to look for ice cream, and then walked back. Yea, a bad guy could have jumped out of no where and kidnapped or murdered us . . . but we were a pretty good sized group of 6 or so . . . ANYWAYS ! My parents never found out, and we never did it again. We did lots of crazy things like co-ed dressing in afterschool theater and choir/band performances. This gave us teens a HUGE thrill. I know if my parents had found out, they would have grounded us for ever, taken away privilages, and yelled at us for a VERY long time (they liked to scream) and I basically would have hated them for it, and wouldnt have even felt guilty because I would be upset that they overreacted about a silly little thing (yes, silly little thing) when I was so clean cut everywhere else! I probably, quite honestly, would have done it again SIMPLY because they freaked at us. Or I would have found something else to do secretly without them knowing to make up for how controlled I was at that point.
I honestly think the best thing to do is to talk about it! Not in a "I"m so mad at you, dont you know how dangerous this is, never do it again or i'll loose all my sleep and explode like a volcano!!!!!!!!!!" I mean just talk about the experience! Probably alot of exciting things happened that night that they would LOVE to tell you about if you only would listen without interupting with warnings of danger and your anger and disaproval. After they've thouroughly told you all about their thrilling adventure, what their friend said and did that was admirable, the scary shadow by the tree, the streat lights that kept flickering, the angry dog that growled by the fence. Then is a good time to tell them that it sounds like a fun and crazy time, but there is a reason why the streets are empty and adults stay indoors at night! Have a conversation about why you dont feel uncomfortable with this particular type of adventure, and that you will have to disaprove of all future nightime adventures without a parent (term parent is key, because many of the kids were 17 probably 18 and are VERY proud of already being adults, or being nearly there). And probably add (without venting on your kids DANGER ZONE) that you were really scared when you realized that all this time you thought they were safe in their beds, and were scared because you were worried they would make dangerous choices while out, or someone would try and take advantage of them.
The fact is, moms, kids do a pretty okay job of monitering their own saftey. They arent perfect at it, but part of the way they learn is by guidance (not force) and by giving them enough space to explore their maturity. It is easy to be scared for our babys, and want to grizzly bear protect them!! Which in childhood is neccesary, and in teenagehood sort of overbearing!
In my opinion your discipline was EXTREMELY harsh. How did your kids respond to it? (i know this sort of happened a while ago)
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