An Interesting Parenting Technique

Last week was Spring Break.  One of our high schoolers asked if she could do a college visit with two of her friends.  Well, okay, that sounded fine.  But, and here is the kicker, could they spend the night together and come back the next day?  Spend the night together in a hotel room.  The same hotel room.  Houston, we have a problem.  One of the kids was a boy and two were girls.

Yes, they are all JUST friends.

Yes, they are all good kids.

Yes, we trust them.

But, we (meaning my husband and I) did not think this was appropriate, so we said no.  It’s not about just being friends or being good kids or being trustworthy.

A rather heated discussion ensued.  We were willing to compromise.  They could go and come back in the same day.  They could go if a parent went with them.  Would we be willing to talk to the other parents (and see the error of our ways)?  Yes, of course we would.  And we did.  Call the other parents, that is.  But, we did not see the error of our ways.

One parent revealed that she didn’t think the plans had ever firmed up so she wasn’t worried about it.  I know this parent well, and this response did not surprise me in the least.  The boy’s father’s answer, however, did surprise me.  He said that he was also opposed to the overnight idea and had, in fact, suggested that they go and come back on the same day.  But, to avoid a fight with his child, he didn’t say no because . . .

he assumed that we would say no and that would take care of it.

Forgive me for being taken aback, but you weren’t willing to take a parental stand to say no because you knew, you assumed, you counted on the fact that we would say no for you!?  Seriously, we get to be the bad guys not just with our kid, but with your kid, too?

Kids count on parents NOT talking to one another.  And, in our experience, most of us parents are on the same page once we DO talk.  But, you should not rely on other parents to make your decisions easier.  That is just not fair, and it is not right either. 

For the record, the parent in this case is a high school principal, and his wife is a teacher.  So, I don’t think we are talking about people who are not savvy in the ways of kids and teenagers.  But, this IS their oldest child so I guess I can give them a little bit of the benefit of the doubt.

I did share with him that we believe you have to be flexible with kids, but there are some rules that have been firm in our home since our oldest daughter was a teenager.  We set the precedent with her.  That struck a nerve with this parent.  He stated that while he would allow his oldest some leeway, he would never even consider letting his second or third child do an overnight visit with someone of the opposite gender.  He hadn’t even considered that doing so with his oldest would set a precedent that he would be hard pressed to defend with his younger kids.

Score two parenting tips with one call.

For the record, as far as we know, none of them went to visit this college over Spring Break.

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