You would think after having three older sisters, the babies of the family would not only know the rules really, really well, but would also realize what is likely to happen if you get caught breaking the rules.

Invariably, all teenagers push the rules.  And sometimes they even get caught.  Usually, when they least expect it.

This past weekend one of them did get caught.  Lying about where she was going and who she was with.

The worst part was that when she was not home at the anticipated time, we started to worry.  Then she didn’t answer her phone or her text messages.  Then we got really worried.  There is nothing worse than that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach when you do not know where your kids are or if they are safe.  It doesn’t matter if they are 2 or 18.

As we started texting and calling her friends, we realized that she was not where or with whom we had been told.  So, in addition to being worried, we were becoming angry, too.

But, we had a pretty good idea who she was with and where she was.  Parents aren’t as dumb as kids think they are.  We have pretty good instincts, and our spidey senses were tingling.  In the meantime, her twin was frantically texting her and her friend, too.  You gotta love sisters watching out for one another!

Well, she got home, fessed up, and I breathed a big sigh of relief.  She was safe, and that was all I really cared about.  My husband, on the other hand, invoked the consequence in this case.  I think by the time they are 18, ready to graduate, and leave home in a few months, it’s hard to really give them meaningful consequences.

His solution, and one we have used in the past, is to have the kid come up with their own consequence.  Invariably, they pick something much worse than what you would choose.  Creative, effective, and a little bit fun, too.  Like the commercial where the parents laugh wickedly because the kid thinks he will have to pay to have all four tires repaired.

It’s hard to stay mad at such a good kid.

We have been blessed with good kids who feel safe and loved enough to break a few rules from time to time.  But, I for one, will be happy to be past this stage of raising kids.

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