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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ask don't tell

If you have teenagers in your midst, you will identify with this bit.

At least, I HOPE you identify.  I soothe my frazzled nerves by telling myself I'm not alone.

But

maybe I am!

ANYHOW

I've been having an issue with my soon-to-be 15 year old.  She's a good kid.

Smart, independent, strong-willed.  These are all traits that will serve her well when she leaves the nest.

But are NOT any fun to deal with when she's facing off with a parental unit (ahem, that would be me).

When we write, our mantra is (say it with me now) "SHOW don't tell"

Around this house, we have a different mantra.  It's "ASK don't tell"

That's right, my lovely, charming, five-foot something princess has a bad habit of not asking. She tells us, "I have plans Friday."

Oh?  What are you doing?  Who are you going with? Do you need a ride?  Does anyone else need a ride? 

Reasonable questions, right?  ESPECIALLY since yours truly is usually the designated driver.

She gets quite put out when we ask questions.  Sometimes I make her stay home just to illustrate that she should still be asking for permission, not announcing her plans.

But recently my child made my head spin in circles. 

Circles I tell you.

During the summer she watches her brother and sister in the mornings until my husband gets home around noon.  So, about 4 hours altogether.  Not bad considering she doesn't do a whole heck of a lot else.

So, I'm sitting at work and get a call on my cell.

From a man.

NOT my husband.

And he was HOPPING mad.

Seems he caught his SON sneaking out of my house.

Oh yes.  (or should that be oh no?)

Now, I trust my daughter, I do!  She's a smart girl and she is usually honest with me when she DOES choose to speak.  I believe her when she says nothing happened. 

But I'm frustrated that she doesn't SEE what she did was wrong.

By the way, this was her boyfriend not that long ago.  They broke up and he's seeing someone else.  I believe they are only friends right now, but why are they upset by our parental suspicions?  If they want to hang out as friends, I'm FINE with that...but why the sneaking around?

ARGH!  I'm frustrated.

The only GOOD part (I suppose) from my angst is that someday it'll make great fodder for a book.  I do have a YA in me.

Please, parents of teenagers, tell me I'm not alone here! 

19 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

Vicki, you are oh so not alone.

Kylie, my daughter, is 14.5 and entering HS this fall. She is a great kid (most of the time) but occasionally has spurts of madness that drive me crazy but I have to admit pale in comparison to the shit I was doing at her age.

She has a BF, he's a pretty good kid, but if he came into my house without permission they would never see each other again.

What does dad think about what happened in your situation? The important thing here is not what happened (kids are eventually going to experiment but that's a topic for another day) but the deceit. This would be grounds for an extended loss of all privileges in my house.

It is a fine line though because at that age you cannot be too forceful or you risk alienating them and driving all their activity underground.

I feel for you.

JustineDell said...

Matt makes an excellent point! I don't have teenager (my daughter is only 12), but I've been there myself.

I'm not gonna lie, I was a total pain in high school. I did A LOT of things wrongs. And of course, I thought I was always right. I mean, who were my parents to tell me how to run my life? Well, I know better now, but I didn't then. My parents figured out quickly that the best way to get the point across was to take away the things that mattered to me most. My friends. My phone. My freedom. Hmm...yeah, I got the point. Mom and dad are boss and they do know what's best.

~JD

Vicki Rocho said...

Our biggest issue is why they did this behind-the-scenes. HE is not allowed to be alone with friends (male or female) without a parent present. We are similarly minded, but more lenient in execution.

She claims if she had asked we would have said no. Because the one time she DID ask she wanted me to take her to the park and leave her there until 10. (that's PM folks!) I suggested then that they meet at our house or his--like they used to. But they 'couldn't' do that.

Her father backed up my fury, but I don't think he would have done anything on his own.

My biggest question mark is WHAT is their relationship? If they are just friends now, that's fine. But he has a new GF and last time I checked you didn't have to sneak around to see your friends.

Parenting is so much fun, isn't it?

Jen said...

I don't have children however I was once a teenager and I have to say I gave my mother a lot of hell, she went through a lot with me and it wasn't until I was 17. I hadn't realized how much I put her through until one day I woke up and realized I wasn't behaving and respecting the house rules. It wasn't until I moved out that I really appreciated my parents and now I know that I'll be in for hell when I have teenagers... especially since my husband and I BOTH were rascals growing up!

You are not alone... this I know. Sneaking around is not good business, but kids just don't think sometimes!

Shannon said...

Wish I could offer some insight, but I don't have children.

Me as a teenager? It was horrific for my parents. It couldn't hurt to take an early lunch here and there and pop home for a surprise visit. Even if she's not up to anything, the fact that you can just come home at whim should curb any unruly behavior.

That's all I've got. :)

Renae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renae said...

Vicky,
my wonderful angelic little boy is almost thirteen, getting ready for middle school in the fall and has developed the teenage monster syndrome. Don't get me wrong teenagers are wonderful spirited individuals. But...something happens to them during this time (at least it has to mine). He too has started telling me what he's going to do and what I am going to do for him. Really?
And you're so right this would make for a great story some day. Good Luck! At least we know that we are all without a doubt not alone on the parenting front!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I wish I could offer an insight but don't have kids, and my nieces are still in the toddler stage. When I was a teenager I wasn't perfect but I didn't give my parents too much grief (or so my mum claims).
I can only promise that she'll grow out of it. Good Luck.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vicki .. congratulations on your award from Stephen .. - at least you've seen the opportunity from these experiences I guess with a 15 year old .. I don't have kids .. but we had it with my (near) neice .. now 17 .. they grow out of it .. thank goodness.

Hope all goes well and tomorrow is chauffeur day - I see .. oh well .... enjoy the down times?! Have fun - Hilary

Kristi said...

Oh Vicki...I am certain you are not alone! Is it bad that I am highly entertained by your tale??? I hear these things and see into my future...I'm enjoying my toddler but know I have all of this to look forward to one day. :-)

Thanks for sharing and making my day!

Talli Roland said...

I don't have kids but I know what I did used to drive my parents mad... I hated to tell them anything and the more the asked, the less I would tell!

I feel for you!

Diane J. said...

No, you are not alone. My fifteen-year-old son does the exact same thing. We do the same thing in regards to saying no just to teach him a lesson (he thinks we do it just to be mean and ruin his life - it's so hard not to smile when he accuses me of that).

Wendy Ramer said...

Not there yet, Vicki. THANK GOD.

Caledonia Lass said...

Oh no, you are so not alone. It has taken a couple of years, but my 17 year old finally ASKS. I tell her I need at least one day's notice of her plans and if she TELLS me, I ignore her. Then I look at her and say, "I'm sorry, was there a question in there somewhere because I missed it." When you start asking the questions to their demand, they usually keep just telling you and not asking. You've got to ignore the Tell and force the Ask. Sometimes it works. Especially on stubborn kids... but I am pretty much a smart aleck to begin with. :D

Mary McDonald said...

Oh gosh, you are so not alone. I don't have teens at the moment, but I remember the headaches very well. (my sons are in their twenties, and my daughter is still a sweet nine year old who thinks I hung the moon.)

Carolyn V. said...

Wow. I'm interested to know why he was sneaking around. You'll have to tell us if you find out. My kids aren't quite to that point, and to be honest, I'm a little nervous.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Vicki--My daughter is 14. Thankfully, she's to busy reading and writing to worry about boys (for now). Something I've always told her is that I am her parent, not her friend. I will do what I think is best for her regardless of what she wants. I established this at about age 4 with a temper tantrum resulting in a canceled zoo trip. Over the years I've joked about having a door is a priviledge...We've spent loads of time talking about sex, drugs and peer pressure...hopefully we'll continue to have those conversations. I'd say talk to her frankly about what the relationship is with this young man...

Dawn said...

Sigh. My stepdaughter is just 13 and we are already starting this kind of behaviour. My sister, who has teenage boys, says this is normal, but I do feel like we're banging our head against the wall sometimes. I hear they get better after 17...

Sandy Shin said...

I don't think I was quite as bad 5 years ago, but I can understand that mentality. Somehow, explaining to parents takes so much effort and they never seem to understand.

Now, though, I can understand a tiny bit what my parents went through/are going through.

Good luck!