My son has a new girlfriend, and like other young people in love, they want to spend time together and I'm all for it.
So, the other day when they wanted to meet up with her after school at her house I asked him some questions.
After confirming it was okay with her mom he went over there to hang out after school and could stay for dinner, I told him I was fine with it too. But under one condition.
"I need to text or call her mom to make sure it's really okay and that a trusted adult will be there the whole time," I told him. Then I followed it up about how I was 15 once, and it's not a good idea for them to be alone for a long period of time.
He hung his head and was visibly irritated with me telling me she already said it would be fine but also, "No other parents do this, Mom. You are the only one who has to check up your kids and everything they do."
I explained if she already said yes she'd be home and it wasn't a problem, this exchange between us would be super easy—I'd ask, she'd say yes, and we could get on with our day. I wouldn't worry my son was going to show up unannounced at someone's house and would have peace of mind knowing everyone was on the same page.
Then I asked him for her number (which he gave me reluctantly), and contacted her. My son was right, she was expecting him and said she'd be home and he could certainly come over.
Then she told me something,"Thank you for checking with me. You are one of the very few who check up and ask if their child can come over and make sure I'm going to be here."
My son was right, no one does this anymore. I had parents come out and ask my son, "Why does your mom always text me when you come over?"
While this could leave me feeling like a helicopter parent who doesn't trust my kids because apparently this isn't how it works anymore, it doesn't.
I double-check with parents because I want the same in return. I don't want teenagers showing up at my house if I'm not expecting them or I'm not home. All it takes is a quick ask and I almost always say yes, and if I have to step out for a bit, I just let the parent know quickly.
I don't want my 15-year-old son walking into a house alone with his friends only to have someone get really upset I allowed him to go over there without an adult knowing, not to mention the temptations that arise when kids are alone after school.
And call me over protective, but 15-year-olds don't need to be left alone for five hours with the house to themselves. When they are together tempting each other, the chances they will do something the shouldn’t such as experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and sex are greater.
So, I don't care if I'm the only parent that does this and people think I'm overbearing or doing something that isn't necessary. I'm not comfortable having friends come and go and treating someone else's house like a free for all. I think we should stick together and know our kids' plans during this crucial age. In time, they can earn more freedom, but hours alone while they are sophomores in high school? I don't think so.
I'm not a lawnmower parent. It's my duty to stay on top of things during this rebellious, hormonal time in my child's life. If he forgets his lunch or gym clothes for school, that's on him.
But if he goes to his girlfriend’s house after school and her parents don't know he's there and there isn't an adult present, part of that is on me.
And if I can keep him in the right direction with my annoying checking in with other parents, so be it. That’s exactly what I will do.