Once upon a time, I thought I was a pretty smart person and then a teenager emerged from her room to inform me of my mistaken thinking. What did I do to earn the title, “Dumbest Mom in America”(by the way, there is no trophy, plaque or even a “participant” ribbon for this award, you simply earn this one day and it sticks with you for years!)? I called her friend’s mom to verify that she knew my daughter was coming over to spend time with her daughter and to make sure that the mom would be there to supervise the activities. So dumb!
I got so many huffs and puffs during my request for the mom’s name and phone number that you’d assume the Big Bad Wolf had stopped by for a visit. But, knowing what kind of stunts *I* pulled in high school, I simply waited patiently for the information. How many times had I told my mom I was sleeping at Suzy’s only to be at a party until the wee hours of the morn somewhere else? My daughter doesn’t have this tidbit of mom trivia, but I do, so I make sure I check with other parents despite my daughter’s assertion that I am the ONLY mom who does!
I remember where I got the idea to check up on my daughter from. It was from a wise woman named Rosie. I learned all about calling and checking in with other parents from her. I used to work with Rosie at an office when I was in college 150 years ago, and even all these years later, I still recall how Rosie handled a particularly sticky situation with her own daughter. One day Rosie walked into work with her daughter, Haley. Haley had claimed to be at so-and-so’s house, but when Rosie checked in with the parents, Haley was nowhere to be found. The punishment was Haley had to come to the office every day after school for a month until she had earned her parent’s trust back. Talking with Haley about how she felt coming to the office for 3 hours every day left its impression on me. She said she would never lie again about her whereabouts. To her credit, she did not (or at least she never got caught!), and is a successful woman today.
With teens doing “things” earlier and earlier than when we did “things,” it is important to know where your teen is, who they are with, who the parents are and what their values are, and to call every single time to verify the information your teen provides is correct. It is a burden and it’s a pain, and there are days when I do not want to pick up the phone and call another parent because I am too tired, too introverted or too whatever, but I do it every time.
Come to find out, despite what my daughter tells me, most of the parents I have spoken to are doing the exact same thing: calling on other parents to help supervise the teens’ activities. If I am dumb, then it appears I have lots of company!