In addition, it seems his friends can’t understand why his father and I have taken this stance. Apparently, this group of teenagers has had some pretty serious discussions about this and has decided we are being “unreasonable”.
Son, something you used to understand, but no longer will since becoming a “teenager” is this: Every decision your father and I make for you is because we love you, we want you to be safe and we want to make sure you can make it to the end of your life without the worry of you ending up in jail or prison.
I know I’ve said to you, ad nauseum, that if you are unhappy with the decisions I have made with regard to how you live your life, it just means I’m doing it right and this pleases me. You’ve called me “bitch” to my face one time and it was in jest. I know you’ve probably done it a hundred times behind my back. That’s okay… I’m not in this for the popularity that goes with being a parent. I’m also not in this to be your friend. You have enough friends. You need a parent. I’m in this for the love I feel for you every time I see your face. I’m in this because you bring so much good to our lives I can’t begin to tell you or anyone else. It just is… You were much planned and wanted and your father and I thank God every day that you are in our lives.
Now, on the off chance your friends are surfing Craig’s List in search of postings to hack on, I’m putting this all here so they, too, can understand why real parents make the decisions they make with regard to their kids. I say real parents because there are an awful lot of kids (I use this term not in the chronological but in the emotional sense) having kids and they seem to not entirely understand what it truly means to be a parent. It’s not that I feel I need to make excuses or explain my life to anyone else but it would seem they have parents who DON’T get it so it’s now falling on me to help them understand what a real parent is.
So, this being said, with regard to Friday night…
- You asked us for permission to spend the night with a friend of yours. This would imply that a house was actually involved. Had you asked us for permission to sleep in the cab of someone’s truck parked on the street the answer would have been a resounding “No”.
- A house is a semi-square building with four walls, windows, doors, insulation and a nice, warm bed or sofa on which to sleep. It has a toilet, shower or bathtub and generally has OTHER people living in it as well. There might also be a sink or two as well as a kitchen, additional four walled are places we call “rooms”.
- A car is also semi-square, also has windows, also has doors and also has insulation (somewhat) but this is where the similarities end. A car has wheels and an engine. It’s also made of a lot of metal and plastic. Oh, and it comes with a radio installed. If you see a radio installed where you’re sleeping, it’s probably a car.
- I realize these descriptions are somewhat vague. If you still have trouble mastering the difference of houses versus cars, see me. I can show you photos.
- Also, here’s a universal truth about teenagers – they tend to lie. The friend that invited you to “spend the night at his house” already knew, prior to asking, that you weren’t permitted to stay the night. In short, he lied.
- In the course of all the lies he told to get his way, you seem to have lost something in the events that unfolded Friday night:
- He is 18 and responsible for only himself.
- You are 16 and your father and I are responsible for you.
- Your “friend” was thinking only of himself when he made all these plans based on a lie and then left you (and another 16 year old kid, let’s not forget that) to your own devices once he was ready to go home to sleep in his nice, warm bed.
- Your “friend” seems to have come out strong in all of this. He’s not in trouble with anyone due to his being 18. You, on the other hand, are grounded and can no longer hang out with one of your “friends”.
Now, we seem to be having a problem communicating here lately. You defend your “friend” and assume all responsibility for the events of Friday evening. This kid sure has you brainwashed. However, he will soon be out of your life forever and to prevent this from happening in the future with another “friend”, I’ve decided to make a list of rules for you so you might better understand how to handle this event.
1. Call your father or me if you need us. I don’t care what time it is. Trust me when I tell you, it’s far better to get a call from you at 2AM because one of your “friends” has put you in a dangerous situation than to get a call from the police or the ER at 2AM asking us to either come pick you up at the police station or to identify your body at the morgue. Seriously, wake me up. Even if you have done something wrong, it’s better to get in a little bit of trouble than to get in a lot of trouble.
2. Your cell phone can be used for more than calling or texting me with, “Where are you?” Sometimes it can be used for, “Mom, I need your help”.
3. Your father and I make the rules in our house.
- When you pay the mortgage, you can decide what time you come home.
- When you pay the electric bill, you can wash one pair of pants or leave the light on in the bathroom.
- When you pay the grocery bill then you can bring into the house more than “nothing but crap”.
- When you make the car payment, you can decide what music plays on the stereo.
- When you are paying for the cable/satellite bill then you can watch all the pay-per-views you want.
5. Call me when you’re going to be late. I need to know when to stop worrying and when to start calling the hospitals to see if you’ve been in an accident.
6. When you are in trouble, accept it and move on. This is part of being a teenager, the whole getting in trouble thing. Which leads me to one final rule:
- Don’t try to negotiate with me when you've done something wrong. It pisses me off. I don’t care what other kids are doing. I don’t have to pay their bail when things get rough. Our life is not "Let's Make a Deal" and my name isn't Monty Hall.
7. My home is not a democracy. After living with me for 16 ½ years that I even have to tell you this is astonishing.
- No, you don’t get a vote.
- No, you don’t get to decide.
- No, you don’t get to do much of anything but make me happy to have you in my house.
- No, I don’t have to pay you allowance for emptying the dishwasher. See, I have the whole we provide you with food, clothing and shelter thing going on that supersede your having an allowance. We live on four acres. If you want some money, take a ride on the tractor and cut some grass.
- Speaking of money, the Federal government issued you a social security number when you were born. You are now over the age of 16 and well beyond the time to get a job. If you want money, earn it like the rest of us do.
9. If you want me to respect you then respect me. Respect is a two way street and it’s not given freely just because you’re “swell”. Don’t yell at me and expect me to give in. Also, don’t expect I won’t yell back. I give what I get. So long as you come to the understanding that this IS my house, with my name on it, and for so long as you live here your father and I call the shots, all will be well.
With all of the above, it might seem life is a little unfair. Yes, it is. Perhaps I should familiarize you with a song from the 60’s called, “I never promised you a rose garden”. No, life isn’t fair and it won’t be for a long, long time, if at all.
HOWEVER, life can be fair if you just follow the rules. And here’s the thing, I don’t write the rules because Arizona has a legislative body that does it for me. Those rules are called the Arizona Revised Statute. If in doubt, look it up.
To reiterate – my home is not a democracy, it’s an aristocracy. Your father is the King, I am the Queen and you as well as your siblings are our loyal subjects. I am master of all I survey.
Something you also need to understand is that the ambivalent relationship going on with us now is temporary. This is something all teenagers go through with their parents and as much as you hate being “normal” and “like everyone else”, you are.
Also, to illustrate to you how it works when friends spend the night with each other, I am going to visit my best friend from my childhood at the end of this month, Not only will she provide me with a place to sleep, it will be inside her house, not her car. That is what friends do for each other beyond the ordinary. Staying the night=sleeping in the house.
In closing, dear child, I wanted to make certain you understand everything we do for you is out of love for you, a deep love that has no measure. I know you think I’m a helicopter mom, that I am responsible for all that is wrong in your world and that you have the worst mother in the world. However, there are lots and lots of kids out there who wish they had a mother or father who cared at all. I might hover now, and you resent it, but there will be a time when you’ll wish we were there and we’re not. The death of my parents taught me the tenuous nature of the parent/child relationship. In addition, how does it make me a bad mother that I don’t allow you to roam the streets wreaking havoc on the city of Sierra Vista? I would think, if nothing else, you’d appreciate my strong desire to prevent you from having a juvenile record.
You’re nearly 17 and it’s time to start acting like an adult, somewhat. It’s time to take your lumps and move on. It’s time to understand that you ARE a minor and until such time that I don’t have to pick you up if you get arrested, you WILL do what I and your father say. You can resent me all you want. If that’s how you prefer to spend your time, I can’t stop you. However, there will come a time when you’ll thank me for how I’ve raised you.
Now, I prefer to not discuss this any further.