“I have to tell you something,” a new friend of mine said as we sat sipping our coffee in Starbucks. “I love my daughter, but I don’t trust her lately. I found a vape pen in her backpack, and she lied to me last week about going to a friend’s house. I let her walk, and she ended up at her boyfriend’s house. His parents weren’t home. If I had known, I would have told her no,” she said stirring her ice around her frozen coffee.
I Want to Know the Parents of My Teen’s Friends
We had dropped our kids off at Target– something they normally would have done alone but on this day, she wanted to stick around while they shopped and asked if I wanted to join her.
She was my new friend because I saddled next to her at a lacrosse game after my daughter pointed her out to me. After chatting about her current dilemma, she told me it was that day and the effort I had made with her that made her feel comfortable enough to ask me to have coffee with her.
My daughter had been talking about her daughter a lot and had been invited to spend the night. I didn’t know her, and I had no idea who her parents were. The deal in our house is if you are going to be spending a lot of time at someone’s house, I have to make some kind of contact with the parents.
My kids know this so, they offer up introductions and phone numbers before I even ask them so there are no speed bumps in their social life.
There was a parent who were irritated I wanted to meet her, get her number and that I had to check in with her before my son went over to make sure she was home. She wasn’t into small talk when I picked up my son, which is fine–making contact was enough– but, most have welcomed it and thanked me.
And a few have blossomed into great friendships, such as the one I now have with the mom of my daughter’s new bestie.
I’ve noticed something has happened throughout this process of making friends with fellow mothers of teens and acting desperate to make my circle bigger: they open up to me, we talk and we help each other in ways we never would have had I simply dropped my kids off and sped away.
It doesn’t have to be time consuming, either. These friendships are nurtured during a ball game, an exchange in the super market, or when we drop one of our kids off and decide to come in and stay for a drink before going about our day.
It doesn’t matter– we are making contact and in subtle ways letting each other know we are on the same page when it comes to parenting. We gain something more than just an acquaintance and that makes it easier to not feel judged if one of our teens screws up, because we all know they are going to screw up.
That particular day in Starbucks made me so thankful I’ve taken the time and made the effort to do this. Not only was this mom getting something off her chest, she was letting me know something was going on with her daughter. She didn’t want to drop her off at my house again without warning me. I was able to reassure her that I’d keep a close eye on them, do an activity with them and maybe sneak in a very nonchalant talk.
Teens don’t always listen to their parents, but there are times when they will tune in to another adult. If I can be that safe place for at least one child, what a difference it would make–to them and to me.
Our time as mothers is stretched and pulled in so many directions, but I realized something as my children got older and started testing the limits: They are only teenagers for a short time and I need to focus on them. I literally need all the help I can get, so I know other mothers must feel the same.
Taking a few extra minutes to walk them to the door when they are going to a sleepover, to say hello to the host parents, to exchange numbers and send a quick check-in text while they are there, is such a small thing. But, it has really paid off for me, my kids, and I’d like to think for the other parents involved.
My new friend told me how nice it was to be able to talk about it and not feel like she had to hide her daughter’s behavior, or keep her restricted to her home. She knew that if I saw something strange or unsettling going on between our girls, I ‘d be able to come to her, just as she had been able to come to me.
The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.
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