Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply
Contributor

Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

Some people accuse me of catastrophising but I like to be prepared. My 16-y-o isn't dating yet but his group of male/female friends occasionally have sleepover parties. With the first one, I asked him to text me "goodnight" by midnight and also to send a "good morning" by 10am next day.

 

Didn't get the "good morning". Started to worry as I realised I had no idea where my son was. By midday had tracked down one of his mates' mobile numbers and sent text asking mate to get my son to call me.  Three hours later -- he did "my battery died". He was grounded next weekend but I realised I hadn't done "parental due diligence" (!!!).  So new rules are:

- I want the street address of where the sleepover will occur

- I want the landline phone number/and or contact details of responsible person/parent.

 

We talk openly about sex, drugs, alcohol and rock'n'roll. I know he will experiment but I have no reason to believe he would go overboard in any of those areas.

 

Any other tips? Too strict? Too permissive?

Prolific scribe

Re: Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

Hi @Mitzi!

 

I'm looking forward to hearing the views of other parents on this one, i think it's pretty reasonable to want to know where your son is in order to be able to check he's okay though. 

 

What are his thoughts on the current expectations? I'm always curious about the difference between a teenager's perspective and that of their parents.

Contributor

Re: Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

After some resistance and negotiation, he is fine with it. He's a very kind-hearted soul with a lot of empathy. So when I explained how distrissed it made me when I didn't know where he was and couldn't contact him, he said "Oh wow Mum, I'm really sorry! I didn't think of it like that."

 

So, I think "we're good".

Highlighted
Super frequent scribe

Re: Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

Hey @Mitzi... I've felt the stress and uncertainty that comes from suddenly not knowing your kid's whereabouts! The good 'ol days (before mobiles) it was like you said, street address and land lines, and that was all to be expected. I definitely don't think you're too strict, you're  just showing that you care... another solution might be to make sure he has his charger or a charge-pack? He probably hated having a flat battery anyway, so he may jump on that one as a "great idea mum!"

 

It seems like there is a lot of mutual respect and love there... It sounds like your "catasrophising" is seen by your son in that light. I think it's great, and it seems that you have already struck a balance between "freedom v boundaries" given what you have said about how you two communicate. Thanks for sharing @Mitzi Man Happy

Mod

Re: Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

Hey @Mitzi.  It can be stressful when our teens are out and about however it sounds like you and your son have a good relationship and can communicate openly.  I agree that as a parent we need to know where they are and how we can contact them.  It is also reassuring to receive a text from them letting us know all is ok.

When I was a teen I used to have to look for a pay phone that hadn't been vandalised to contact my parents.  Then there was the issue of having a coin to pay for the call.  

I like the idea from @tenacious_dad about the mobile charger.  I'm going to steal that one.

Another approach I have used is turning the tables and asking how they would feel if they needed to contact me and didn't know where I was or I wasn't answering the phone.  Asking our teens to put themselves into our shoes I believe teaches empathy.

Frequent scribe

Re: Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

Hey @Mitzi.  Not too strict, not too permissive.  Spot on I reckon.  And the fact that he respects it just reinforces that you are on the money.

 



========================================

New member? Introduce yourself here by answering our 5 question Q&A!
Contributor

Re: Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

Sounds like you have a great relationship @Mitzi, love hearing about your open communication with him!
Frequent scribe

Re: Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

It's funny how their phone battery dies when they need to contact parents........lol.

congratulate yourself on being strict-we need to know where they are.

And believe me, you are not the only parent checking in, despite what he might tell you Smiley Happy

Super frequent scribe

Re: Teen's personal freedom v parent boundaries

Only natural to be worried in that case! But glad you guys had such a good chat about it in the end