“Good night Mom! Good night Dad!” Off their kind, loving, moody 16 year old daughter heads to bed with her few girlfriends sleeping over for the night.
“I am glad they are being so responsible going to bed early on a Saturday,” Dad says.
“Hmmm, “ says mom suspiciously. “Eleven O’Clock seems awfully early for a night with the girls.”
One A.M. rolls around and mom sneaks a peak. Sure enough that kind, loving moody, 16 year old daughter can add sneaky and in trouble to the words to best describe her.
So what do you do? Do you wait it out? Do you call everyone you know in town? Call the police? There are some tough decisions to be had.
Whatever approach you decide, it is important to be clear on your limits and expectations. If this is the first time it has occurred, it would also be important to lay down some law. Letting your child know beforehand what the consequences are and the need to contact other parents may be deterrent to it happening in the first place.
To let your teen get away with this behavior is to set the standard for it to happen again. A rule that isn’t followed through with isn’t a rule at all.
I would encourage a dialogue with your child around what your expectations are and what they feel the consequences should be for their actions. If you feel the consequences they name are not enough, then you certainly have the right to put in your two cents. I have often found kids are harder on themselves than their parents when implementing punishments.
I would also encourage you to follow up with the parents of the other children. If something were to happen on your watch that has a later outcome, it could be detrimental in a variety of ways.
Being a parent is tough and requires tough love at times. When it comes to safety, rules and consequences should not be compromised.