Both of our teenage boys have a girl interest. Mark and I know one set of parents but we don’t know the other girl’s folks.
This relationship has been going on for several months, but they have only spent time together at our house. Personally, I’m fine with that because I can best provide the accountability and boundaries I feel are needed in our home environment. Yesterday, however, our son was invited to their home for the first time. Mark and I decided a connection with the young lady’s mom was in order.
I called her to verify that they were going to be home and were aware of the invitation. She confirmed “yes” to both. I then shared with her that when our son and her daughter are at our home we set certain boundaries such as requiring them to engage with the family and watch movies or hang out up in the living room where the family is rather than down in the basement in a dark room. I asked her if they would be willing to partner with us with those boundaries. We talked for quite a while and she indicated that they ran a pretty tight ship at their house, too, and agreed to partner in the boundaries we’ve set.
It’s not always easy to dial up a parent you don’t know and talk about those kinds of things, but it is important to do so.
One of our son’s best friend’s parents often let him stay home alone when they are out of town. She always sends me a text letting me know when they will be gone. On those weekends I make sure the boys hang out at our house and not the house where no parents are present!
When our kids were younger and invited to slumber parties, I always touched base with the parents to find out if a bed time would be encouraged, parental presence would be evident throughout the night, and what movies, if any, would be shown. On more than one occasion, I picked up my child before a movie I deemed was inappropriate for grade schoolers was shown. I wasn’t always the most popular mom with my child, but I will never apologize for being an involved parent who does her best to protect the innocence of my child.
Communication with other parents is key to providing direction and accountability for our children. Certainly there’s a fine line between being an involved parent and a helicopter mom who hovers over everything their child does. However I do believe that we should never assume things will be as we hope they will be. As my friend Cheryl says, “We need to “trust, but verify.”
What about you? Do you partner with other parents? What experiences can you share that we can all benefit from?
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