Do you partner with other parents?

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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8 Responses to Do you partner with other parents?

  1. Tristi says:

    Thanks for some tangible examples. While it seems simple enough, it has never dawned on me that I could do that. With a ten-year-old as my oldest, I’m going to be needing to apply this soon as I realize I have less and less control. Thanks!

  2. Great suggestions. This one will stick in my memory.

  3. Deanna Mason says:

    Love it. Stealing it.

  4. Lisa M says:

    Jill,
    As a mom of 2 teenage boys, I have thought of what boundaries should be set when they do bring home a girlfriend, but have struggled to define anything. Thank you for specifics of your boundaries! And the communication with the other mothers. 😉

    • JillSavage says:

      Lisa, the boundaries we set with our boys and their girlfriends is 1) she may not go in the bedroom, and 2) if they watch a movie, they need to do it upstairs in the family area of the home, not in the basement where they are likely alone, and 3) they cannot “disappear” for any length of time. I need to know where they are. It’s fine for them to be alone to talk on the porch, on the trampoline, or even in the living room where we have french doors that can be closed. We respect their desire for privacy, but we require it to be “public privacy.”

  5. Karla says:

    I was always the mom who called the host family and asked if they needed me to send soda or snacks to any kid gathering. It enabled me to touch base with the parents and determine if they were going to be home and what type of activities were being planned. It allowed me to sound helpful versus overprotective which was important to my boys.No one wanted to hear that “your mom called to check on you”.

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