Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dear Jenni,

I love to get questions from readers.  Here is a recent email interaction that I had with a mom of a tween.  It is RAW and completely unedited.  Hope you can overlook the mechanics and focus on the content!

Dear Jenni,
Okay I have a parenting q. I know your boys are young, but I also know you dealt with tween/teens teaching, and you grew up as an angry teen at some point right?! Lol I'm not really even sure what my question is, I think I need more direction. My oldest, Amy is 11 and in 6th grade. According to her everyone, everyone gets dropped off at the skating rink/Lazer zone on the weekends. John and I both feel she is not mature enough for this. We feel she is not ready to be put into situations to make 'adult choices'. On the other hand, I also know she has to be allowed to make decisions on her own, or will never learn the decision making process. AND I also know what it's like to be in school and feel left out because you can't do what seems like everyone else can do. So last night she spends the night with a friend, and on a sneaking suspicion I text the friend and ask Amy to call me. She says they are at the Lazer zone but the friends mom is also there. I ask to speak to her and they put another kid on the phone! Okay I remember thinking I was way smarter than my mom too, so long story short I had Amy get back on the phone and told her she'd better get herself by the front door until her daddy got there. Anyway, that's where we are. So any advice?! Sorry to unload, but you seem full of logical thinking, lol. Oh and the typos- on my phone ; ) THanks for anything!!! Chrys

Chrys,
I am so glad you emailed me! I love to chat about stuff like this and be a sounding board for moms.

Ok-- 1st of all I think that you are right that she is too young to be dropped off and her behavior proved that. I also see her side and realize that she thinks she is sooooooo mature ;)

I think she has kinda made your job easier thanks to her little mishap. Before last night she could play the card "but you can trust me! I am a good kid" Well--- even if she is a good kid she just blew the trust.

So. now you can totally approach her like "Your dad and I had talked about it and we were thinking that you may be ready to be dropped off becuase you make good choices and we can trust you, but now we have a problem because what do you think last night showed us????"

Make her talk through it and tell you why you can't trust her right now. Then tell her you know that she can be trust worthy but how are you guys going to know that she is? Ask her what her plan would be.

Hopefully she will come up with a trust plan that shows you she can be trust worthy with something small (like if she says she will clean her room she follows through) then bump up to something bigger. keep bumping until she earns the privledge of spending some time without adult supervision.

I am not saying that should be at lazer zone but you she is old enough to earn some type of freedom. It might be going to a restuarant with a friend without you. (I am suggesting restuarant because the chances of peer pressure and being influenced by older kids is really low at Chili's.) or maybe go to get a manicure or a pedicure, but have it be something where she is getting freedom but she is not around older kids or large groups that you don't have influence over.

what do you think??? I think that it is important for her to have to solve the problem she has created. At her age if you dictate she will rebel.
Jenni



Jenni,
Ooh love the idea of a restaurant/pedicure! I completely agree she needs 'experience flying solo', but our fears were the choices she would make under peer pressure. Well check the where do we go from here off the list, because I think those are great places to start! Thanks!
Chrys



Jenni,
Okay had a talk with Amy...um thank you!!!! After she rides out her grounding, she is looking forward to earning the trust to be dropped off for a girls dinner =) you would have thought I told her I was giving her a million bucks! Lol we did also explain that there may always be places she is unable to go to unsupervised...and she was okay with that. Feel free to blog this if you want to! Thank you again!
Chrys


 Chrys,
yay! i am glad that it went well. Like you said--I don't have kids that age so any thoughts I have are from my teaching experience and stuff that I have read. I am sure I will be emailing you in a few years!
Jenni
:)

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