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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Over Protective

Now is the time to admit to one of my many faults.

Being an overprotective mother. Actually, I don't think I am a overprotective mother, but some friends and family members have accused me of being one. Now, in my defense, let me explain my position for a second. Some people would say that I am not overprotective, just cautious.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a nut who doesn't let their kids out of their site or never lets them go anywhere without me. Actually, my kids get to do a lot of things - the only requirement I have is that we are in communication - often.

For example, my teenage daughter rarely hears the word no when she wants to go somewhere and do things with her friends. She's a good kid, she has a job, she gets good grades and helps around the house - so why not? But, I make her tell me what she is doing, give me a time frame for the evening (or day) and she has to call and check in with me every so often - when she arrives, if her plans change and when she leaves to come home. To me, this doesn't seem like too much to ask, but some people think it's suffocating. Alyson doesn't complain. Although she does say I'm obsessed with her being kidnapped and killed. I wouldn't say obsessed, but preventing it takes up a lot of my thoughts.

Another example, she works in the town next to ours at a coffee shop. When she closes the shop, she closes by herself. This coffee shop is right on the main highway. This makes me nervous with her there by herself, closing the shop, taking the garbage out in the dark and leaving by herself. Because of this, I make her call me when she starts closing the shop (reminding her to lock all the doors), call me while she is taking out the garbage and then again when she heads for home. To me, this is just safe.

I will admit I am a little paranoid with all the stuff that goes on in this world. It seems like everyday you are hearing about another kidnapping of a young girl and it never ends up well. If I didn't have Alyson call me, God forbid anything should happen, but if it did, I wouldn't even know she was gone until a long time had passed.

With my younger daughters, it's not as hard because they aren't driving yet and obviously not gone as much as Alyson is. Still, there are definitely things they cannot do that their friends can do, like watch PG13 movies, go to movies with boys, go to boy/girl parties, go to boy/girl dances - this is all stuff that most other 12 year olds are being allowed to do. Also, there are only certain places they can spend the night and just like Alyson, they need to check in with me often.

To me this is being cautious and trying to keep my kids safe and not exposing them to things they aren't ready for is important to me. All of my kids have friends with parents that think "they have to deal with life sometime" and I say "yes, they certainly will, but at 10, 11, 12??" Isn't our job as parents to protect them and help them determine when they are ready for the different stages in life?

What am I going to do when Alyson leaves for college? This is the big question. I have no doubt she can handle herself and be safe, I'm not delusional - I know she will have to be out on her own - hopefully she will still check in with me often. This is something I will have to work on and trust that she will be safe and worrying about it won't stop anything from happening, I understand this. She has proven to me quite a few times that she knows how to make the right choices and knows how to keep safe and that makes me proud.

If I'm completely honest, I will admit I worry about my kids a lot and maybe having them in communication with me makes me feel like I have some control. Because to be honest, if something did ever happen to them, I'm not sure I could survive. That is my worst fear in life.

1 comment:

Chelle said...

I, like you, made my daughter give us the "who, what, where, when, why and hows" when she went out. She never complained aboaut it, it was just what we did. She wasnt' allowed to go anywhere unless we knew...unless SHE knew. ANd if plans changed, she was to let us know. I have 2 younger boys and they are just starting to get to that stage where they are going out more....THEY will have to do the same! It IS safe :)

My daughter left for college this year. She calls quite a bit just to talk. She lets us know what is going on with things and even asaks us for advice. So, I have no regrets with how we did things when she lived home.

I dont think you will have anything toi worry about when your daughter goes off to school. (Well, you will worry to somedegree, thats normal!) You seem like a pretty cool mom who she loves and respects. I doubt communication will be a problem for you both when she is off at college :)