When you no longer control experiences

When you no longer control experiences

As the parent of two teens, I am learning that I need to let go of the need to control their experiences in the world. This hit home in a big way New Year’s Eve.

The teen girl asked to go to a sleepover with both boys and girls and just one parent supervising. And no judgement, but it was a dad. I really did not want her to go, since I could imagine lots of different scenarios and experiences that I did not want her to have. But as usual, the husband was the voice of reason and said we can’t keep her with us forever. Especially since we go to bed at 9pm and most teens don’t 🙂 So in the end, she went to the party… with her mace, Family Uber app (no questions asked if used) and also the contact info for a fellow mom who lives literally around the corner who was hosting a teen party at her house and would be up late and offered to get my gal if she needed a way out. I do love my tribe of fellow moms.

The teen boy wanted to hang out with a friend in Durham. They have a tricky driveway, so I suggested he park on the street to avoid the driveway all together. He thought that was silly, so I had to hope that he was able to navigate that long and skinny driveway better than I have since he was in 4th grade.

Thankfully both teens had fun experiences for NYE, and the husband and I hosted a “drop by when you want” party at our house with catering from Whole Foods. I celebrated with good friends and was in bed by 10pm. A great NYE for me.

One thing I am learning I do still have control over with my teens is how they spend time at our house on dates…. regardless of gender. The teen girl had a date with a girl recently and automatically assumed that she could keep the door to her room closed for the date. Umm, no. But I had to think about it (and text fellow moms who have navigated the dating scene). In the end, regardless of gender, the doors to rooms will stay open at our house on any kind of date. I can only hope these same rules are enforced when both of my teens are on dates at other houses.

Whew. Never a dull moment when parenting teens. My goal is to keep the lines of communication open, try my best not to use the “hard no” unless really necessary, and let them experience difficult situations (and possibly make mistakes… gulp) and learn from them. I might need more frequent hair appointments to cover the grey.

Fellow parents of teens, how do you give up controlling experiences and what do you still feel in control of? I am all ears.

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