“I am sleeping at a friend’s house”: I remember this trick when I was a kid. I would tell my dad I was sleeping at Susie’s house and Susie would tell her mom she was sleeping at my house. Then we would sneak out and meet boys.
Now that I am a parent, I rarely let my kids stay overnight at friend’s houses. I need to really know the parents and trust that my children are safe. On the rare occasion that they do have a sleep over, I talk with the parents. I make sure we are both on the same page about where the kids are sleeping and who will be home.
“I am staying after school to study”: OK I am going to call bull on this one. I know that some kids do actually stay after to study or meet with teachers to go over something they don’t understand. However, I feel that the majority of the time when kids (specifically teenagers) they are lying! They want to hang out with someone or do something that they know their parents will not allow. Therefore they make up this story to obtain some free time.
It is getting more difficult for teens to get away with this one due to GPS on their cell phones, but it still happens. If I don’t buy this story I will just simply say NO you are not staying after school. However, sometimes I want to give my teen the benefit of the doubt, so I agree. If my gut starts acting up and I think something is fishy I will drive to the school and call my child from the parking lot, tell him/her I have money or snacks for him/her. If he/she is not at the school he/she will be forced to lie again or realize he/she is busted.
“Their parents will be home all night”: This one can be used when your child is having a sleep over or if they are just hanging out at their friend’s house for a few hours. This whole situation can be avoided by staying in contact with the parents of your child’s friend. If one of my kids wants to spend time at his/her friend’s house, I always call the parents to make sure it is ok and to find out if they will be home. I don’t mind if the parents are going out for a little while to dinner or to the movies. However, if they are going to be gone for hours upon hours, my child will not be there. Being home late at night is just asking for the kids to try things or have parties.
“He/She is just a friend”: We use this one even as adults. However, I don’t care if he is a friend or not you are not “studying” in your room with the door closed. Hell no! Do I look stupid to you? Teenagers have all kinds of emotions and feelings running through their veins and it is hard for them to even realize when they have feelings for someone else. Friendships can get complicated. Parents need to look at the big picture. How often do they text each other? How often does the other person’s name come up? Check the look in his eyes when he sees her? Does his/her attitude change when the other person is around? Parents need to look for signs to ensure that our teens are safe and talk about feelings, emotions and relationships openly. You don’t want them doing things just because they don’t know any better or because they feel pressured.
“I haven’t tried smoking cigarettes, drinking or smoking pot”: Sometimes this can, in fact, be a true statement. However, it is imperative that you talk about these particular things with your teen. Obviously they are teenagers and they are in high school. The likelihood of them trying at least one of these things is pretty high (no pun intended). I would be naive to think that my kids will never drink or smoke, but I want them to be educated. I have taught them the side effects of these things. They are aware of the damage that these things can cause to your health and to your family. They know that there are consequences of using these things.
I have also told my kids that if they are at a party and they get drunk or high, they need to call me. Under no circumstances are they to be driving with someone else who is under the influence. They can call me whenever and I will come get them. They also know that this might result in some kind of consequence, but it is better than being dead by the side of the road.
It is our responsibility as parents to know where our children are, to know what they are doing and to set boundaries. Our children will make it their job to try to push those boundaries and try to get away with everything! We are parents we are not friends, yes they may “hate” us for the things we do as parents, but they will also love us for the things we do as parents.