Dear Karen Kaye,
My 13-year-old daughter is in 8th grade now. This year most of her friends’ parents have started allowing them to go to the mall or to the movies in a small group of 2 or 3 kids without adult supervision. I am not comfortable with my daughter being unsupervised in these places yet. Am I just being overprotective?
I do believe you are overly protective-but, it is perfectly understandable in this day and age. Furthermore, if you compromise your beliefs to match your daughter’s friends’ parents, what message are you giving your daughter about how comfortable you are with your parenting skills? Parents need to be comfortable with the guidelines and limits they set for their children. Otherwise, when would you have the right to stand your ground? Your child will sense your discomfort, and use it against you, creating arguments with each situation.
It’s important for parents to remember that children with parents who set consistent loving boundaries, feel safe, secure and loved. They know if I do “this,” I’ll get “that” each and every time, which brings order to an otherwise chaotic world.
Did you ever think of the possibility that you are not the parent in the wrong? Some “cool parents” do not know their job, and only know how to be friends with their kids. So you and your daughter may not be the most popular on your block…but at least you will earn your child’s respect and create a healthy structure for your family.
Be aware, Lori, that at this age your daughter might try to fool you into believing there will be supervision, when there is not, in order to fit in. So be savvy enough to speak to the other parents or be the parent on duty.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Good luck.
Karen Kaye, LMHC