Every time I have to make a decision that affects my children’s welfare, I always put myself in their place and I always remember that I too was once a teenager. I never really had a strict curfew for my children. School days they come home around 4.30 and weekends if they are going out, I expect them to be back by 5 pm and if they are going to be late, they should call and let me know.
Lately, Yaya is going out often with her friends. She is going to be 16 in a few months and this is how life is going to be and I am fine with it. She tells me who she is going out with and where she is going and what time she will be home. Last weekend was her semi formal and she told me, she wants to hang out with her friends after the function and wants to take the last train back to her friend’s place and spend the night at her friend’s house. I said “no”. I explained to her that Friday is the day where you have most number of drunkards on the street and midnight is too late for an almost 16 year old to be out , even if she is with a group of friends. She came out with “all my friends…” and I replied with the one dialogue that drove me nuts when my mother said it to me, but couldn’t think of anything better ” if all your friends jumped in front of the train, will you?” ( To think, I promised myself I never would say the same to my children !). She started to scream at me, telling me how unreasonable I am. Her points being, she is out with the boys from her class and they will protect her, she attended self defence classes and knows how to defend herself and the best “nothing is going to happen, for this is Brisbane, where nothing ever happens and she just want to enjoy her freedom and take the midnight train”. I told her,I understand how exciting it is to take the midnight trains and the trains will still be there even when she is 50 years old and she will always have her freedom, but coming home at 11 is not about curtailing her freedom, but ensuring her safety”
Her semi formal was finishing at 10 pm and I thought I will give her until 11 pm, so she could go to one of the restaurants with her friends and eat dinner and I told her, I will pick up all of them, ( she and her friends) at 11 and drop them all home. She screamed at me some more and slammed every single door at home. I ignored her tantrum. ( I was annoyed with her for slamming the door, but didn’t want to make the situation worst)
The day of the semi formal, she asked again, if I would reconsider my decision and I said “no”. I also asked her if she remember the time we went to Mount Coo’tha to watch the city lights and found teenagers loitering there at midnight and I asked ” where are the parents of these kids?”. She slammed the main door as she left.
I wondered if I did the right thing? Should I have allowed her to stay out till midnight? Is she now going to take drugs/alcohol because she has a horrible mother?
I picked her up early from school, so she could get her hair done. I was waiting for more tantrums. I bought a small kit Kat chocolate as a bribe and gave it to her. She shared half with me and I waited for the out burst. We went to the salon, got her hair done, went to the Pharmacy to buy eyeliner, she held my hands as we crossed the road to get to the car park and told me ” I love you mom, you are an awesome mother”
I thought of asking her, where is the apology for slamming the door so many times and screaming at me?, but I remembered doing exactly the same thing when my mother told me “no”.
She wore a beautiful turquoise dress and a small silver three strand headband on her hair and 3 inch high heels. She looked gorgeous. As I dropped her off at the venue, she told me ” see you at 11 ”
I felt I dodged a bullet this time with many more to come.