Monday, July 6, 2009

Teenage Dating

Cool and I were raised in much different ways. That is proving to be a barrier in the rearing of our children.

Neither of our families were what you would call religious but we were given the fundamentals and encouraged to make our own decision. In that way, we were raised the same.

But, Cool and his brother were pretty much let loose to do what they wanted. There were no consequences perse. One parent would hand out punishments while the other parent would let them out of them. Or one parent would ground them to their room for a year, ultimately not a punishment that could be carried out.

Cool started hanging around the wrong crowd. His "best friend" was NOT a good influence and they terrorized the smallish town they lived in. Yet he was left to do pretty much what he wanted.

He was a smoker at age 14 and smoked another kind of tabacky until about 15 years ago. His parents let he and his brother smoke in the house because Iowa winters could be cold. His mom would find the other tabacky in the house and instead of getting rid of it, she would hide it from them. Kind of like a big game. Not that they were bad parents or bad people, because they are not, they're just different than what I grew up with.

Running unsupervised with friends, dating at a young age and the freedom to do what he wanted (within reason) was how Cool has lived his whole life.

I was not raised like that. I was not allowed to smoke either in the house or outside the house, I had to go to school, I was supervised when I went out and if I wasn't I gave an itinerary and was expected to check in and obey curfew. When I was punished, by God I was punished, I didn't get let off after a day. I didn't have the freedom to do what I wanted and I was not allowed to date until I was 16. (don't get me wrong, I wasn't Mother Teresa and my parents weren't prison guards, but I had rules and was expected to follow them)

And this is where we are running into our parenting barrier.

Chip has a crush. He asked Cool if it would be OK to ask this girl out to a movie, on a date. Without talking to me, Cool told him that would be great.

When Cool told me about this I said, "He isn't 16. He is not allowed to date yet. We talked about this two years ago with Chip and told him he couldn't date until he is 16." Cool replied with, "He's old enough." I told Cool they need to be chaperoned. Make it more of an outing than a "date". Cool just shook his head at me.

That was two weeks ago and there has been tension in the house ever since.

This weekend Cool told me that Chip called this girls dad and asked his permission to take her to the movies. (This was Cool's idea and I do think it is a good thing to do. In fact this is the only area in which we agree) Her dad said, "Uhh, shouldn't you ask her instead of me?" I guess gentlemen asking fathers for permission to date their daughter doesn't happen anymore. Chip talked his way through it by saying something along the lines of, "I wanted your permission before asking her."

Her father said it was OK so later in the day Chip called the girl. She accepted. They made a date for this coming Saturday.

Up to this point, Chip still hadn't said a word to me about it. Cool and I haven't been talking because we are disagreeing about this whole "dating idea" and I have been completely snappy with both of them. (It is a thing between him and Cool and I totally understand the boy and his father aspect of this.)

So, last night Chip said to me very nonchalantly, "By the way, I asked (the girl) out and she said yes so we are going to the movies Saturday." Just like that. I said, "Who is chaperoning?" Cool piped up and said, "Her dad didn't say they needed a chaperone." So??? I said, "Chip is only 15. He is not old enough to date. He and (the girl, who is also only 15) need to be chaperoned." Chip pipes up and says, "What do you think I am going to do. Geeze, don't you trust me? Dad does." Can you see the flames rising? I was completely furious.

He then went on to say, "A couple years ago we talked about when I could date and you guys said 16. When I asked dad about asking (the girl) out he said I could because I am almost 16." I then said, "We should have sat down and talked about this as a family." Chip interrupted and said, "Yeah, like I am going to discuss this with Dill and Sweet." Cool piped up and said, "You know that isn't what your mother meant!" I continued on with, "Family rules cannot be changed by one parent. You are too young to date." At that point Cool sent Chip out of the room and stared at me menacingly.

I bit and finally said, "What?" He said, "I have already handled it." That was when I got my panties in a bunch and said, "It was handled behind my back. When you mentioned it to me I said, he is too young, we have family rules and if they went AS FRIENDS they would need a chaperone. None of that mattered one bit. You did what you wanted without regard for what I said. This is exactly why the kids have no respect for me. You over rule everything." I was a bitch and I totally admit that, but I was fuming. He responded with, "I don't overrule everything." I guess that was the end of the conversation because he went to the garage. I remember thinking, "Want your pillow and a blanket?" I didn't say it, but I thought it.

So, as of this morning, my 15 year old boy is taking a 15 year old girl to the movies on Saturday. On a date. Without a chaperone. Family rules out the window.

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy that Chip has a crush. I am extremely happy he had the guts to ask her father for permission to ask her out. And I am happy that she said yes. But, that happiness aside, I am afraid this is setting a precedence that is going to skyrocket out of control with our other two. (In all honesty, I know this is probably just two friends going to the movies together and that I probably don't have anything to worry about. It is just the other side of probably that bothers me.)

I am trying very hard to raise kids who don't break the rules, who don't manipulate people to get what they want. I want them to be hard working adults who don't just want to get by in life. I want them to be modest, have good character and good morals.

I want them to see that Cool and I are on the same page in the "parenting" manual. This morning, I really feel like a total failure. And I just don't know what to do about it.

© 2008-2009 Wicked Pickles-Homefront Lines


Tina said...

wow. that is a very serious issue. i am angry with you!

what your husband did would be completely inexcusable to me as well. if he felt his opinion wasn't being respected back when the decision was made before, then he should talk to YOU about it and you guys should work it out on your end, and not involve the child in the issue.

this does set up a very bad precedent for future issues and the other kids. ay yi yi!

i'm right there with you on this. but i'm not sure what you can do at this point either except keep trying to work it out by talking to him about it. if that doesn't work, perhaps counseling?

does he even get how this is not good parenting to go against what another parent says?

Joi said...

I am sorry that you are having such a rough time with this.


Danielle said...

We are going through sort of the same thing with Bailey right now. Although I dont have another parent to disagree. Not dating but getting her a cell phone. My rule from the beginning was you dont get a cell phone until you go to the high school (middle school). With so many of her friends having them she seems to think I should change the rules. Not gonna happen and she is not happy and keeps up arguing!