When it comes to our children, there is a fine line between being over protective (I want my kid to stay safe and sound and live under my helicopter view until he or she is well past 18) and protective (I want you safe and sound). I mean hey, I’m no expert when it comes to children, especially teenagers, but I solidly believe the ones allowed to escape the constant hovering grow up more stable adults. Here’s why …
My children – yes, teenagers included – wear helmets when they ride their bikes. They wear seat belts in the car (duh), lock doors and set the alarm when home alone, are expected to check with me when at a friends house, etc. BUT, at the same time, they’ve always been allowed to play outside without an ever watchful eye every second of every minute. They also ride their bikes throughout the neighborhood with friends, play sports without bubble wrap (I could’t resist that one), go to friends houses without me knowing the said friend’s parents blood type, and they even get to watch scary movies at that … AND have their own computers which I don’t feel obligated to regulate … meaning I don’t check their browser history every afternoon.
All in all, I feel pretty secure with the knowledge that they would recognize danger should it ever cross their path – I mean the older ones have seen every last episode of Law and Order and they know, just like the credits insist, that the writers pull story lines from today’s real news.
But every now and then, something happens that sends my mind racing around all the CSI, Criminal Minds, Miami Vice (errr, wait – did I really just say Miami Vice?) shows logged in my memory and I wonder, would they know? Would they really know if their well being was jeopardized? Like the other day …
1:55 p.m. text message from 15-year old daughter – “Mom, why am I leaving school?”
My response: “What do you mean? You shouldn’t be leaving school?” Mind races … what’s she taking about? Am I supposed to be there? Did she have a doctor’s appointment? GASP! Is someone else trying to pick her up?
Daughter: No response
Me: “You’re sort of scaring me. What’s going on? Do not leave school with anyone.” Why would the school let her leave? Turn on iPhone finder – locate phone – still at school … is she at school? Did someone take her and leave her phone there? Is she texting me? Does someone else have her phone? CALM DOWN Remember the code word we have.
Daughter: “Nvrmd. It was a mistake. They were supposed to get someone else.”
Me: “Oh. OK.” Phew! “I’ll see you after practice. OK?”
Daughter: Responds with our code word … and “xoxo”
1:57 p.m. – Me: She remembered. She knew. Thank you God for reassuring me that when I think she’s not listening, she really is – at least when it matters most.
So again, parents out there – I’m no expert, BUT if you don’t have a code word with your children you should … for safety, for peace of mind and for reassurance. I even have one with my own mother – again – for safety, for peace of mind and for reassurance. And no … it isn’t Crockett or Tubbs but it might be “What the hell where they thinking dressing like that?!!” :)
Today’s post brought to you by The Daily Prompt: “Expert.”