Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm Really Struggling With This...

Okay, I know that part of what I am about to discuss may sound... crazy, overprotective, possibly even a bit controlling, or perhaps living in a bubble and not the real world.

Here goes;

When Morgan was much younger (before 7th grade), we would never allow her to go to a new friend's home without first getting to know the new friend's parents. However, her friends have always been welcome to come to our house. Fortunately for Morgan and for us, most of the time it has worked out with the friend(s) coming to our home.

Through the years, Morgan hasn't always agreed or liked this rule and has even been embarrassed at times when her friends would ask her to spend the night and we said no, but, all in all, she respected the rule and knew that it was something that we weren't willing to give into. In fact, she stopped asking to spend the night at a new friend's house back in 2nd or 3rd grade. Seriously...no joke!

Fast forward...

Morgan is now a sophmore and this same rule applies to a degree. Meaning, she is allowed to hang out a friend's home for a few hours but no over night stays if we haven't met or don't know the parents.

It sounds crazy, but she's only been able to spend the night with the same old friends that we've known since grade school.

Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll tonight we got a big surprise!!! Morgan asked if she could spend the night at a friend's house tomorrow.

My first response was, "Absolutely not. We've only met Heather's parents once and don't really know what they're about."

"Mom/Dad, I'm a sophmore and much older, I can look out for myself," she said. "Don't you trust me?" We reminded her that the issue has never been that we didn't trust her, but that we didn't trust people we didn't know. However, we also realize that Morgan is old enough to make sure that nothing happens to her that she doesn't want to happen, for the most part. For instance, no one could molest her without her being able to defend herself. Neither could she be tricked into doing something "wrong" without her knowing better.

Before the conversation went any further, she asked if we would at least think about it.

Okay, we've thought about it, talked about, thought about it again, and talked about it again and decided..........................................................................................................................................................
that we'll pray about it and give her an answer in the morning.

I don't mind....tell me your thoughts.

9 comments:

April said...

Oh, Daphine, I feel your pain! I can't count the times we have gone through this exact same scenario with our girls. We've had the same rule about not allowing them to spend the night with a friend whose parents we don't know very well. I'm sorry, but in today's world, you can't be too careful. Plus, if we did make the decision to allow them to spend the night, against our better judgement, and something happened, we could never forgive ourselves.

This has become much more of an issue with Abby. However, kids often have a way of breaking you down. So, this summer, after Abby had been begging us to go to a friends' house for a sleepover, we succumbed, even though we didn't know the girls' parents very well. We'd talked to them briefly at various school functions. Well, Abby went on over and came home the next day telling us that the stepdad drank a lot of beer and smoked heavily in the house. I'm sorry, but we don't engage in those behaviors and it made Abby feel really uncomfortable. I felt just horrible for putting her in that situation.

Needless to say, remember that Abby is only now in the 6th grade, which I think makes her more vulnerable. With Brittany, though, I don't tend to worry as much because I trust her enough to make smart choices and decisions. Plus, I know her friends come from good families with strong values and morals. I ,also, realize that there comes a times when I have to let her stretch her wings. If I don't, she might become resentful towards me and that's the last thing in the world I'd want to happen. It's never easy as a parent to let go, but sometimes, it could prove to be a positive thing.

Sorry for such an incredibly long post. Unfortunately, each situation is different; there is no cut and dry answer. Just pray about it and ask God to lead you in the right direction. I know He won't let you down. Good luck!! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Sis- How are you? IDK.... I'm so much like you;but Morgan is a responsible young lady. I would let her go because she needs to have a little experience of being independent. She is going off to college soon and you don't won't her to feel too sheltered.

Have you meet the parents? We used to have sleep-overs; remember all those times Cari and Sandra spent the night at our house, or you would go to their house?

I know its easier said than done, but at least let her spend the night and see what happens. (Of course set some rules.)


Morgan can get herself out of situation that she doesn't like; for example, if the girl keeps a dirty house, parents are wierd, or she just feels uncomfortable I see her calling YOU.

Follow your heart and pray!!!
Now... that I am saying this and she is my niece, I am not too sure.

Where is she going to be? Does this girl drive? Are both the parent going to be home? Who lives there?

Did I confuse you? Trust your instinct sis!!!! Its tougher than I realized.

Please let me know!!!

Vickie

Jennifer England said...

Well, I ready your post and both comments that were posted. I think there is something to glean from each of them. First and foremost, trust your own judgement...it's really the Holy Spirit guiding you. Secondly, it is incredibly difficult to let our kids grow up and experience independence, but if we don't they will find a way to experience that independence without our consent, and we certainly don't want that.

I would compromise a little, but also tell her that when you go to drop her off you want to come in and visit with the parents a little while. If you don't get a good feeling, you have every right to say...I'll be back at 10p to pick you up. You guys can set up and "espcape plan" before hand. She can tell her friend that you called and there is a family matter that she has to go home for...which would be very true. The family matter being that you have standards that the friend's family just didn't meet.

Lastly, I wanted to share this thought...you and Dirk have worked for 15 years to raise a smart, Godly and perceptive young woman. My guess is that she picks friends who are of a higher standard and kids don't just turn out that way by chance. I don't think kids get to be good kids on their own, parents raise good kids. So, maybe you can find comfort in knowing that is she is picking good friends, they come from good famiies. For whatever that is worth.

Let us know what you decide!

Jessica & Matt said...

I agree with April & Vickie. You have to be protective--that's your #1 role as a parent, right? (If not, please let me know, because I am about to try this parenting thing out.)

But seriously--it's such a great policy to have for most of childhood. However, Morgan is at the point now where she very clearly knows right from wrong, and what is healthy/normal behavior. And I also agree that she'll be going to college soon, and will be an "adult" before too long... Maybe it is a good idea to phase her into the type of independence/responsibility that she will have then. She's strong and smart--just like you. And I'm sure you will make the right decision for your family (even if it's not what I would do--in all of my infinite wisdom and experience). :P

Jessica & Matt said...

Oh yeah--I agree with Jennifer, too (just saw her comment)! I think I need to make a note to be sure and ask for parenting advice on my blog--this is very helpful for me!

Anonymous said...

Well, it's me, Melanie....and, the same rule applies in my house! My Jenny, age 12, makes friends very easily and she's always asking if she can go there to spend the night..... but, I'm firm and I say no.....it's a difficult one. But, we must be cautious. WE are responsible for our kids and they are not yet old enough to make the best of decisions...know what I mean??? melanie

Anonymous said...

She very clearly knows right from wrong, and what is healthy/normal behavior. And I also agree that she'll be going to college soon, and will be an "adult" before too long...

THIS IS FROM JESSICA &AMP,MATT.
I agree with her...
Brenda.

Anonymous said...

Did she go?

I think moma and Kelly were more worried than you are.

(You know how quite Kelly gets when she doesn't like the sound of something.)

I am going down there in the morning. It has been awhile!!
Oh.. Madison is celebrating her birthday at school. I am going to order pizza for her class and hand out goodie bags.

She is going to have a big birthday weekend. Both schools are having a carnival. One is Friday(September 26) night and the other one is Saturday (September 27 her actual birtday) morning.

I cannot believe she is going to be three!!
You have to let us know what Happened!!
I am sure it went well

Jennifer Raack said...

Okay, so I didn't read this post last night and am just now looking today. So, even though this response is too late, I'm going to give you my two cents anyway:

I think the rules you have set are appropriate for a child. However, Morgan is now becoming a young woman so the rules have to be "tweaked" a little. From what I know of Morgan, if she goes to her friend's house and the parents are doing things she is not comfortable with (ie. cussing, drinking, smoking, etc.), she probably won't go back again. You won't even have to tell her she can't, she'll actually decide that on her own because of how you have raised her...at least that's what my son does (and Morgan seems to have been raised with the same values as my son).

"Tweaking" the rules for age and maturity does wonders to a teen's confidence...confidence in herself and with her feelings about her relationship with you. It's a confidence she will need when she moves from your home and it is best for her to get this experience now while she is still in your care and you are close enough to rescue her, should the need arise (which I will be very shocked if it does). Make sure her cell phone is charged and let her go....of course, I do like the idea of spending some time with the parents when you are dropping Morgan off, if anything just to give you peace of mind.

And last but not least, pray and trust God to protect your baby girl. He can keep her safe no matter where she roams...it just takes a leap of faith!