I'm working on saying "yes." The two older girls will more than likely be moving out by the end of next summer. We've always been pretty strict in our house, so we've always had a pretty good idea about where are kids are and with whom. They rarely argue about a curfew, and when they do they want to be able to come home at midnight. Goldie doesn't go out much, but K has a boyfriend and is out every weekend. I've never really insisted on a firm curfew time, it usually depends on what they are doing or who they are with. As strict as we are, we don't necessarily believe in assigning a time to be home when you never know what you're going to be doing. I don't really understand why some parents insist a specific time and then not give the kids any leeway if, for example, the movie gets out a right at curfew, so kid has the choice of either leaving the movie before the end, trying to find something else to do for the three hours, or be late. I say give them extra time to leave the theater and get home. (I realize there are some kids who are constantly trying to take advantage, and it may not work for everyone. I guess we've been lucky with our two.)
So, back to saying yes more. Three times in the last month, the girls have come to me wanting to go to neighborhood parties. The first party was a few blocks from the house, I was going to be home, and Son One was going to stop by. (He's my step-son, but I'm too lazy to write that everytime. From now on he is Son One. There is also another step-son, Son 2) So, I felt pretty good about letting them go. Because they were going to a party, I told them they needed to be home by eleven. The evening passed uneventfully, and the kids were home five or ten minutes early. I knew this was going to be their first "real party" and half expected them to avoid eye contact and run straight to their rooms when they got home. (not that I did that....) Instead? They came in, excited, and they talked to me. After a party, where there were no adults! I detected not one bit of scheming or hiding.
Early last week I was informed that there would be a Halloween party Friday night. This one was a still in the neighborhood, but further away than the last one. I took a deep breath, and tried to remember how to form the word yes. Son One would not be there to check up on things, and I had a softball game. I would not be right around the corner, I'd be in another city. I had to consider that the girls behaved responsibly last time, and with college coming up next year, I figured I'd better let them try again. So I said yes.
Then I got the kick in the teeth. They also wanted to stay out until midnight. My husband told me to say yes, to trust them. So I did.
The girls? Home at 11:00. Because they were too tired to stay out longer. (Huh? How old are they????)
When K asked if she could go to a party on Halloween night, I didn't even hesitate. Yes. Go. Have fun. Be home by midnight....
Not only was she home by 11:30, but they decided not to go to the party after all. Her boyfriend's parents were hanging out in their backyard, and they stopped to talk to them before heading out. They had so much fun with the parents, that they decided to just hang there all night. (And no, they aren't the kind of people to be the "cool" parents.)
I admit that I am in a state of shock. I feel lucky and blessed that they are as responsible as they are.
The only problem with all of this?
When they come home early, they are interrupting our (ahem) party time...