A friend related a story that a 14 year old in her carpool told her yesterday. During her recent family ski trip, the girl was skiing with a ski instructor and two other girls. She crashed but the ski instructor and other skiers did not notice and continued down the mountain. She ended up alone and mildly injured off the course. She had her iPhone on her and tried to reach her parents. They were skiing and did get her call. She did not know what to do next.
She did not have the number of the ski school or ski resort in her phone. She thought that 911 was only for police and fire rescue and did not think that they would be able to get help to her on the mountain. She did not think to call 411 to get the number of the ski school. This girl is not an idiot. She is a straight A high school honor studen. She did not know what to do because no one was there to tell her what to do. She has a great mom. One who does everything for her.
Luckily, the ski patrol heard her screams and helped her down the mountain. Other than being scared and shaken up, she was fine.
I am from the generation of helicopter parents. It is a much scarier world out there than when we were kids and we are involved. Very involved. We want to make sure that our kids are safe. We hover.
My children are teenaged boys and have much less independence than I have when I was their ages. I was from the school of "be home by dark, don't talk to strangers and don't ride your bike in the street. Other than that, we were pretty much free to roam. My kids are on a much shorter leash. Even when they are allowed to go somewhere without me such as the movies or a friend's house, they have to stay in text contact. My 15 year old son texts me when he gets to the bus stop which is less than a three minute walk from my front door and when he gets on the bus before and after school. There is never a time when I don't know where my children are.
It seems excessive, but I am not alone. All of my well-educated girlfriends are the same way. We may be overprotective but just watch the news and see what is going on in the world, and it seems that it is better to be safe than sorry. My children are very good kids and have never given me a reason to not trust them but the boogie man comes in many forms these days and at least if I know where my children are, perhaps I can protect them.
Now that my son is starting to drive (he got his learner's permit last week! OYE!) I know that he will be spreading his wings a bit more. Where is the happy medium between knowing where he is at all times and letting him run wild. Being in real life situations as a teen will let him learn and grow but mistakes that teens make can ruin lives too. Besides talking to my boys about the old things like drugs, alcohol & sex, we now have to remind them that if a girl texts them a dirty photo and they show a friend, they can go to jail for child pornography. If they try marijuana, they may get a dose of a highly toxic drug that it is laced with. If they do something stupid, most likely someone is capturing it on his cellphone and it will be on the internet forever.
Modern parenting is complicated. My challenge to let them fly while walking the fine line of keeping tabs on them. Wish me luck!