Thursday, April 7, 2011

Calling All Parents...I need some advice

I am a big rule person. I set the rules and they must be followed. I do allow my children's input and sometimes am willing to compromise, but not much. Lately I am having to debate the rules with my youngest son. You would think that I would be battling my high schooler but nope its the elementary one that takes issue with my rules??? In my home It has been my rule that girls are off the table til middle school at least. I have provided my children with a dating timeline that is acceptable in our home. Here it is:
Elementary School- You can like a girl, flirt, at the most hold a lil convo or text exchange via the phone but that's it. 
No "boyfriend/girlfriend" stuff. No dating, no long everyday convos.
Middle Schoool- You can like a girl, maybe even have one over.
If you wanna have a "girlfriend" at school that is cool. 
There will be no "dating". 
Any time spent with a girl will be in group settings or with adult supervision. 
High School- You can have "girlfriend" but in order to hang out with her I need to meet her and her parent/s. 
Going out on an actual "date" I am still undecided about that. We have decided to deal with that when it becomes an issue.
I think I will make that decision on an individual basis. 

So that is how I run my house and deal with the teen boys and their female relationships. So far, so good they have followed these rules and no one has really had to deal with any complex emotions that they may not be mature enough to handle. And I still am not a grandma so this is working for me.

All of my boys are rather cute and get a decent amount of female attention. Some definitely more than the next but then came Mason. If you will recall Mason is the youngest of the boys. Mason is 10 and in fourth grade. Still, to me, a baby. although these rules have yet to be challenged by the other boys, Mason is debating them with me daily. Mason has decided he will have a girlfriend. I sat Mason down to go over my allotted dating timeline and he really did not agree. Not that that matters much. It appears Mason has a "secret girlfriend". Not to worry because again Mason is 10. He goes to school, then track out camp and then home with mom so his 'realationship" is basically a schoolyard mutual crush. The other big debate we are having is cell phones. Apparently Mason is the only child above 1st grade that doesn't have a cell phone.. Mason has been bugging me to get him a cell phone but I got a rule about that too. No cell phones til middle school. Although it does seem like I am the only parent that feels that way. 

And lastly, I am in need of a bit of advice here from seasoned parents. It has always been my rule that my kids cannot ride with another teen driver. This is very challenging now that I have a kid in high school because he has several friends that drive to and from school and since he walks home I suspect he has "caught a ride". He admitted to this once we talked about it,but in typical teen fashion he believes that it is fine. I am so scary-concerned about this. Our town has teen awareness day coming up in a couple weeks. I am taking Michael. The day is focused on teen safety, specifically teen drivers. He thinks it is lame but I don't care, we are going. Am I being crazy on this? Again no one else's mom seems to mind if their kids catch a ride with another teen but I am scared outta my mind about this.

So I am polling my readers for advice. Help me out guys/gals.

 Where do you stand on the teen driving/riding issue? And how did you manage it?
What are or will be your rules for dating?
Will they differ depending on the gender?
How about the appropriate age for a child to have a cell phone?


  1. Well, I guess this Joker will start the folly. I normally troll your blog but today I decided to get in the mix.

    Here are my credentials, I hope I qualify. I have been a father for 25 years. Total number of kids? 6. Yes I am insane dammit! That is why I am the Joker and locked up at Arkham!

    On Dating - Your rules are sound. If they continue to pressure you, throw money at the problem. Let them know that they will need to support their girlfriends or else someone else will. Get to work!

    On Teen Driving - you are dead on target! Teenagers don't drive cars, they aim them. And unless there is a parent or legal adult involved, no kid of mine will get in a car with an un supervised teen. Enforce this rule to the hilt!

    Cell Phones? - They want a cell phone because they think it's a toy and they want to keep up with the joneses. Make them realize that a cell phone is a tremendous responsibility. I would get him one with a rule of 3. If grades start to slip...It's gone. If I try to reach you and I constantly leave voicemail? It's gone. If we go out and I ask you for the third time, "Where's your cell phone?" and the answer is, I left it home? It's gone. We wait until you are an official teenager at that point.

    I hope I helped. Maybe not. But it is refreshing to see other parents going through the struggles I go through. For a while there, I thought I was alone in this...and quite frankly, it has been driving me insane!

  2. The only thought that I have (I agree with all of your rules, btw!), is that I've told my kids (9 is my oldest, so not too much controversy yet) is that they can have a cell phone when they can pay for it. Period. I live in a small town, and *I* don't even have a cell phone.

  3. My kids are little, but I grew up with those kinds of rules, especially the driving w/ teenagers thing, and I think you're bang on. I remember how easy it was to get riled up when there were other people in the car... it STILL is, providing those other people aren't my kids ;). I didn't understand the rule back then, but man oh man, I do now. We did stupid things when we were teens w/o any realization of what could have happened.

  4. My son is only five, so I can't say this is set in stone, but my parents had those rules for me, and honestly? It backfired because all I did was LIE, LIE, LIE. When my parents realized I was Fibby McGee, we reworked the rules so that I could ride with a couple of my good friends if a) I asked permission well before said ride and b) I gave them a specific time I would call them when we arrived at our destination. Of all of us kids, my parents had the strictest rules, which probably made me the most reckless driver.

    As for dating, my boychild recently came home and told me about his new wife and how they had consumated the relationship with a mouth kiss. Once I recovered, I thought about dating. I think it'll have to be a maturity thing with me. I went on "dates" where my parents dropped me off at the theater when I was in ninth grade, and then real dates when I was sixteen. I think those are pretty good guidelines.

    I'm sure my son will have a cell phone at some point in elementary school. I don't have a land line, neither does his dad, and for me it's more of a being able to contact him no matter what thing.

  5. Well.....
    1) Cell Phones: My 9 yr old has a cell phone. Nothing fancy. Stricly for emergency use and believe me that is the only time he ever uses it. He hates talking on the phone.( I secretly think it scares him) But it makes me feel better when he's out playing if I can't see him that I have the abilty to call him!
    2)Teenage Driving: My 9 yr old has two awesome babysitters who are both in HS. they pick him up after school for me since I'm at work. Absolutely no problems yet...they are teenagers. As long as there is not alchol involved I'm fine with them hauling my kid around. I suppose if I didn't know the girls so well it might be differnt.
    3)Dating: Ya, so Cooper is 9...luckily has no interest in girl'friends' at the moment although he has a lot of girls that are friends. Definately HS is the dating sooner. They're still just babies!

    You have a right to worry, be concernbed and especailly have rules! That's why your MOM!!!

  6. Peg- Ha! good plan, too late for me though.

    Joker- thanks for jumping in here. You actually had lots of helpful advice. And it helps me too, to know that my battles are shared.

    Tamara- No cell for you?? OMG How do you survive?

    Iamthatmommy- Oh No, I don't wanna hear that. I am not the strictest I know but definitely the strictest in my circle. I guess out of all the issues the teen driving is the scariest. I remember my teen driving skills and lets just say they left much to be desired.

    Chandra- 9 with a phone? See where my challenge is? Apparently every 9 year old has a phone, except mine and Tamara's who commented above. I'm not caving. No phone to middle school for Mason. This is the one rule of the three that I have complete control over.

  7. No dating until high school? check! No cell phone until middle school? check! And, I would never, ever allow my children to get into a car with a teen driver. Your logic is A-OK in my book!

  8. I was the mean mom here. Cell phones- when you can afford to buy it and pay for the monthly service. Since most places here won't hire until you are 16, that's about the age they all bought their own phones.
    Riding with teen drivers- not as much a problem here since the oldest drove his brothers to school, then the second, third, and fourth. With that many in your car, no room for others to ride. The fourth son didn't like having friends in the car when he drove to/from school so no problem there either, sorry no help.
    Dating- same as cell phone. I NEVER paid for any of my sons' dates never. As for your 10 year old, working with this age group,what he is saying to you is normal. It's something about being 10 and saying that you have a girlfriend that makes them feel cool. Funny thing is when I ask the 10 year old boys if they have held their girlfriend's hand or kissed her, they all go, "EEWWWWW"
    Just make sure that your 10 year old knows that you don't pay for dates either. AND if he says that he wants to go to (insert name of place here) with his friends, make sure to know the name of each friend. More times than not, the 'girlfriend' is usally there. Just tell him find but that you'll be staying to chaparoin, you'll see him change his mind about going.

  9. My son is 10 and he does have a cell phone, but we do not have a land line and if I want to run down the street to do an errand I do not want to worry.

    He is also not interested in girls yet, so I am spared that agony.

    I have not made decisions on the teen drivers yet. I will be taking a wait and see about that.

  10. I think you have made your rules all in great judgment and with lots of thought. Here are my opinions (hope they help):

    >>Where do you stand on the teen driving/riding issue? And how did you manage it?
    No teen drivers yet, but I think I will be in the same quandary as you. I shiver at the thought of my kid getting into a car with a teen driver.

    >>What are or will be your rules for dating?
    I'm completely fine if my grade-school boy has a "girlfriend". I wouldn't make that a hard-fast rule. I would instead talk about appropriate behavior with his girlfriend at his age. How to properly treat a girl (be nice, don't have two girlfriends at once, no kissing...). In grade school, there are kids that are VERY interested and kids that don't care - but I truly believe you get what you get and you can't change your kid. Let him have a girlfriend and make sure he tells you all about it. He is not the same kid as the older boys, so you might need to change the rules.

    >>Will they differ depending on the gender?
    No significant difference that I can think of, although I am a bit more protective of the girl.

    >>How about the appropriate age for a child to have a cell phone?
    It really depends on the kid. Boys typically ask for cell phones later than girls, but looks like you have a social kid. I don't think middle school is unreasonable. My son is in 6th grade and most of the boys do NOT have cell phones. Stick to your rules on this one - for the sake of the older kids that had to wait!

    Sounds like you are doing a great job - use your instincts and don't listen to the crowd.

    My Wonderfully Dysfunctional Blog

  11. My oldest got a cell phone when she turned 12. This phone is truly more for me then for her. It gives me comfort when she is trainig at the gym (competitive gymnast) and is there more then 10 hours a week. I want her to be able to get in touch with me, also for when she goes to a girlfriends house! Love it.
    As for boys. No way no how. We don`t have middle school but this kid will not be allowed to date until she is at least 16. At least, that is the plan for now")