Having teen boys is both fun and entertaining but sometimes it can be stressful trying to find the medium. As my boys mold into men it is a constant challenge for me to find the balance between mommying them and letting them grow and learn life lessons on their own. I recently faced a challenge that was my hardest to date and wanted to share that and get some feedback.
My boys often will go down to our local park and play football with a bunch of kids from the nearby high school and middle school. I am one of those moms that constantly check up on them. Why? Because soon enough they will be out and away and I will not be able to check on them so while I can, I do. I also follow up on everything they do to ensure they are where they say they are and doing what they say they are doing. Why? Because I used to be a teenager. Last week my boys called to tell me they were going to the park to play football. About an hour later I rode by the park as I do every time just to peep out the scene. They were there with about 6 other guys sitting on a bench waiting for the rest of they guys to show up. I rode by and went about my business. I knew they would be there but I still come through so that they know "mom can roll up at anytime." I generally will check once and that is it but this day I thought I'd shake things up a bit. I decided to do a repeat drive by an hour or so later. This time I parked out of sight. I could see them they but could not see me.
Psycho? Naw, I just want to make sure my kids are not involved in any situations that they should not be. I parked my van about a block away and behind a tree lined area to begin my surveillance. The very first thing I noticed was our small town bad ass, we'll call him Aaron. My boys used to be friends with Aaron and his brother Danny until I found out they had been arrested many times and were really some bad kids with an unfit mother. So my boys have been instructed to no longer hang with those guys for about a year now. Problem is these boys walk to school too and live close by so they are around so to speak. So anyhoo I see Aaron. I am immediately pissed that Aaron is there. The next thing I notice is Aaron is smoking! And the next observation I make is Aaron is smoking weed. It was obvious from the way he held the joint. You do not hold a joint the same way you hold a cigarette.I was furious! I put my car in drive ready to roll up and cause havoc, call the law, show my ass that kinda thing.
Then I thought for a minute, put my car back in park and thought better to observe for a minute and see what my boys did. I was certain I would see them hit the weed. Not that I think they smoke at all but there was 12 guys there and I know peer pressure can be hell.
I watched Aaron make a big show of smoking the weed right there in public and then to my horror I saw him hold up the joint to my oldest son as if offering him a toke. My body went stiff as I waited to see what my son would do. Those two seconds were the longest two seconds of my life. I held my breath. My son shook his head "no". The boy seemed to persist that he give it a pull and still my son shook his head. Aaron then turned to my other son. Now this son is a goody-two-shoes so I knew he would say no especially if his older brother said no. As predicted my other son said No too.
Then an amazing thing happened I saw Aaron offer a hit to all the boys holding the joint up like anyone want some and they all said No. Not one taker in the entire group! That was my single most proudest parenting moment to date. I cannot explain the pride and love I felt when I saw both my boys say no to drugs in a park filled with guys. I was also proud for the other boys as well and proud that my boys are making good decisions not only about drugs but the company they keep. But I was also fuming at that lil bad ass Aaron for attempting to get my kids high. So I rolled up. I pulled up to the curb, the game stopped, all the boys looked at the van. Aaron immediately tried to drop the joint slickly by his side, hoping I did not see him. I rolled down my window and said "Aaron, go ahead pick it up! I know your smoking weed." He just kinda rolled his eyes. I said again "go ahead pick it up! Smoke it up! If your own mother don't give a damn about you down here getting high and you don't care about yourself why hide from me?" I was pissed I wanted to get out an whop Aaron's ass and go find his momma and beat her down as well. This is the type of kid that influences others to do bad things. I then said to him "I could care less about what you do but you keep that shit away from my kids!"
I then called my kids over to the car. I asked who had the weed and how many kids were down here smoking it. They told me two boys out of 12. Aaron and some other hispanic kid who had brought the weed to the park. I told warned them "you better not engage in this at all! You never know when I'm gonna roll up." They nodded and went back to play ball.
It was then the hardest parenting moment. I wanted so badly to get my kids in the car and take them home I did not want them around this. But I realized they have to face these types of challenges and make choices without me. They are young men now, not my little babies I can swoop up and keep safe watch over 24 hours a day. So against my bleeding heart I drove home and left them there. Hoping and praying that Aaron did not eventually wear them down. It was so hard to realize that I cannot protect them from this and god knows what else.
When my boys showed up for dinner I did a marijuana check, check the eyes smelled their fingers for the scent of smoke and even monitored how much dinner they ate. We talked about the situation and I told them I had been watching and say them say No. I was so very proud of them. I just hope they stay strong enough to keep saying no.
Wondering what other parents would have done in that situation?