Friday, May 12, 2006

What are they thinking?

A friend of mine called tonight to firm up plans for Mother's Day dinner. Her family and mine are gathering on Sunday; the guys are going to be making dinner for the moms while the girls will be going out for manicures or a ceramics session (we have not decided which activity yet).

My girlfriend,s son has kindly offered to help watch the boys on Mothers Day. He is a well-rounded young man, a senior at the local high school, a track star, Sunday school teacher, youth leader at the parish, and has just been accepted to the Air Force Academy with special honors. All in all he is a special guy with a good head on his shoulders and a bright future ahead of him. He's the kind of boy that my boys stand in awe of....he owns REAL swords...has big muscles...and likes to play rough and tumble games with them. To my boys' chagrin...he ALSO has a girlfriend.

Tomorrow is prom for this young man and his many friends. Excitement is in the air and the youth are preparing dresses, shoes, hair and transportation. They are also planning pre-prom dinners, post prom parties, and co-ed sleepovers (pause and re-read that last item) Yes, you read that correctly: CO-ED SLEEPOVERS! All of the friends of this young man will be spending the night in backyard tents at the home of another friend. My girlfriend called me tonight for moral support after she announced to her son that he could NOT sleep over with his girlfriend at this friends house after prom. She proceeded to tell me that ALL of the parents are allowing their kids to sleepover....some of which are already engaging in sexual relations. "I am the mean mom, as usual." my friend lamented to me.

" Well, you know, they are all good kids." the host mother told my friend. " I'd rather have them here, safe at my house, than somewhere else where they may not be safe." My friend responded, " Well, we do not approve of co-ed sleepovers and would rather our son be in his own bed, in his own home. If he is too tired to drive, we will be happy to pick him up when things start to wind down."

OK. NOW. Are we the only ones who think that it is absolutely CRA-ZY to allow co-ed sleepovers on prom night? Have these parents forgotten how the hormones rage at that age? Have they completely lost any moral compass that gives them the sense to parent these....(sorry if this seems naive) children???? I for one have NOT forgotten how hard it is to be a teenager and boy do I remember the temptations! I had a boyfriend in high school, and if it weren't for my parents strict rules and high expectations, I could have EASILY gotten into trouble. Prom night was NO exception...I had to be in at post party...sleep-overs were unheard of. "Good kids" get tempted, they struggle and fight to do the right thing. But everyone has a limit and sponsoring a co-ed sleepover crosses that limit for most kids.

Today these kinds of post prom sleepovers are the norm. You are not a cool mom unless you allow your children to experience such an event. I backed my girlfriend 100% in her decision to not allow her son to sleepover. But the sad part is that I'm the only one she could call...the only one she knew that would understand her plight. What has happened in my town that a mom has to go searching for someone that holds her same morals on this behavior. And we wonder why abortion is prevalent, teenage pregnancy is prevalent, so many are filling their bodies with birth control hormones, girls are objectifying themselves, boys are objectifying girls, gang rapes, date rapes and on and on.........wanting your kids to be somewhere "safe" on prom night is a relative term when you think of the dangers that are lurking in your own backyard!

Wake up! Parents!!


Anonymous said...

I certainly can understand your outrage at the situation, but as someone who is much closer to the prom night age than the parent of a prom-goer (I am 27), I would like to give an opinion.

As a teenager, especially one of driving age, you can do whatever you want, even while staying within a curfew. By that age, the parents have either gotten through to their teenager or they haven't, and ensuring they are in their bed at 12:30 is not going to ensure they didn't do anything "bad" at 10pm.

I certainly acknowledge that this backyard camp-out seems a bit fishy. However my parents allowed me to stay out all night on prom night - they knew most of the kids in our (co-ed) group, and they trusted the parents of the host. But most of all, they trusted me. They had instilled enough love, or values, or guilt, or fear, or something, that they trusted me to do what I knew was right.

I just feel that your response, while it certainly may be justified in general, may vary from case to case. I would encourage all to strive for such a relationship with your teenager, that when it comes to prom night you can trust your teenager as much as you trust them on any other night.

Missy said...

Hi! I just found your blog and we have a lot in common! I thought I would use this post to place a comment. I totally agree. My parents didn't let me do what the other kids did on prom night either. They did let me stay out a little later than normal. I know a few people that use prom night as their night to lose their virginity. Even though kids are going to do what they want to we promote it? No way. You fight it tooth and nail. You send every message that you can, that it's not right.

I don't really see this as a matter of trust. I see it as teaching your teens to avoid temptations by setting boundaries. Someday they'll be setting their own boundaries. Setting boundaries is learned from home. I can still hear my mom say, "Don't eat that snack or you won't have room for dinner". I still avoid snacking before a meal.

Michelle said...

We promise to "avoid whatever leads me to sin" when we say an Act of Contrition. Young people need parents to help them avoid situations that are tempting. The mere fact that a teen thinks a co-ed sleepover is a good idea proves that they are not emotionally mature enough to understand how powerful lust is. It is not a question of not trusting a teen, it is knowing from experience what is a really bad idea. We don't encourage our teens to hang out with people who smoke or drink or do drugs, because if the friends do it, they will be tempted to do it too.

As someone whose friend had a baby at age 14, was sexually active by age 16, smoked, drank, did drugs...I can tell you that parents who "trust" their teens are making a huge mistake.