I have a policy about driving with teenagers that I thought was pretty non-negotiable as far as boundaries go…until last week.
My 15 year old son was at his friend’s house to spend the night. His friend’s dog had a terminal illness and was not doing well and he wanted my son to stay over to keep him company. I checked in around 9pm to see what they had decided to do for the evening. He told me they went to the carnival in the next town over and when I asked if his friend’s dad took them, he said their 19 year old neighbor actually did.
When boundaries are crossed
This led to a long text (and eventual phone) conversation about the fact that he knows I don’t like him riding with teenagers, especially ones I don’t know. He explained to me that when he got over there earlier in the day, the dog had taken a turn for the worse and his friend was really upset. He asked what he could do to help him feel better and he said that going to the carnival would help him get his mind off of it. His neighbor had already asked him if he wanted to go, so in my son’s haste to support his friend, he did not remember to talk to me about it.
This left me in a real dilemma. I showed my husband the text discussion. Should we allow him to come home with the teenage neighbor? Should we pick him up ourselves? If so, should we say no to sleeping over his friend’s house because of this situation?
To bend or not to bend?
This was a really difficult decision, and I had to call in to my mind and heart all that I have learned about conscious parenting from Dr. Shefali and all the work I have done as a parent and to help other parents.
If we insist to pick him up, it will embarrass him but it will also reinforce my feelings about driving with teenagers I don’t know.
If we allow him to come home with the neighbor, will it show him that our boundaries are soft and he can violate them whenever he wishes?
What about the fact that his friend’s dog is not doing well?
My son told me that his friend’s parents were planning to put their dog down in three days when their other son got back from his trip out of town.
With this added information my husband and I, after doing a deep gut-check, said a prayer and we decided to allow him to come home with the neighbor who drove them there, and to sleep over his friend’s house, explaining that this was an exception to my rule given the situation about the dog. I explained to him that he may not fully understand but that he is my “precious cargo” and I will be nervous the entire time they are driving home (approximately 20 minutes) and to please text me as soon as they got home, which he did.
I thanked him, told him I was proud of him for being such a good friend and told him to have a good night. He said “Have a good night, Mom. I love you.”
Connection, connection, connection.
When you know you made the right decision
The next morning, my son texted me to tell me the dog had a terrible night and his friend’s parents just left to take her to the vet to have her put down. His friend did not want to go and was crying and my son was doing his best to keep him company and support him through this sad time.
My son made it home safely, he was there for his friend when he needed him the most, and our relationship deepened just a little bit more.
I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
Sometimes in parenting, the decisions are easy. But sometimes they are quite difficult, with many conflicting reasons to decide one way or another. At times like that, the best way I have found is to try to gather all of the information about the situation, and then go deep inside of yourself to see how the quiet little whisper of your intuition is guiding you. For when you listen to your intuition, it will never steer you wrong.
Do you sometimes feel like you’re too hard on your child, and other times, too soft? Parenting is hard, no doubt— but you can discover how to minimize parenting-related stress and crises, by learning how to create healthy boundaries, trust yourself, release blocks, and truly relate to your child. Join my friend and colleague, Christina Louise for her complimentary “Parenting for a Peaceful Home: Let Go of Worry and Confidently Raise Kids Who Thrive in the World” online video series to hear from 20+ authors, teachers, healers, therapists, and specialists (including me!). We’re coming together to offer practical advice on ADHD, practical spirituality, holistic health, wealth consciousness/attraction, peaceful parenting techniques, creating healthy work/life balance, and personal transformation, so you can be the Mom you’ve always wanted to be. And it’s FREE! Sign up here.