I had my first fight with the Teenager last night. I imagine it won't be the last, but, being the step-mom, it's kind of an odd situation. Unfortunately, I do not have the support of the bio-parents in the current kafuffle, so I have to back down of course, and let them make this decision. It's really frustrating, because I believe it is wrong and has potentially longer term consequences.
So, here goes. Feel free to tell me I'm overprotective, controlling, silly, a worrywort, whatever. If you think I'm on track, that would be nice to hear too. But basically I think I'm looking for a reality check. And also I want to share this difficult situation with parents who haven't reached this oh-so-joyous stage of parenting yet. Maybe it will serve as a heads-up for what is to come. (I apologise in advance for the nightmares.)
The deal is, the Teenager has been invited to a friend's cottage for a long weekend at the start of March Break (i.e., today). This would normally be our weekend with him, so he asked us for permission last week. We said yes, under certain conditions. This included a set of obvious things like parental supervision, contact info, knowing who he's with, etc. I mean, he's 15. I didn't want to spend the weekend with my parents when I was 15. I get it. He should be able to do this.
The problem is, we don't know the family. At all. Neither does his Mom. No one has met or spoken to the parents. The boys are 15 and there will be 6 of them, with the parents (he says) at a cottage about 3 hours away from here, for 3 nights. His Mom I think has at least met the 6 boys.
Am I nuts to think we should at least speak with the parents before we let them take our 15 year old son away for the weekend? Are we not responsible for his welfare? Should we not worry about these people we have never met having responsibility for our child (granted, a big child, but a child still - I think)?
Well, in the (rather harsh and violently delivered) words of the Teenager "that is just not done." Oh really? You don't say? He refuses to "allow" us to call the parents. And my hubs and his ex-wife have given in to him. Because he says it would be embarrassing if we called. Huh?
Perhaps I'm not trusting enough. Of my kid or of the kindness of strangers. (I also do not get the feeling that he knows the parents well either.) Perhaps there is a niggling doubt in my mind as to whether or not this is really what is happening this weekend. Where are they really going? What is he hiding? Or, perhaps, this is really just a long-buried guilty conscience from all the times I lied to my parents about my whereabouts when I was a teenager. (Sorry Mom!)
He is a normal teenager trying to establish his independence and identity. But we are still his parents and there have to be rules and expectations and respect (on both sides, I agree). This to me is a very straightforward situation. We don't know them. He is only 15. We get to speak with the supervising parents, confirm the details of the weekend, where they'll be, our expectations of supervision, etc. Or he doesn't get to go. Period. He can make that call.
By allowing him, rather than us, to dictate the conditions of this weekend trip, what are we setting up for the future?
Or is 15 way older than I think it is? Am I being an over-protective neurotic parent? What would you do?