Were You the ONLY Parent Who Said No?
Last night at dinner, after a glass or two of wine, several mothers in my orbit recounted the assorted times they refused to permit their progeny to do something or go somewhere, even when the child angrily protested, “Everybody else is!”
Just as kids can succumb to peer pressure, so too can parents feel coerced into making decisions that challenge their better judgment. From road trips to rock concerts (or road trips TO rock concerts!), there are always going to be endeavors that children and teenagers view as imperatives but that Mom or Dad find unduly risky, although other parents they respect seem to be on board with the plans.
One old friend of mine still talks about the time, a decade ago, when she wouldn’t let her 12th-grade son take an unchaperoned Caribbean spring-break trip with dozens of his prep school classmates. She and her husband saw it as a recipe for disaster and wouldn’t relent, even when the only other hold-out family finally caved in and let their daughter go. The vacationers lived to tell the story and now, when her son occasionally reminds her of all the last-hurrah-of-high-school fun that he missed out on, my friend wonders if she made the right decision. And she also wonders where she found the strength to stick by her guns.
I have another friend in similar straits today, getting the evil eye (and a hefty dose of “Everyone else is allowed ...”) from her 7th-grade daughter over where she can—and can’t— go swimming this summer without a parent present. So far my friend isn’t backing down ... buoyed this week by a total stranger in Trader Joe’s who overheard her, “It’s not safe, and you can’t go there, even if all your friends are going” cell phone conversation with the not-yet-13-year-old. “Good work, Mom!" the stranger chimed in.
So my question for CC parents (and, yes, there is one coming) ... is this:
Do you recall times when you said “No!” to a child even when all the other parents had relented? What was the situation? How did your child react? With hindsight was it the right choice? What advice do you have for other parents who feel that their own “No” is a lone voice in the wilderness?