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Were You the ONLY Parent Who Said No?

Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone 3012 replies1111 postsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
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?
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Replies to: Were You the ONLY Parent Who Said No?

  • MassmommMassmomm 3865 replies80 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I said no to the 8th grade Washington DC trip, but I wasn't the only one, and there were alternative field trips for the handful of kids who stayed home. I was not impressed by the schedule (too much in too little time), the lack of sleep, the provisions for keeping kids safe, or the parents who "won" the chaperone lottery. I have no regrets and my kids have had much better tours of DC for less money.

    Also said no to social dance in 5th grade because I thought it was ridiculous.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22473 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Many times. My daughter wanted to go to a condo at the beach after the prom with a group of her friends and I said no. No adults were going to be there, but one of the parents had rented the condo for the night. No.

    She was then asked to the prom by a guy in a different group of friends, and that group was all going to his lake house about 1.5 hours away. His parents were going to be there, and I also knew the family who lived next door and whose daughter was going to have another big group from the prom staying with her so I was comfortable with the amount of adult supervision. I said daughter could go, but couldn't be driven down by the date. Too dark, too late, roads too rural, and I was afraid of deer jumping out in front of the car. I was assured the dad was going to drive the group down, or at least be one of the drivers in the line of cars. Daughter did go and did come home safe.

    My kids are very used to me saying no.
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16617 replies66 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    No cell phones until they started drivers training and no the the senior trip to Mexico for S3 stick out the most for me and I have no regrets about my ability to say no.
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  • HImomHImom 34108 replies389 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2017
    The first time I had to be the heavy and say "no" was in grade school. One of the kids who lived near the school in 2nd grade invited S to go to his house with NO adults home. I said no and repeated it whenever a similar situation arose.


    In preschool, S was invited to a birthday party. I called the mother of the birthday kid and asked if there would be swimming -- answer: maybe -- and also whether my shy S knew any of the other kids invited (no). I let S make the choice and since he wanted to attend, I asked if I could come since S was not a confident swimmer. The mom said I was over protective but grudgingly said I could attend. There did turn out to be swimming in a huge pool with minimal to no supervision. No effort was made to engage S or help him get to know any of the other guests (who were all older and knew one another).



    I also said "No" when there was a class trip to D.C. with a teacher who didn't properly supervise kids here in HI (and ignored S all year)--instead we did a family trip to D.C. which we all enjoyed with my friend and her H and kids.


    Our kids are used to my saying no to questionable situations, and I think we're secretly relieved I was willing to be the heavy.
    edited June 2017
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12641 replies232 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2017
    Our HS has a special diploma program that requires a group international trip. I had to say no to that because of the cost. D understood, even though most all of her friends did go...and wore that cord at graduation.

    Sometimes I was the mom that said yes and sometimes i was the mom that said no. I was never always one or the other. Sometimes, I changed my answer when given new information or plans changed, though not for being asked repeatedly. One time her group of friends planned a camping trip and at first wanted to "just camp in the state forest". I said no, but if they'd reserve a proper site at the official campground in the state park she could. So they made that change.
    edited June 2017
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  • MassmommMassmomm 3865 replies80 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @HImom, a preschool party with swimming and only one adult??!! That mother is lucky nothing tragic occurred! Wow.
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  • HImomHImom 34108 replies389 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    She said I need to allow S at 4 years of age to develop "street smarts." To me, you need a LOT of supervision if you're having young kids in or near water and I attended all parties my kids went to with any body of water until they were teens.

    S literally knew no one but Birthday girl at the party. The other kids were siblings of kids who were in the Bday girl's older sibbling's sports teams.

    I am very careful with kids and water. I have witnessed near drownings and they can happen in fractions of a second--very scary. Fortunately it only resulted in scary dunkings, but still, life is precious.
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  • gclsportsgclsports 476 replies17 postsRegistered User Member
    Last week, S who is a rising high school senior was invited to a party with a group of friends from grade school that he still hangs with. It is a pretty tame group of mostly straight and narrow kids. Except for one, who Has a hellraising streak in her, and she had told the other kids she would bring beer. S was upfront about the presence of alcohol when he asked permission to go, but said he didn't intend to drink and that it would be "fine" because the host parents were insisting that everyone spend the night. We said no.

    We believed S when he said he didn't intend to drink. But the presence of alcohol at a party for 17 year olds alone, whether or not S planned to drink any of it, was enough for us to say no. S is on academic scholarship and on a sports team at his high school. A pic on social media of him standing next to a kid holding a beer would have been enough, if seen by the wrong person, to lose his scholarship and / or for him to be prohibited from playing on the team. And having 17 year old girls and boys spend the night together, especially if they have been drinking, sounded like a bad idea. Plus given what we know about host parents, we were surprised they would let that happen, which made us question whether they actually knew about the party and or whether they would be home to supervise.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 3989 replies27 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2017
    "Nos" said in my house -- no game system until high school; no attending the party which another kid bragged about was bringing alcohol to, in 10th grade; no college spring break trip to Florida, Mexico etc; no driving with friends who have had their license less than 1 year. There were many more, but those are some of the flash points I remember.
    edited June 2017
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7942 replies158 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Probably the most recent example was a week or two ago. One of my daughter's friends was having a party: everyone goes to the movies, then a sleepover.

    I know the parents; it was fine until I asked the name of the movie and its rating.

    Once I realized it had an R rating, the answer changed to "You can go to the sleepover after the movie, but you're not seeing something R rated."

    As luck would have it, she had an ear infection that night and was home in pain, waiting for the antibiotics to kick in; she missed the whole thing.

    But it happens all the time. Sorry, sweetheart, but I'm your mom and we're going with my gut, not your friends or their parents.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9032 replies490 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 2017
    With our nerdy, academic daughter, this rarely happened. But we have had several of these conversations with my son, and no, I don't regret it. If hubby or I said no, there was a very good reason. My usual response to "everyone else is" is usually "I don't care about anyone else. I care about you."
    edited June 2017
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  • InigoMontoyaInigoMontoya 1699 replies7 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    No laptops, TVs, or gaming systems in bedrooms.
    No cell phones until starting at a high school that was 40 minutes away, and then only messaging phones until 18.
    No spending the night at a friend's house until I spoke with the parents first.
    No parties until I verified the presence of adult chaperones.
    No cell phones in the bedroom at night (all sit on a charger downstairs overnight).
    No trampoline (OK, on this one we were saying no to Grandma buying one for the kids).

    Middle school field trips, high school trips for xcountry, Model UN, senior trip to Disney, school sponsored trip to Europe - I was fine with those as I knew the chaperoning arrangements. I did find it entertaining that all the middle school parents freaked out when they found out their kids would not be allowed to take phones on the trip - they couldn't imagine how their child would survive without a phone, even though it was a ratio of 4 students to each adult. Didn't bother me since my kids didn't have phones in middle school!

    I was appreciative of the after-prom overnights since we lived so far away from school. But again, I knew the parents organizing the overnights would keep a watchful eye.

    That said, there were a lot of things I said "yes" to, including beach weekends and camping trips, that others might not have been OK with. Given my kids heavy involvement in scouting and outdoors activities, and the group of friends they went on these activities with, I was OK with their plans even though the groups were sometimes co-ed.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 37844 replies2065 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    We told my son (the social one) that he couldn't go to a post-prom party where he admitted kids would be drinking. We told him we would have an alcohol-free party at our house. We gave him some money for refreshments and decoration, and he added about $200 of his own. A bunch of kids said they would come. Exactly ONE did. S heard that kids didn't want to come to the alcohol-free party. :( So I guess there were only two sets of parents who said no, or didn't ask any questions about what would happen at the party.
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