Apparently I'm the most overprotective parent EVER

<p>Daughter, 15, has a new friend, 17, who lives about 1.5 hours away by car. I haven't met the friend. Her family life sounds less than ideal, but this is hearsay. Yesterday, the friend came to our town to visit, via Greyhound bus. The mother was not aware, nor did she ask where and how the child was planning to spend her day. My daughter says I'm "weird" to want to know where my kids are "every minute" and that her friend's mom is more the norm. How convenient. </p>

<p>My daughter wants to take Greyhound for a day trip to her friend's city. I've told her I don't feel it is safe. Her solution to that is Fine then, you should be willing to drive me there every other weekend. </p>

<p>My daughter to this point always is where she says she'll be. She does well in school and doesn't use drugs, etc. She is also surly and awfully entitled. She has a high percentage of friends with seemingly irresponsible parents. I'm not sure where on the range of doormat and overbearing I sit. </p>

<p>Do you meet all of your kids' friends? Am I supposed to try and stop someone else's kid from doing something I wouldn't want my kid to do (realizing we're not talking about Russian roulette or experimenting with heroin here)?</p>

<p>Am I responsible for trying to track down the mother's phone number and ask if she knows that her kid has traveled here and whether that is okay with her?</p>

<p>Is it okay for a 15 year old kid to take a Greyhound bus to a somewhat rough city?</p>

<p>Should I instead be an accommodating chaffeur to her long distance social life? </p>

<p>Boarding school sounds really attractive.</p>

<p>Tiredparent, under no circumstances would I permit a 15 year old to travel by greyhound to a city that she does not know well, and to a destination that is somewhat questionable. Yes, I met all friends, and still meet them even today (by enthusiastic invitation). </p>

<p>Drive there every weekend? Um, no. They can do IM, email, telephone, etc. Perhaps an overnight visit or two over holidays, breaks, etc.</p>

<p>Watch out for boarding schools. Some of them don't really pay that much attention. My D's boarding school (in Tacoma) let them go--in pairs--to Seattle for the day any Saturday (by bus, about 1 1/2 hours).</p>

<p>I don't think you're overprotective. OTOH, I don't think it's unreasonable for someone to take a bus to another city--if the parents know she's coming, if she'll be met at the bus, if I know what bus she's coming back on (and missing any of these three would mean the deal is off). (As my mother used to say "I am not (blank)'s mom. Deal with it.")</p>

<p>Is friend female or male? Is this in any way about sex? How did they meet in the first place? </p>

<p>If the friend's life is not ideal--and it sounds that way--perhaps having her come to you would be the better choice. Many of my son's and daughter's friends' parents were oblivious--didn't mean they weren't good people (the kids). </p>

<p>As for whether you should call the other mom, sure, but make it a friendly call. Say how much you liked meeting the daughter and look forward to her visiting again.</p>

<p>How did your daughter meet this new friend?
I haven't met all my teenager's friends but I do know how she is acquainted with each of them (school, church youth group, through a mutual friend, etc.), where they attend school, etc.
I like to know where my kids are, I expect a phone call with change of venue.
(I was also the 'only' parent who observed the graduated passenger laws in our state and the midnight teen driving curfew!)</p>

<p>How did your D meet this friend if the friend lives 1.5 hours away? </p>

<p>I don't know the parents of most of my S's friends because they go to a large public school that draws students from a large area. It is impossible to know them all. However, all of his friends live within 10 miles of home and S can drive himself to their homes. </p>

<p>I took a Greyhound bus alone on a 6 hour trip when I was 19. I was pretty nervous and uncomfortable the whole trip. I was a country girl from a small town so it was a new scary experience for me. I made it there and back fine but would not have wanted to do it at 15. Most bus stations are not in great areas of cities and a naive 15 year old traveling alone could easily get in trouble. </p>

<p>I definitely wouldn't be the accomadating chauffeur either.</p>

<p>TiredParent~</p>

<p>You are NOT overbearing of excessively overprotecting, at least in my opinion! ;) I also have a 15-year-old daughter, and I would not allow her to travel to what I consider a "somewhat rough" city 1.5 hours away. End of discussion.</p>

<p>My 15-year-old can be a bit demanding too, at times, and my dh thinks she is the most maintenance heavy kid we have in terms of her expectations for chaffeuring (and he's right), but even so, for US to take her to her "far away friends'" houses requires a 15 minute trip into the neighboring city (and the return, of course). </p>

<p>Aside from the considerable time issue, it seems that you have some concerns about this friend in terms of her family and "who's minding the store." I don't blame you a bit. I am the exact same way, and I would not hesitate to let any of my kids know if I disapprove of a friend or of a situation. Looking out for the safety and welfare of your child is NOT being overprotective or unreasonable.</p>

<p>If I were in this same situation, I'd let my child know that she could conduct this primarily as on online friendship (email and chat, or whatever). IF the girl is able to visit your house at an agreed upon time, fine. But you can explain to your daughter that you are simply NOT comfortable with her going THERE as you do not know the parents or even the girl all that well (and you are uncomfortable with the town).</p>

<p>My prediction for this friendship is that it will end soon enough. Usually, if your child meets someone who is very different or whose family is somehow not acceptable to you, the kid sees the light soon enough. At least that's the way it's always been with my kids. My kids have had several friends over the years who were "one way" friends...they were welcome here, but I would not allow my kids to go to their homes for whatever reason. They always accepted my decision, and usually thanked me for it later.</p>

<p>Stick to you guns; you're doing FINE. Your teen is NOT going to LIKE everything you do or every decision that you make. My rule of thumb is always the classic...I act according to my best judgment at the time. It is really all you can do.</p>

<p>Hang in there...~berurah</p>

<p>I think that you have every right to know where your daughter is every minute of every day (though it really bothered me when my Mom did it to me years ago). That said, if your very responsible daughter wants to go to visit her friend and wants to take a bus to do so, that's not necessarily a problem. I would make sure to talk to the friend's parents before your daughter goes to spend the weekend with them, both to get a feel for what the weekend might include and their involvement in those plans, and also to make sure that someone is picking up your daughter from that bus station!</p>

<p>There is nothing at all wrong with being a responsible parent, especially when the other parents don't seem to be living up to the standards of parental responsibility that you think are appropriate.</p>

<p>I would have (and did) let my kids travel alone when they were 15, provided they either knew what they were doing when they got to their destination or were going to be met. Not Greyhound, per se, but trains to NYC & Boston. I think 15-year-olds can handle themselves pretty well. (Last spring, my son, then 16, was doing some college visits himself. He got lost in semi-downtown Providence RI when he realized he had no idea where the Amtrak station was. He called up a friend who was home, had the friend get on Google Maps, and got himself oriented, with directions, in about three minutes. Then, and only then, did he call me to tell me everything was going great.)</p>

<p>I think it's by far the best thing to meet (and, one hopes, to know) your children's friends. But I have had to compromise on that somewhat, recently, as my son has a number of friends who live in a different part of the city, and they tend to meet up to do things there. I've (just barely) met most of those kids, but I don't feel I know them at all, not to mention their parents. I pretty much trust my son, though, and I watch and listen carefully for any sign of trouble.</p>

<p>And . . . all that said, I don't think it's wrong at all to limit visits to a friend you don't know in a different city, when you don't have any reason to trust the friend's parents. We have said "No" to things like that, without feeling overprotective at all.</p>

<p>Another vote on the side of "no, you are not being overprotective". Through high school I knew who my kids' friends were and many of the parents. They did not stay overnight at homes where I had not talked with parents. I was one of the few (according to my kids) who did not let them take the car and go out of town until they had minimum of 1.5 yrs. driving experience with no citations. I also enforced the graduated driver's license where many of friends' parents didn't, with the attitude that if the kid was caught, they would pay. My feeling was #1 -obey the law and #2 it was the law for safety reasons.</p>

<p>Back to OP. I would not let my 15 yo D. travel to another city alone via public transportation unless I knew the parent on the other end and knew that she would be met by that parent.</p>

<p>Thank you all for taking the time to read today's rant. ;-)</p>

<p>Daughter met this girl online, and yes it is a "romantic" relationship. </p>

<p>I have such a hard time with my child not liking me, and I know I shouldn't. Deep down I know I'm not unreasonable, though as someone who desperately tries to avoid confrontation, I have an extra tough time with this stubborn daughter who feels the universe revolves around her. Her dad and I are divorced and she refuses to speak to him; my parents are supportive but she's decided she wants nothing to do with them either, so I have no other adult help to lean on with her. </p>

<p>I do have a fear that if I don't let her go, she'll go anyway, though she hasn't defied me before (partly because I rarely say no!). I'd be willing to pay the other girl's bus ticket for her to come here each time (because apparently she has no money) as opposed to my daughter going there. Again, it can be difficult to "police" her as a single parent, though I do a very good job of staying on top of things. When I told her she wasn't allowed to take the bus nor would I drive her on HER schedule (though offered to drive her to the girl's city at some point), she very quietly said "well, I'm going."</p>

<p>i think you need to make the trip at least once, see where the bus stop is, how D would get from there to friend house, etc...cause I am going to make a prediction. that NOW you D is where she is supposed to be, but as she gets older, she will not be...</p>

<p>I was SURE my D has said she and friends were at a movie but went to a bonfire, but she smelled like camp fire when she came home, I said, hmmmm, you smell marvelous and I asked what was up...she said she did go to the bonfire, cause when they met to go to movie, they changed their minds....I didn[t care she went, but she realized she should have told me change of plans...if she had spent the night elsewhere, I would never have known. The bonfire would have been fine, but she needed to communicate that. I always (i thought) knew where D was, but learned, not always the case, but I would prefer honesty to trying to hide the truth</p>

<p>The point I am trying to make is she may not in the future be honest where she( is she a sophmore- that is the danger year) is if she REally wants to see this girl, and at this point, you don't have many facts...if you show her the icky bus stop...you haven't seen the home, nore the parents, so I really think you should make the drive once at least</p>

<p>that way if D does go ahead and visit against your wishes while telling you she was in town shopping and a movie, you know where house is, bus stop is, etc....</p>

<p>My Ds have mostly responsible friends (they can get very dingy though)- some I have known for years and the parents still call, others, never met the parents, but the parents all have my cell #, so kids know I can be called anytime</p>

<p>Is there anything in that town you can do to keep busy for 3-4 hours? Like movies, shopping, museums, say once a month? </p>

<p>Just a thought, but I don't think you are being too overbearing...as I said, age 15 is the danger age, past being naive freshman, but not old or mature enough to see long term consequences...and college is too far away to be concerned with...</p>

<p>This situation, I do think a compromise is necessary- a once a month trip is a good deal for you both, but for sure meet the mom...</p>

<p>I would not put a minor child in a situation that I reasonably believed might be dangerous no matter how many people do it. Thus, I would not let a 15-year-old travel alone to a "somewhat rough city" if she is unfamiliar withe the city and no adult is expecting her. My concern is with the destination rather than with letting a minor child travel alone. Many people live in somewhat rough cities but they learn from experience what areas to avoid and they have assistance from adult friends or family if they need help. Your daughter does not have that experience or assistance.</p>

<p>It's your choice whether you act as chauffeur for your daughter. I would willingly spend my time driving a child somewhere if I thought it was a worthwhile activity. I am equally willing to say no to activities that aren't a good idea. You - not your daughter - should make this decision.</p>

<p>For legal reasons, I would contact the friend's mother if she shows up at your home but I would not let her visit unless prior arrangements had been made. Your daughter should clear any visits with you so you can call the friend's mother in advance - at least until a routine is established that is comfortable for everyone.</p>

<p>If your daughter consistently picks friends who are troubled and/or whose families are troubled, it is a red flag.</p>

<p>EDIT: I posted without realizing you had made a further comment. You have a complicated situation. You might want to talk to a counselor.</p>

<p>I was travelling all over the world alone starting at age 15 or so. I even got into a few iffy situations. If it were me, I'd take your child to visit the friend and insist on meeting the friends family. What I would do from there would depend on what I thought of the friend and the family. I might choose to teach my child to use the bus and visit occassionally,(probably not as often as every other weekend), or I might not.</p>

<p>Big difference between a 17 year old and a 15 year old in terms of maturity and life experiences. 15 year old just starting high school, 17 year old looking to college/work. Also, use of public transportation as a viable method of getting around differs from area of the country and urban/suburban/rural. Some grew up doing this from an early age (particularly in big city northeastern), for others, it is completely unheard of for a kid to do this. As others have mentioned, bus stations can tend toward the unsavory. </p>

<p>Trust your instincts as they are probably better than a 15 year olds. If your comfortable with the kid, invite her back to your house and maybe drive her back home so you can meet the parents, see where she lives, etc. I would also insist that if she comes back to your house, her parents must be informed. Great excuse for quick, friendly parent chat.</p>

<p>Think about it this way, how many times as parents have we sat through practices, school projects, dumb movies for our kids...</p>

<p>think of this as one of those times...I have dropped my kids off at concerts, and to ride home and come back, not worth the time, so I went to a book store, had a snack, read my books and napped in my car with other parents who waited</p>

<p>If you tell D that once a month you will take her for 4hours, that is a movie, a bookstore, we parents have driven further and waited around for lots of stuff that is incovienent, and its not giving in, it a way of showing you love her, but also are the parent</p>

<p>Another vote for the drive your D for first visit compromise.</p>

<p>My D in middle school thought we were very strict parents. By the end of HS we were reclassifed by D as firmly middle of the pack. Based on the trouble other HS kids she knew got into, I think she viewed our level of strickness as a good thing. To be fair, D was always an easy teenager, ready and willing to negotiate a compromise win/win position.</p>

<p>TP:
by 'romantic' do you mean sexual? I would not be comfortable allowing a 15yr old to meet with a 17yr old, with whom she began an online relationship. It is a big age difference, especially if the friend is coming from an unsupervised environment.</p>

<p>I'm not a parent, but adding to what gla already said, perhaps you should be restricting your kid's internet access--who knows who else she is meeting online and trying to meet in real life. There are a lot of creepy people out there!</p>

<p>You hit immediate warning flags in my Mom-radar.<br>
1. "met online".... this girl says she's 17. Who knows who and what she is. A 15 year old shouldn't be meeting unsupervised with anyone they meet online.<br>
2. "romantic" relationship. Even if the girl really is only 17 this is a huge red flag. Most reasonable parents wouldn't let their 15 year old daughters visit a just-met 17 year old boy in another city with unknown supervision.<br>
I agree with bluealien. Your first job is to check out what she's been up to online. Insist that she show you her "MySpace" or whatever she's using. Click on all her "friends" and scroll to their vital statistics, are they teens from your town, or sound like kids you know? Or are they adults from other places? If you find anything that concerns you, track back through her comments back and forth with these "friends".<br>
Sorry if I sound paranoid, but this has been a big topic lately at the school where I work and could easily be a dangerous situation. Kids that age think they are invincible and everyone is who they say they are....</p>

<p>You are not overreacting. Offer to host the new friend. That way, you also can keep an eye on things and might even serve as a good influence to a kid who seems to lack good parental oversight. Don't, however, allow your D to travel to see that friend.</p>

<p>You are right that thoughtful, caring parents would not send their kid on a bus or even drop off a kid to see a friend whose parenting seemed questionable.</p>