‘Who’s running it?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know, this random kid just threw this little piece of paper at me and told me to pass it on.’
At this point in the conversation, because of the calm, reasonable and gracious mothering superstar that I am, I gently told my son...
No. I yelled.
‘You want me to let you go to a STREET PARTY in TOWN on a SCHOOL NIGHT with some KIDS YOU DON’T KNOW? Are you INSANE? You’re only 13 years old! Why would you even WANT to go? Don’t you care about your REPUTATION?’
And so on.
We then had to endure the eyes-rolling, clenched-teeth, you-suck-because-you’re-too-strict attitude that comes after you tell your teenage son he can’t do something his friends are apparently allowed to do, for the next few days.
Then yesterday after school he came home and said ‘Mum, you know that thing that was on last Thursday night in Tay Street? Well it’s on again for St Patrick’s Day. I brought the piece of paper home this time...’
I looked at the little slip of paper and said
‘Oh, Primal? I know Primal. That’s totally fine, you can go to this if you want to.’
When hubby got home, I said ‘Wiseguy wants to go to Primal youth group tomorrow night.’ He immediately said ‘Oh yea, sure. I’ll take you if you want, son.’
The boy was quite surprised. He’s spent the week thinking his parents are overly strict and never let him do anything fun. Now we go and change the rules? What’s up with that? How does he know what the rules are if we keep changing them?
This morning I talked to him about communication, and how important it is to choose the right words when communicating a message. How ‘Party on Tay Street with Some Kids I Don’t Know’ does not sound like something two loving parents want to send their teenage son off to do, but ‘Church Youth Group Event’ sounds perfectly reasonable. How we’re not actually too strict, we’re just trying to keep him safe as best we can.
And with that little lesson, I knew we had won. We’d kept our son safe, showed him who’s boss, then showed him how reasonable and fun we really were when it was something appropriate, and then to top it all off, turned the whole situation into a Life Lesson.
As he walked down the hall, I saw the look of satisfaction on his face as he told Neihana about the youth group party he’s going to tonight. And I realised he thinks he won.