So now that Alyssa is almost thirteen (she’s only a week from being an official teenager!) I guess I should loosen the reigns.
I think that’s what is expected of me.
And yet…I can’t. Not yet. I feel like she still needs me in so many little ways.
She was invited to a friend’s house on New Year’s Eve. The friend’s mom, Stacy, called me to let me know that she wasn’t going to be at home that evening. She knows I’m not likely to let Alyssa go to anyone’s house if a parent/adult isn’t going to be there.
Alyssa was invited to spend the night. The friend, Thea, and another friend, Sabrina, were going to be there along with Thea’s older sister, who is nineteen and the older sister’s boyfriend.
Ugh. I didn’t like that scenario at all.
But I relented. I told Lyss that she could go for the evening but I didn’t want her to spend the night. I planned to pick her up at 10pm. I told her that while I’m sure the nineteen year old and her boyfriend are very responsible, they’re still teenagers too and I really wasn’t comfortable with her spending the night in a house where there was no adult present for most of the night.
I think she was a little disappointed but I’m lucky that she’s a glass half full kind of kid and realized she was probably lucky I was letting her go at all.
When I got to the friend’s house to pick Lyss up that night, she informed me that the sister and boyfriend had actually left the house at least an hour before I got there. The three thirteen year olds were there alone.
Okay…breathe. I know that a lot of thirteen year olds are perfectly capable of being home alone. I really do know this. And actually, Alyssa is one of those kids who is very responsible. But she’s also never actually been left alone before and I think she as just a little freaked that they were there alone.
I’m all for letting kids spread their wings and become independent. But I would like this to happen in as controlled environment as possible. Is that even possible?
It’s so hard to know kids’ limits, even your own kids.
When I was thirteen I was home alone every single day babysitting an eight year old and a five month old. I wouldn’t expect that of Alyssa though. Not because she wouldn’t be capable, but well, because I don’t have to expect it of her. In our house, she gets to be young, a kid, a little longer.
And I’m okay with being the overprotective mom. Alyssa has mentioned a few times that there is only one other mom among her friends’ mom who is as protective as I am. And that mom is probably the one I feel the most connected to, the one I’d be most likely to be friends with even if we didn’t have kids who liked each other so much.
So I count that as a positive in my favor for how I’m parenting my daughters.