Halloween. The day was fun when my children were small, but not when they were older. Maybe you enjoyed the day when your kids were young, too, but now … everything’s different. Your son used it for an excuse to go out and drink with his friends – or worse. Your daughter planned to sneak off and meet up with that boy you know is bad news or smoke pot with her friends while they’re out trick or treating.
Now you dread the night. If you’re child is a minor, you feel like you have to be the bad guy – again. Your child will treat you that way when you ask those annoying, oh-so-hard questions: “Who’s going with you? Where are you planning to go? You’re wearing that? When will you be home? Who is __________?”
Then there’s the oh-so-tough boundaries you have to remind them about – and enforce, even if you don’t feel like it: “No, you can’t go there.” “I’d rather you not be with them.” “No, you can’t ride in their car.”
You can do this … but you can’t do that. This isn’t the best idea … that sounds risky. “You need to work on making another plan, please.” Ugh.
Be sure your rules, expectations, and consequences are clear. Mutually understood. A good idea we found is to write them out and agree on what they are ahead of time.
It’s because we love our children that we do these things. We want to keep them safe. If only we could.
We do everything we can think of or that we’ve heard others have done. Sometimes it works. Other times it doesn’t. It’s a crap shoot.
Will something happen? Will your phone ring late in the night when they don’t come home on time? Could there be bad news on the other end? We never know.
An older, wiser parent once told me, “Our kids are so smart. One way or the other, if they want to badly enough, they’ll find a way to do that thing you’re trying so hard to protect them from.”
Thanks a lot. That’s not what I wanted to hear.
How will you cope with the stress of the evening and other similar nights? With the worry? The anxiety?
Here are 5 tips that helped me: