Author Topic: Hypothetical teen parenting question  (Read 1985 times)

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AylaM

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Hypothetical teen parenting question
« on: January 14, 2013, 03:14:24 AM »
I was watching a show earlier and in the show a teenager daughter leaves without permission and the dad is continuously telling her she can't go as she storms out the door.  It was one a question of "what would I do if my (non-existant) kid did that?".  I've thought of it before because my sister once tried to pull a similar stunt.  But I didn't have a good answer. 

So the short version of the question is:  once you teen decides they aren't going to listen and they leave anyways, what do you do? This exists in the case where you know the kid isn't trying to run away, but is just going somewhere without permission. 

I tried use Google first, but all my results were about kids wanting to move out or running away (permanently).  So I decided to ask here.

The longer version is:

So at about 13 or 14 my sister had wanted to spend the night over at a friends house, and was given permission so long as she cleaned her room.  The time to leave rolls around and my parents looked at her room and decided that she couldn't go because she hadn't even tried to clean her room.  She tried to get them to change their minds (and eventually cleaned her room) but was still told she could no longer go because she didn't meet her end of the bargain. So she grabbed her stuff, screamed that she was going anyways, and walked out the door.

She waited on the corner of the street for my parents to pick her up and take her over to her friend's house.  They did not and she came home (and dad was watching her from the front porch the whole time).  Now her friend didn't really live close enough to walk to easily, but it was within the realm of possibility if she really wanted to go.  Luckily in this instance she was just hoping to get her way and she folded when our parents didn't.

But what do you do if your teen just goes, without your permission?  If I recall this was her first and last act of rebellion of this nature, but I personally would not have known what to do.  She was small, so I would think if it came down to it dad could have taken her home even if she did put up a fight.  But that somehow seems wrong to me.  Someone could get hurt that way and I'm not sure what laws say about physically restraining teens to bring them home.

So, what would you do if your teen just walked out without permission? 

NyaChan

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 03:39:31 AM »
Assuming that they truly aren't going to run away, I'd let them know the consequences of leaving without permission - grounding/loss of privileges/etc.  If they were going for something like a sleepover and I was close to the family (don't like airing dirty laundry in front of strangers), I'd call the parents of the friend and inform them that my kid didn't have permission to sleepover and to please send them home.  If I can't get them back in the house without making a scene or using force, then I'd allow them to choose to leave despite the warnings and then follow through on the consequences when they returned.

But I don't have kids, so there you go :) 

cicero

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 04:29:05 AM »
as usual - it depends.

If the teen is going to do something that *under normal circumstances they would be allowed to do* but were not allowed to do today because (they didn't complete their end of the bargain/it was raining/etc), and the teen was screaming and slamming doors - i would probably let them leave, blow off steam, and talk about it later. so in the case of your sister - since normally she would have been allowed to go to the friend, I would have let her have her little tantrum, let her go blow off steam, and then talk it out.

If the teen was going to do something that they were not allowed to do, and it was dangerous/illegal/unwise (in my opinion) - then i would do whatever it took to stop them and/or bring them home. so if my teen was sneaking out to go marry their boy friend at age 16, or going to a concert that i did't want them to be at, or going to a party where i knew parents weren't there and there was going to be under age drinking -then i would do whatever it takes to get the child in the house.


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bopper

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 10:05:40 AM »
I have a sort of funny example of this in our family....


My eldest was in high school.   They had 2 weeks off for spring break.  She wanted to study for her end of year exams.  I was wanting to do something and as we were living in Germany at the time I suggested that we drive to Austria and stay on a house on a lake for 3-4 days.  I thought that would be perfect as she could stay at the house and study without distractions and we could take little day trips.
Well she thought that was a terrible idea. I think she wanted to study (yes actually study) with her boyfriend over the break and didn't want to be stuck alone in the hotel/house.  So she packed a bag and started walking toward the bus stop.She said she would stay with her boyfriend's family, she was NOT GOING.  We chased her down and picked her up and ended up staying home for spring break.

MOM21SON

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 08:33:48 PM »
AH, when I was about 16-17, I was not a legal adult yet.  And my father had supplied me with a brand new sports car to drive.  I am telling you, I knew it all.  Well, I was to be home by midnight, every night, weekends included.  I obeyed for awhile, then I was going to show him and my step mother who was boss.

I went off on a Friday night to my cousins house, she was about 10 years older, divorced and 2 kids.  I respected my dad enough to tell him where I was going ::)  At about 1 am, we saw a car pull up and it was my dad.  He never knocked or anything, he simply got in my car and drove away!  My step mother pulled out right behind him!

I was stuck for about 4 days, cousin didn't even have a car!  My best friend was not allowed to drive to cousins city, which was about 30 minutes away. 

I can't even remember how I finally got home. But I do remember that the car was GONE!  Sold, never to return. 

And I lost my job for not coming to work.

About a year later when I turned 18 and graduated he bought me a real junker. 

Yeah, I showed him how grown I was!

Jones

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 09:00:59 PM »
I had a miscommunication with my parents at 17: I understood that my curfew on school nights was 9 PM, except when I was closing at work, and I had to tell them that schedule. Weekends was midnight. One night after school I went to my then-boyfriend's cousin's place to hang out with everyone. Around 7 ish a police officer came in looking for me, as my parents called the police to tell them I hadn't come home after school. They knew where I was...officer made sure I was OK, told me to go home, and I think told them they needed to communicate better with me when he saw how totally flummoxed I was that they called the police before my curfew.

They called the police several times on my sister running away. She actually got put in the detention facility for a few weeks as a multiple offender (runaway), part of that had to do with her drug test turning up positive though. Yes, my parents ran drug tests if they felt it necessary.

I will make it clear to my daughter that I will call the authorities if I feel it necessary, however once she's paying her own bills, setting her own schedule and still keeping up her own grades (as I was in my story) I don't plan on needing to call the police.

Iris

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 11:41:19 PM »
MOM21SON - I love your dad. That's some quality sticking-to-guns right there.

I'm going to add a 'depends' to the growing list. Like your sister, most kids who storm out aren't really going anywhere and I would probably pretty much do what your dad did; make sure they are safe but give them time to cool down and assess the situation.

OTOH I have a student whose parents physically locked her in the house (with them) one time when she announced that she was going out and they couldn't stop her - certainly not something I'd normally advocate AT ALL, but this girl was on a seriously bad self destructive path. [Happy ending for those who like to know; they've really managed to turn her around. She'll never be the poster child for ideal daughter, but she'll do fine.]
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Sophia

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 12:12:07 AM »
Parents don't have to provide cars, or cell phones or potato chips or soda or computer access or pretty posters on the wall or access to after-school activities or non-ugly-clothing.  Some of that list would go away (not trashed but put out of reach) the first time it happened.  All of that list and few more would go away if major defiance happened again. 

Slartibartfast

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 01:24:02 AM »
I think the big thing is access to a car - taking that away from a teenager drastically reduces the amount of trouble they can get into (barring a sympathetic friend with their own transportation who is willing to come pick your teenager up).  That would be the first step for me, if it really came to a case of parental chicken.

The thing is, though, it's NEVER possible to have a "winning" strategy for 100% of the things kids could do.  No matter how you punish them, you're always counting on the fact that the kid is a reasonable human being who will take a logical look at the consequences and back down when it becomes reasonable to do so.  If you make it all about "winning" - as in "ha ha I made you do something you didn't want to do" - you push them to do something more irrational, like physical violence or running away.  Juvenile detention facilities and "military schools" (basically the same but for kids who aren't under arrest) are pretty much the end of the line, for when your teen values getting his/her way over making logical choices.

Even time-outs, for younger children, fall into the same pattern: it's all well and good if they work, but what if they don't?  Fine, catch the kid and put them back in the corner - what if they won't stay there?  Fine, spank them and then put them back in the corner - what if they hit you back and run?  Fine, spank them again and hold them in the corner until they give up - what if they won't stop?  Etc. etc. etc.  Some parents think of the whole chain of possible behavior and decide not to even try.  Others find that their kid tests boundaries for a while and eventually gives up and stays in the stupid corner.  A few discover that nothing they can do will make their kid choose to stay in time-out, and they have to find another method of discipline.  The best way to make time-outs work is to not have that rare kind of kid  :-\

Girly

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 09:23:08 AM »
What you hypothetically would do, and what you actually do were you really in the situation are usually two totally different things, I have found, when it comes to my son.

There have been so many times that I've said 'oh I'll never do XXX' or 'if he ever does YYY I'm doing ZZZ' and the situation arises, and goes completely different than I think I would have handled it.

Adelaide

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 09:36:41 AM »
My brother was like this. He would pitch fits if he didn't get his way, and threaten to go anyway. My parents had a list: cell phone, then tv, then gas money, and finally, handing over truck keys. Those were the things that worked the best. The final punishment was the last straw. To a teenage boy there was nothing more humiliating than his mother dropping him off at school every day for a week or several, depending on the severity of what he did. This stuff may sound trivial, but it worked when it was applied consistently.

Often it wasn't. The biggest factor is consistency. If the kid thinks you're bluffing or they haven't been punished for similar "crimes" before, they're not going to care what you say and they'll try to pull stunts like that. My parents gave up early and my brother could sense that. I was a pretty good kid so they didn't have to try with me, but when he came along they were mystified as to why he wouldn't listen to them.

Cami

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 10:20:16 AM »
I think the keys are to handling these situations start long before the kid is a teenager with crazy hormones and natural rebellion:

1. Establish a relationship early on in which the parents are the boss and kids must be respectful. I saw so  many parents mystified and shocked when their little terrors turned out to be big terrors. You can't make a teenager treat you with respect or obey your rules if they didn't when they were 5.

2. Follow through on consequences. I knew a couple who basically played consequence roulette -- sometimes they'd enforce a consequence and sometimes they wouldn't. So it was worth it for their kids to try and buck them EVERY time because they knew there was a 50-50 chance of getting away with it.  My dd was once being pressured into doing something stupid in high school. Dd knew it was a bad idea, so she used her "out" -- that her parents would punish her severely. Other kids were still pushing her and all but one of them said, "They'll let you off the hook. Parents always do." Her best friend piped up and said, "Not her parents. Her mom comes up with the craziest stuff to punish. It's not worth it for her." (See #3)

3. Tailor the discipline/parenting style to the individual child. For example -- logical consequences did not work with my dd. She could figure out -- from a very young age -- what a logical consequence would be and would convince herself that paying the price would be worth it. She also has a strong need to predict what will happen in a given situation. So what worked with her was getting her off balance by using consequences she could never imagine. Doing so provided a strong disincentive to make the wrong choice.  For HER. Another kid might do better with a different style.

4. Teach your child anger management and self control from an early age.

5. Understand that hormones and/or peer pressure can wreak havoc on the behavior of any child. So have patience yourself.  Also respect the child in return -- yelling at your kid that you hate him and wish he'd never been born is not a way to encourage a child to want to stay in your home.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 10:23:45 AM by Cami »

cheyne

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 03:57:11 PM »
I love Cami's post, want to POD it, especially #1. 

I am the boss in the house, period.  My kids knew (know) it.  My rules are well-known and enforced.  DS is 23 and has been on his "own" since 18, DD is 16 and lives at home with DH and I.

Both of my kids were given the "blame it on your mom" speech long before they were teenagers.  If there was any peer pressure to do something they didn't want to, they were to say that "My mom will kill me".  I did have a bit of a reputation for being tough and taking no crap when they were younger (I work a very physical "man's" job) so their friends had (have) no trouble believing it.  Heck, my DS best friend used to use me as his excuse too! ;)

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 04:48:11 PM »
Parents don't have to provide cars, or cell phones or potato chips or soda or computer access or pretty posters on the wall or access to after-school activities or non-ugly-clothing.  Some of that list would go away (not trashed but put out of reach) the first time it happened.  All of that list and few more would go away if major defiance happened again.

First of all, I agree with this post. It seems very strict, but also fair, especially if the kid gets a chance to earn back the withheld belongings.

But it did make me think of one of the few times I gave my mother a really hard time.

I refused to do my part of the "company" chores (getting ready for company. My part was to clean both bathrooms and my own bedroom so the kids that were visiting could trash my stuff play in my bedroom. My mother was furious that I would stand up to her. (which was kinda weird, since most of the time, standing up to her calmly would earn me the chance to state my case, and possibly compromise. Not this time.)

So I dug in my heels, sat in the middle of my bed and refused to do anything. And made it clear any uninvited (nonresidents, even I wasn't dumb enough to eject Mom or my Stepdad.) persons trying to enter my room would be ejected.

Then the conversation turned to this:

Mom: Well... You'll lose all your privileges!
Me: Like what? TV? Bring it on. I watch exactly two hours a week and I can lose that. I'm not cleaning anything for your guests.
Mom: Umm... Well... Your books.
Me: Okay. But to get all the ones I enjoy that includes text books. Wanna call my teacher and explain why I don't have my homework? Or just leave them and I'll read them all i want?
Mom: I guess that's not an option. What about your phone.
Me: Last visit your nephews broke my cell phone and you haven't replaced it. (My phone was usually he go-to punishment.
Mom: I don't like letting you win this.
Me: Yup. But I just did.
Mom: I'll call the police.
Me: You did that once. They told you that until I'm 18 I'm your problem and that I could be so much worse. They offered to drug test me, and it came up clean.
Mom: Yeah, you're a pretty good kid. But stubborn.
Me: Like my mom?
Mom: *glare*

She stormed out. Then came back fifteen minutes later and we made a deal. I had to do the dishes AND the bathrooms. (I hate dishes.) But for the one visit the kids had to stay out of my room. Not that it did me any good, the little monsters got to come in anyway when they threw a fit and Mom was tired of them begging to go into my room. This made her next attempt to get me to obey MUCH harder. Now that she's gone I honestly feel terrible for the stuff I put her through, but at the time I felt perfectly in the right. Although when I was over 18 my mom admitted she wished she had given me more privileges, since it would have made my rebellions easier to control. A kid with few privileges had less to lose.

I did get a new cell phone a few months later, but only after a ride fell through to get me home from school and my stepdad found out I had been out in winter rain for two hours looking for a payphone.

@Cami: "My mom would find out" was my excuse for peer pressure too. I didn't have many friends and no activities, so it wasn't needed much, but it was useful once or twice.
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Jones

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Re: Hypothetical teen parenting question
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 05:12:19 PM »
Parents don't have to provide cars, or cell phones or potato chips or soda or computer access or pretty posters on the wall or access to after-school activities or non-ugly-clothing.  Some of that list would go away (not trashed but put out of reach) the first time it happened.  All of that list and few more would go away if major defiance happened again.
Yeah, I remember people telling my parents that. The amazement that there were no cellphones in the house, my car was my property, we were expected to buy our own clothes or wear hand me downs, and had to buy our own junk food if we wanted it. I guess that police and drug tests were all they had! Come to think of it, a few privileges for good behavior would have gone a long way with me...I graduated top of my class but had some major issues on the moral scale.