quinta-feira, abril 1

Blind obedience

I have two daughters. Gorgeous, clever and like any other teenager, limit pushers. They are always trying to do more, to get more space, more independence

I spend most of my time trying to convince them I know better, and they MUST follow the rules. That's why we set them in the first place. And we have reasons. And, and, and...

All this reasoning and reinforcing backfired this week.

My latest rule is simple: they can not, under any circumstances, bring friends home when there are no adults around. Not negotiable.

We tried letting them alone with other kids before and all sorts of things happened. Once a teenager neighbor got drunk and my daughter (12) had to help her, anoher time, Lia cut her foot and someone else had to get it sorted , and the most scary of all, was when I arrived home to find the gas open and the kitchen in danger of blowing up...with the children in the house.

Today school finished 3 hours earlier. Anita went straight to a baby sitting job. Lia went home by herself because I work once a week as a tour guide and I normally get home just in time to pick them up at 3pm. We had no plan B for this early school day.

That's what happened:

Bibi, a friend of my kids, decided it made sense to go to our place after school and get a lift to horse riding, as she normally does. When she arrived at our door, Lia remembered the rule and tried to call me. As a our guide, I have my phone off during working hours, so I did not pick up. Lia told her she could not stay because there were no adults in the house and there was no way she was going to be yelled at when I arrived.

The girl was confused and sad. She did not know what to do, so she walked back to the school in tears. Her mother's mobile was off, she had no where else to go. The school was deserted, the temperature high and the poor child all by herself. But Lia followed the rules, and she probably thought she was going to get a rewrad when I got home.

Lucky, another school mother was driving by and rescued Bibi, taking her home.

I only found out when she did not show at horse riding classes a couple of hours later and I called to ask what was happening. Imagine my surprise and embarrassment...

I am grateful my friend forgave me, Bibi forgave Lia and we are all in peace. Hopefully my kids will learn to make better decisions and I will try to be more flexible about my rules. See if that will work a bit better for all of us.

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