The shame of it is that we are one of the few parents, and the only in my daughter’s peer group, that already raised a girl….now 23 years old. That doesn’t mean we didn’t make mistakes then and that we don’t now….But if I had that resource of experience and knowledge in my parental peer group, I would certainly try to learn from their actions and try to understand their rules concerning our 13-year-old daughters….
Sunset Mall was also the location of choice 10 years ago when our first daughter was 13. She wasn’t dropped off without supervision until the beginning of 10th grade….. It seems my now 13-year-old, just starting 8th grade, is the only one requiring adult supervision while at the mall. It’s so much easier to just drop her off and let her fend for herself with other 13 year olds…
Mind you, Sunset Mall is in a challenging neighborhood and police patrolling the mall openly talk about gang problems, drug use and petty crime. Plus, there is enough peer pressure on young teens. Having them fend for themselves in an anthill of other teens and young adults is an unnecessary pressure on their young psyches. There are two variables going on here. One is that with a parent close by, basic human psychology states that the young teen will be more wary of her decision-making with a parent close by. The other variable is that if something were to happen at least a parent is in close proximity.
Regardless, it is our choice as a parent to not leave her alone regardless of how tired we are. Yes, it’s a hassle, yes, it’s boring for the adults and yes, we rather be doing something else.. But what about parental responsibility? Instead of helping ourselves and working as a team, covering supervised mall trips, sharing drop-off and pick ups….We will be forced to have our daughter choose a different peer group…A group more in line with what we believe to be responsible adult actions.
For at least the remainder of this year. my wife and I will go to the mall with our 13-year-old and have an old fashion date night. That way we share some one-on-one time with each other and are there for our daughter as well….
Hopefully one day she will understand and appreciate the tough choices we make. These choices however, shouldn’t be made tougher by parents that should be part of our support network….