14 yo dd wants to go to late night party

Avatar for arwen12
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2003
14 yo dd wants to go to late night party
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 8:16am
My 14.9 yo DD (she'll be 15 in December) asked to go to a party Saturday night.

She is a sophomore in high school, the youngest in her class. She hangs out with kids typically 15/16 years old.

Anyway, the party doesn't start until 10pm, which I think is late.

Then she asked after the party she wants to go to her friends house to sleep.

I don't know the girl that is giving the party, but I do know the girl that she wants to have the sleepover with and she is a good kid, although I haven't met her parents yet.

Anyway, my initial reaction was 10pm for a party to start?

Why does it start so late?

Her response was "Mom, we're teenagers now".

My thoughts were "yeah, and your point is.... ?"

But, I said ok - just let me have the parents phone number of both girls and I would let her know.

She jumped all over me saying if I had to call the parents, then I didn't trust her.

And, why didn't I just believe her when she said the parents are going to be home.

I said I did believe her, I'm sure they'll be there, but I still need to talk to them.

She wanted to know why and I said that is what I always do. I just call to ask about what is happening and it gives me a comfort level.

She completely balked.

Now, she hasn't been to a party or a sleepover in a while.

Although, in all cases previously, I have always met the parents either before or at the door or at least spoke to them on the phone. She has always given me a hard time about this.

Nonetheless, this is nothing new for me. I speak to them or she doesn't go.

She feels she is getting older and I should just trust her word. This is the first time she has asked to go somewhere that I don't know the girl or her parents.

I tried to assure her that being a good parent and doing what I think is right is not a direct reflection of my trust in her.

But, she was very upset - to the point where she lost phone privileges because of her tone (and her volume).

She said that if I call the parents she won't go because she doesn't want to be the kid at the party whose mother ruined it for everyone else by ensuring the parents were going to be in the vicinity monitoring everyone.

(This is also another side benefit to talking to the parents. I want to make sure the kids are supervised. It doesn't mean they have to be in the room with them all the time, but they should make their presence known without being overly intrusive to the kids fun.)

Well, if she doesn't go, this is all well and good with me.

At this point, even if she gave me the phone number, I'm not sure I'd let her go.

If she gets this upset about my calling, maybe something is up!

If she didn't get upset and said "ok Mom", I'd be more at ease.

Anyway, what do you all think?

Am I being over-protective of a 14 almost 15yo?




iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 8:55am
No you're NOT being too over-protective.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 10:05am
ITA. You are not being overprotective. You are being a responsible parent. I have heard way too many horror stories of parties getting out of control with underage drinking, gang rapes, etc. I would not let my ds go to a party unless I checked with the parents first to make sure that they were going to be home SUPERVISING and make sure there was no alcohol. If my ds doesn't like it, it's just too darn bad. Don't back down.
Avatar for heartsandroses2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 10:32am
Red flags are jumping off the screen! You wrote this:

"She jumped all over me saying if I had to call the parents, then I didn't trust her.

And, why didn't I just believe her when she said the parents are going to be home.

I said I did believe her, I'm sure they'll be there, but I still need to talk to them.

She wanted to know why and I said that is what I always do. I just call to ask about what is happening and it gives me a comfort level. She completely balked."

If she has nothing to hide, then she should feel completely comfortable with you calling the parents to make sure that everything's kosher! I have two teens, one stb 16 and the other 14. The 16 y/o knows the deal: who, what, where, when and why - I need phone numbers, names, travel itinerary, etc. She does't even approach me without this information because she knows I will call without hesitation. She is not allowed to sleep at anyone's home who I haven't met at least twice and feel comfortable with. And while she might be allowed to go to the party that starts at 10 PM, she would only be there for an hour, because her curfew is 11 PM...and she definitely could invite a friend to stay at our house for the night, but she wouldn't be sleeping out - it all sounds too fishy to me. Why the freaking out when you said you wanted to call? Why the late start of the party, and who is this girl, who are her parents? There are many, MANY parents in our town who allow lates parties with underage drinking, and smoking, and sometimes even co-ed sleepovers! My older dd knows the rules. I've made them simple and clear. Each case stands on it's own merit. Bottom line: if you don't feel comfortable say no.

My younger dd is the sneaky one - she's always yelling, "What, you don't trust me?" when I want to call her friend's mother to check on the arrangements or when I say no to a sleep out request (usually based on the kid or the parents history - *see above*). And my usual response is: "Why, shouldn't I? If you have nothing to hide, then what's the problem?" I can't even list the times this dd has tried to pull something. She's gotten better now that she knows the score with me - she rarely tries to pull anything on me these days, thank God.

Stick to your guns - you're being a good parent by checking up and making sure who she's hanging with and what they're doing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 11:09am
You're definitly not being over-protective, especially at the age of 14. I have the same thoughts as you - if she's so dead set on you not calling, then something probably is up. And I've never heard of a party starting at 10 p.m. either, regardless of whether the party is for teenagers! I don't buy it when they say "I don't want to be the kid whose parents had to call," because I doubt the parents are going to announce to the kids that any one particular kid's parents called! You're just doing your job + you sound like you're doing it good, so stick to it. I would do the same thing!
Avatar for arwen12
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 11:20am
Thanks everyone for your responses.

Almost after I wrote it I thought, what would I do if the responses came back and said "oh, yes, you're being overprotective, let her go!"

I still wouldn't have.

Because, the more I thought about it, the more I just don't like it.

Actually, her whole reaction nixed my trust.

Related question:

How do you communicate that there are trust issues without burning bridges?

Yesterday I didn't, but today I have trust issues - simply because of her reaction.

What types of things would you tell your kids to let them know that trust is not unconditional?

This gets my DD's ire up ... too bad, I know,

nonetheless, it is a sore point ...

probably because her friends parents check up on them less than I do with her.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 12:51pm

Hard question, but my kids know that they have to earn my trust over the years and have.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 1:18pm
I think the one sentence in your original post that did raise an actual red flag for me was: "She said that if I call the parents she won't go because she doesn't want to be the kid at the party whose mother ruined it for everyone else by ensuring the parents were going to be in the vicinity monitoring everyone."

Everything else *could* have been just what she had said were her issues with you calling. It would make sense because she is hanging out with kids a year and more older than her and she likely keenly feels that age difference and hates it, so wanting to minimize it and being over-reactive would be typical. Fitting in at this age is a VERY big deal. And being the only one whose mom still has to call and check on a party could easily induce the reaction you got.

However, the thing is ... if, by calling the parents, you were ascertaining that the parents WERE going to be there and monitoring the party was going to ruin it for everyone else, THEN I think there is more to it. Unless your dd said that statement and didn't mean what it actually implies. Sometimes they do that, esp when emotions are running high.

At 16, no, I didn't call the parents anymore. For one thing, I learned when my dd was exactly your dd's age, that I couldn't trust the parents either. When she was 14.6, I allowed her to go to her first New Year's Eve party; the mom of her best friend called the party kid's mom and spoke at great length with the party mom. The mom assured my friend upwards and backwards, oh absolutely no WAY would there be alcohol permitted; of COURSE she'd be right IN the room with the kids (which we believed; the kids loved this mom); if she had a dd, she'd feel EXACTLY like we felt and would be calling too, how GLAD she was my friend had called, yada yada. We later learned that not only did the mom PROVIDE the alcohol to spike the punch, she drank it along with the kids. (No wonder they loved her). Another girl my dd was friends with had a dad & live-in-gf who had a party upstairs wihle the teens were allowed to have a party downstairs (I knew this dad well). THe kids had coolers and beer and the girl got so drunk she blacked out. Pot was being smokd upstairs by the adults. Another parent I know, who is the most vigilant and aware parent I've met, has a son who has managed to steal liquor and sneak out at night without her knowing (age 15); makes out, downstairs while 'playing N64', with the various 'good female buddies' he brings home & she trusts. Another mom TOOK PICTURES of the kids (age 14) while the guys did a 'full Monty' (to boxers) and the girls did a 'flash dance'!!! There is a whole series of incidents that I could rhyme off that I know about that has shown me even further that the kids knew exactly how to get around their parents, and that the kids knew their parents better than the parents knew their kids.

So, my definition of 'trust' got re-defined. I learned to make judgement calls based on the "kids" & knowing my own dd over the so-called circumstances. If the kids are into drinking, I guarantee you that there is going to be drinking. If they are into smoking pot, I guarantee you they'll be smoking it somewhere nearby. If they are into making out, they're going to do that with a room full of peers and parents nearby. My dd wasn't into any of these things, and I knew that. I also knew that given too much exposure, too many times, could weaken the resistance she felt, esp if she was under any kind of emotional stress. What you have to do is teach your dd how to navigate her world without being unduly influenced or pulled into it; you cannot protect her forever. Even if a kid doesn't go to a single party where there is drinking, for example, until they are of legal drinking age, they haven't learned HOW TO HANDLE themselves. Give her tools and empower her to know how to handle situations she IS going to encounter.

I'd say that you need to do this now. Your dd is reaching an age where it just does not matter if you talk to parents or not. They aren't going - even by your own expectation - to be in the same room as the kids the entire time anyway. And a WHOLE LOT can go on even if they show up every half an hour. And they aren't going to be comfortable going around and doing a head count either. You need to redefine what you mean by trust, for your sake and your dd's sake.

Know YOUR child. Know your child's friends and how much influence they have over her. Don't go by society saying our teens are easily influenced. Not EVERY kid is easily influenced. Know what kinds of things she COULD be influenced by and the times she is most likely to BE influenced. Make your decisions on a situation by situation basis, taking into consideration these kinds of things each time. For example, my normally totally level headed and trustworthy dd was smack in the midst of losing her friends & boyfriend all at the same time; had started making new friends and was late coming to class one day by 15 mins. I had two parents from the 'old friend set' call me that afternoon to tell me that she had spent the lunch hour with 3 of these 'new friends' and that two of the guys had had a bottle of beer they'd passed around amongst the four of them, my dd had taken some sips and was late getting back. You can't imagine just how bizarre this was for my dd to do. That evening, she had a make up party happening here and had asked to go to the party of one of the new friends the next night, a girl who was KNOWN for her drinking parties. I picked my dd up from school, and told her I knew what had happened. We had all of 20 mins to talk before everyone else started arriving. I said, 'Just tell me why you did this" and she responded "Because it took my mind off my problems". Now ... this is what I meant when I wrote earlier that your dd could have just phrased what she said the way she did because emotions were running high; they will respond from THEIR place of understanding, not ours, whether emotions are involved or not.

When my dd responded that way, I FREAKED (Not at her; I mean, inside of myself) because of course I thought she meant that drinking made her forget her problems. I told her we didn't have time to talk right then but when everyone left the next morning, she was sitting down with me. She was exactly 14.9 when this happened. The next day we sat down. I asked her to tell me what she meant by that statement (instead of me assuming I just knew). She said that when she was with these kids and doing this, she just didn't think about all the other stuff going on in her life. I couldn't reconcile this with knowing she'd had just a few sips of beer; a few sips wasn't going to even make her tipsy enough to forget about her problems. But you see - I was trying to udnerstand this from *my* point of view, which is an adult's view. SHE meant that just DOING this - which was so out of character for HER - meant she didn't think about the rest of the stuff she was trying to deal with. When I stopped to think this through, trying to see what SHE meant, it became clear. It wasn't even about the beer. It was just being with kids who did things so differently from her and even just being a part of an activity that wasn't her that took her mind off things.

They cannot always explain things to us in ways that *WE* get. Which is why knowing our kids is sooo vital and learning how to understand things the way THEY are likely seeing them is equally important. I talked to her at great length about all the normal stuff one would talk about (drinking, peer pressure, etc). She wasn't allowed to go to this girl's party that evening - not because I was worried my dd would be unduly influenced by this group; she'd already proven many times to me that she was not easily influenced, but because she was in a more vulnerable state than she normally was. I explained that the power of alcohol changed with circumstances: that I could have one drink and be affected if I was feeling particularly emotional or stressed out, and other times I could drink 3 drinks and not feel it; that it was affected by whether or not I had eaten, and so on. I said that, given normal circumstances, I'd likely allow her to go to the party that night but because she was under a lot of stress, that allowing her to be somewhere where the temptation to drink more than 'a few sips' was not wise. I explained that the power of others only could affect us when we allowed it - something I had been instilling in her since she was old enough to understand words. I have always held my daughters responsible for what they choose to do, not their friends. I've told them that no matter who they are with, that they cannot be forced to do anything THEY choose not to do. I told her that I was intervening because her usual ability to make clear headed choices was compromised by all of what she was going through and that that was my job, as the adult and the parent, TO do. It had nothing to do with me *trusting* her, in the ways I USED to mean "trust" and in the way SHE was interpreting it. It was part of teaching her to recognize in her OWN SELF when she needed to say no and stay away from situations that could lead to trouble.

I don't know if my point has been made or not in this post. What we mean by 'I trust you' changes as they grow older. I learned that 'I trust you" doesn't mean that I trust that they will NEVER make a mistake. It meant that I trusted that they would be able to handle a situation if something went wrong through an error in judgement. So then *I* decided whether or not I thought they were ABLE to handle whatever MIGHT go wrong. It is unfair to tell your kid, 'I trust you' if what you mean is "I trust you to NEVER drink, NEVER make a mistake, NEVER do something I've said you're not allowed to do" - they ARE going to do things we don't want them to do at some point. And this new way of expressing trust communicates itself to them over time in a way that actually ends up empowering them because you are basically telling them that you trust THEM TO HANDLE THEMSELVES. The other criteria for me, that I told my dds, was "I trust you to handle whatever might happen AND I EXPECT you to be honest with me." If I ask them something, they'd better be able to tell me the truth irregardless of what it is. They have learned that lying doubles the issue and that lying is nearly always a bigger problem than whatever mistake they've done.

It was through these ways of changing how I responded, saw things and acted, that my dd learned that (1) when I KNEW her - i.e. what happens when you deal with truth, it didn't mean that there were never consequences for wrong choices. It did mean that she could tell me the truth and MY decisions were based not on what *I* wanted for her all the time but on how SHE was able to handle things - this is an important step in their growing independence. They NEED to believe that their parent(s) believe that they can handle something they are dealing with, whether you are offering guidance or help or not. (2) She learned this was a matter of a two-way respect. She respected my rule of not lying; I respected her in return. And that while this CAN involve 'trust', respect was something that existed in and of itself. (3) I was meeting her where *she* was at. When she proved herself capable of handling something, she was given more opportunity to prove further. And even if she made the odd mistake enroute, it didn't mean she was 'untrustworthy', it meant her judgement was clouded and guidance or intervention by me was necessary at times. And mistakes were not the end of the world. They were MISTAKES. Just as I, as an adult, still make sometimes and live through.

I hope this helps!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 5:20pm
Wow - I can't believe some parents are like the ones you described!!

Avatar for radmom413
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 10-25-2003 - 9:09am
I'm sitting here reading all these posts wishing we could all get together in person and have a discussion! LOL My 2 dd's KNOW they are not allowed to go anywhere where I do not at least know the parents casually also. Older dd (16) has a pretty consistent group of friends now that I don't call anymore, or even threaten to call, unless someone new has been brought into the group. Recently though, I had a great conversation with her boyfriends mom ~~ it was funny because we were sort of feeling each other out as to rules in our house vs. theirs and all the issues that have been discussed in these posts. Thank goodness we are all in agreement (especially with the issue: an adult HAS to be home and around when they are together at each other's houses!) That was a very enlightening conversation and we both felt good after talking to each other.

Another issue: Sleep overs. Every year we bring in our Police Liaison officer to talk to the parent club about what's going on at the high school. He says that sleepovers at the high school level should ALWAYS be questioned. He believes at this level that there are usually alterior motives involved like drinking and drugs. This mom leaned over to me at this meeting and said her daughter goes to a friends cabin almost every weekend and maybe she should be suspicious ~~ My DD had told me that this particular girl is a big drinker and that is why they go to this girls cabin, cuz the parents don't realize what's going on and they drink. I did tell the mom that maybe she should reconsider the sleepovers since they do happen so frequently. She seem very worried when she had heard all of this that night.

I am in agreement with all of you, and like Deb said, my kids have to earn my trust and once they lose it, it takes a lot to earn it back. You also have to go with your gut instinct on a lot of these things, which I have learned not to question! There usually is a reason for it!


~ * Cindy * ~

Avatar for arwen12
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2003
Mon, 10-27-2003 - 7:09am
Well, the end result was that she didn't go to the party and I think she was happy about it.

She and I had been on the "outs" since Thursday night. A lot of tension on Friday because of this party. Then Friday night she tells me "Oh, Mom - the party starts at 8:00pm ... I made a mistake."

I said, "Well, just get me the phone number and we'll take it from there".

I'm still leaving this open - not giving or rejecting permission until I can talk to the parents and just sticking firm to my rules/boundaries.

Saturday comes and I take her apple picking and afterwards promised we'd make apple pies. This is a big bonding thing between us ... picking apples and making apple pies in autumn. We've been doing this since she's been 4 years old.

Thankfully, she is now at an age where she her share (and more!) of the work!!

Anyway, I said, "Well, hopefully, we'll get all this done before 8:00".

She said "What's at 8:00?"

I said, "Isn't that what time the party starts?"

She said "Well, I don't know her number, so I guess it is a moot point."

Then she says "Besides, if I'd known we were making apple pie, I'd stay home anyway".

So, we ended up doing that, renting 2 movies and having a "girls night".

(Something we used to do every week until she became a teenager with a social life)

Now, I'm thinking that while I believe that she loves going apple picking and making apple pies and watching movies, there is a fair probability that she'd want to go to this party if she had been allowed. Little did I know because later on, while she is on the phone and I hear her say that she didn't really want to go because there were some people that she doesn't like. And, one guy really makes her feel uncomfortable and had been pressing her to go.

So, I told my husband, that I don't think she really ever wanted to go. I think she was going because of peer pressure and she feels an inner calm on the inside now given that she can't go. Yes, had I let her, she would have gone, but she would have been in inner turmoil - not to mention what kind of trouble might have been lying in wait for her.

In this case, things worked out for the best.

Thanks everyone for your responses.

And, thanks also for the ideas on redefining trust. I am definitely going to discuss this with my daughter. I want to redefine it with her.

Thanks for the good advice!