I have a friend who likes to use the expression in her blog, "Don't judge me, learn from me." ( http://momspeacebites.blogspot.com/ )
I believe that most parents try to do what they feel is right. Personally, I've had times where I've looked back with my 20/20 hindsight and realized that I made a bad call. Other times I've patted myself on the back when things turned out right.
Today's PNJ article discusses the untimely death of a seventeen year-old who was run over by a police car as he was allegedly attempting to elude the officer. http://www.pnj.com/article/20091015/NEWS01/910150315. Much controversy has been generated by this incident, from protests of "police brutality" to questions as to why the young man didn't just stop for the officer.
One portion of the article really resonated with me. "Cassandra admits that she was liberal with her son. . . She allowed him to stay out late on weekends and to divide his time between home and his friends' and family's homes. It was not unusual for him to be out at 2 a.m., she said."
Without passing judgement on this woman, I believe that there is a lesson here. Many of us have heard our own parents, maybe even our grandparents tell us, "Nothing good happens after midnight." We usually followed that affirmation with the obligatory eye-roll, as my children do today. However, I stand firmly by the call and do not allow my children free reign to wander late at night.
Parents are sometimes under the impression that, when their kids become teens, the job is done. It's my opinion that this is the time to pull them closer, to keep a hand in what they are doing. It doesn't mean that I am with them at all times, but I do want to know where they are, who they are with - and I do expect them to be at home at a time that is reasonable and safe. They call and check-in on a regular basis, whether they are fifteen, seventeen. . .or even twenty-one (although now the fiancée has replaced Mom for much of that, but I still know that someone knows where he is!)
I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child, and my heart goes out to this mother. I hope that we will take the information that she has shared about her choices, process it, and learn from it. It is not up to us to judge the way others choose to parent, but it IS our task to try to make the best choices we can for our own children based on the information we have.
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