School Activities and Responsible Parenting

School Activities and Responsible Parenting
School is back in session and the school activities have begun. Homecoming is this weekend. The Homecoming Dance always signals fall has arrived. This year my daughter is a freshman in high school. Homecoming dance no longer is a couples or dating activity. Many students choose to go single and meet up with friends. I have no problem with this idea, and am thankful my daughter is self-assured and confident enough to attend activities this way. I am probably not ready for the dating scene at 14, almost 15. The doors to the dance open at 7 p.m. and close at 8:15 p.m. The dance ends at 11 p.m.

Several of my daughter’s friends will be going to a local Steak and Shake after the dance, where a friend from another high school is working. This is where I become uncomfortable. As a former teenager myself, and a Behavioral Medicine Registered Nurse, I know how things can go awry in unstructured situations. My daughter is adjusting to high school and there will be plenty of times for her to go to dances and parties. For now her father and I feel this is not a good situation for her to be in.

Many other parents will disagree with our decision. She disagrees with our decision. Yet, as parents we are not here to be her friend. I am a mom first and foremost. I am not here to win any popularity contests. Being a responsible parent can be hard, but knowing my child is safe is priceless. I use to debate my decisions with my children. I would try to explain my choices so that he or she would understand why I made a particular choice. I no longer feel I need to justify my choices with my children.

I am the mom and I am in charge of their safety and wellbeing. I have a history of being over protective, after losing my first two babies two years apart in uterus. While pregnant with my third, oldest living child, a daughter, two girls disappeared in Saint Louis only days apart. For awhile many parents feared a child serial killer was on the prowl.

Cassidy Senter was the second girl to disappear on the first day of December 1993. Her badly beaten body was found in an alley in Saint Louis on December 9th, the same day my daughter was born. Cassidy had been beaten to death by her attacker, Thomas Brooks, as she fought him off when he tried to rape her. She was 10 years old at the time, walking to a friend’s home only a few blocks away when she disappeared.

Angie Housman was 9 when she disappeared walking from her school bus stop to her home only 8 houses away. She was held for a week and abused before dying from exposure in a local nature preserve. Authorities believe she was left in the woods for days before dying. Her killer has never been found. Angie disappeared on November 18th and her body was found November 27th. Someone knows something about this case to close the mystery and allow Angie to rest in peace.

I have been extremely overprotective of my children in past years, but I have gotten better. I still know the dangers and the impulsive decisions made by teenagers who feel immortal. I am not worried about my daughter making an irrational decision. I have raised a beautiful, well balanced, and strong child. Yet, it is my duty to not throw her to the wolves and allow her too much responsibility too fast. Together we will move forward as she grows in her independence and as I grow in my ability to allow her to fly farther from the nest. Until next time, may angels find you and keep you safe.

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