Have you ever been tricked by your teen?
Last night, my husband got tricked. He feels like a big fool. It wasn’t even his own kid that tricked him. A group of my son’s friends came back to our home after the high school homecoming dance. One of the girls put my husband on the phone with her father. The girl’s father wanted assurance that an adult was home. “We are here and we aren’t leaving,” my husband said.
What my husband learned this morning is that shortly after giving the girl’s father assurance, she left our home with a few kids, went to another party, got drunk and came back to our home. My husband got schooled in teen trickery 101.
It happens to the best of us, I told him. Staying ahead of teens is hard work. Teens are sneaky. Even the good ones. I think it’s just part of being a teenager.
There’s something about being young, trying new things, colluding with friends and wanting to be independent that makes teens take risks and keep secrets from their parents. Sometimes, they are being sneaky about small, stupid thing that empower them by letting them think they’ve pulled the wool over our eyes. Sometimes, they are hiding big things that could get them into real trouble.
I hate this part of parenting! There’s no winning. You’re either going to get accused of being too intrusive or played for a fool.
From sneaking out of the house past curfew to hiding alcohol in plastic water bottles, there are levels of sneaky behavior and a sliding scale of what I’m willing to accept. Even with GPS devices and a public trail created by social networks, we just aren’t able to know everything our kids are up to all of the time. Maybe it’s their age that gives them the advantage.
I have learned is to follow my instincts and become a skillful observer. A teenager that’s normally relaxed may have a perfect story to tell that fails only because her shifty body language or lack of eye contact betrays her. Or, maybe there’s a loose thread your kid’s story that unravels when you throw out a strange question. (I found a blog post that offers some great advice on how to tell when your teen is lying)
I always tell my kids, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can NEVER fool your parent. If only I was convinced of that! After last night, my husband is not!