Kelsea called from the mall with her friends the other night and wanted to go to a sleepover. All eight girls at the mall had spontaneously decided they wanted a sleepover, and one of the parents had agreed. I had never met the parents, much less the girl, and even though I know that Kelsea’s friends are all of good character, I said no. I wouldn’t want to impose on parents who I’d never met, and who had never met my daughter. Kelsea couldn’t tell me exactly where they lived. I just wasn’t comfortable. Pat agreed with me. So even though Kelsea called three times, and begged, and her friend Joy begged, I stuck by my guns, and nicely told her just to accept “no” as an answer.
Well, everyone else went. I picked Kelsea up at the mall a few minutes after they had all gone. And I felt conflicted. Was I being unreasonable? Overprotective? I had called her on my way to the mall and told her Joy could sleep over at our house, if they wanted, since that’s who she’d gone to the mall with, but it was too late – Joy had already gone with the group.
Kelsea wasn’t really mad – well, she was a little, but she was very reasonable. She didn’t want to discuss it much – she said she saw my point, and she felt that she had been wrong in not accepting “no” as the answer, since I generally say yes. And she felt bad that she hadn’t said “I love you” back to me when we hung up. But she said that things have changed since I was thirteen. Kids make plans at the spur of the moment and parents need to understand that.
Is that true? I can recall some spontaneous sleepovers when I had been at a friend’s house and we just wanted to keep hanging out, and my parents usually said yes. But large-scale, multi-girl sleepovers were heavily planned and much-anticipated events that usually coincided with a birthday. Not just a bunch of us at the mall after school.
Is it that we have shifted to such a real-time mentality that this IS the norm? Am I truly behind the times? I trust Kelsea and her judgement, but she is still my daughter, is still 13, and is still my responsibility. I just wonder when to let the leash out – or to let her off the leash.
Hmm. Any other parents of teenagers – or any teenagers! – feel free to chime in to help me figure this out. Thanks!