Always Tell Mom and Dad Where You're Going May 17 2012
When I was in high school, I was already desperately craving the same freedom my college-aged sister had. I wanted to stay out past curfew, party with the older kids, drive around with all of my friends and charge all "necessities" on my "emergency" credit card. Of course, in high school, the only way to get away with all this is to tell mom and dad you're going to "a friend's house to spend the night".
The night started out just as I expected. Everyone met at the mall and then piled into cars to go to the party-house. This was the kind of party you see in teen movies and not the kind of party my mom would let me go to. Parents were gone for the night, there were three punch bowls in the corner of the room, a cooler full of beer and the music could be heard half a mile away. I never really drank alcohol before. My dad occasionally poured me a couple sips of wine with special family dinners but I didn't have any desire to get drunk. I figured, as long as I don't drink, nothing bad could happen. Unfortunately, I assumed wrong.
The people I came with didn't feel the same way and were already huddled around the beer cooler. At this point, it was already 1am and my parents were sound asleep. I watched more of our classmates show up and a good number of them arrived to the party already drunk. My best friend, Sarah, and I felt uncomfortable so we called her sister to come pick us up.
On monday, we got the rest of the details from those who stuck around. By 2am that night, a neighbor called the police to report a noise complaint. Cop cars pulled up to the house and everyone who couldn't leave fast enough got breathalyzed, slapped with underage drinking charges and parents received a terrifying phone call in the middle of that night. On top of that, the school got involved and took disciplinary actions, penalizing any athletes and all students who had something to lose.
I never regretted leaving that party early. I did regret that my mom didn't know where I was and I was thankful that she didn't need to find out from a police officer at 2am. I lied about where I went and I already felt guilty for that. Had the worst happened, even though I wasn't drinking, I would have been in just as much trouble as those who got caught. This would have not only hurt my parents, but it would have affected my chances of getting into a good college, getting a good job and how I would be viewed by my teachers.
While "sleeping over at a friend's house" may seem like the fool-proof plan, things will happen that you, a teenager, can not come up with the resources to fix. For this, you will need mom and dad to come to your rescue and when they do, you'll look a whole lot better asking for help if you didn't just lie to them in the first place. Violating your parents' trust is a BIG DEAL and is very hard to earn back, so why negatively affect something you have full control over?
I know, it's hard to have Mom and Dad on your case about where you're going all the time, but like it or not, you're their baby and they will want to keep you safe no matter what. Nothing is more alarming for your parents than a call in the middle of the night from the police, should you get into really serious trouble.
If you say you're spending the night at a friend's house, SPEND THE NIGHT AT A FRIEND'S HOUSE. This does not mean crawl through a window at 3am after the party you just went to. This means have a night in, sleepovers are worry-free way to unwind from the school week, watch a movie and exchange stories with friends.
You'll hear about the party at school on monday and chances are, you probably didn't miss much. As the cliche goes, it's better to be safe than sorry. Your parents would rather you be safe than pay the price for a bad night that could affect you and everyone around you. Tell your parents where you are going and be honest, you'll feel better and your parents will feel better about granting you that freedom you want so badly. Avoid situations you know can end badly. Staying up late, drinking and parting does not make you an adult. You become an adult through your ability to resist those behaviors and create better experiences for yourself.