My Child's Parent

As a parent I have thought of all the things I should talk to my children about. We have had countless talks about Sex, drugs, and rock and roll! Never in any of our conversations did I think I needed to talk with them about trespassing. I naively thought they knew how to read!

I am one of the lucky moms who gets to hug my child today… Mind you he hugs back with a pat and a “here she goes again” stance.

When my phone went alerted me that 911 had been called, I instantly knew which child called 911 and the panic set in. My child had never been in any real trouble before. He is not perfect, but he did what he was supposed to do, worked hard and was headed to college.

I was not sure where he was at that moment and waited (well called a hundred times) until his phone was no longer “disabled” and I could hear his voice and know that he and his friends were ok. I knew from the second he answered that they were physically ok, but emotionally he was scared and worried. Now to the real reason I am writing this; My son and his friends were doing something that most would say are boys being boys.

It was a rainy time here and water was high everywhere. They went to a river and walked down a path that leads to a beautiful inviting cliff with a lovely pool of water at the bottom, inviting in its beauty and lure of adventure. Their hard-wired adventure seeking brains made it easy for them to pass the signs without even looking at them. The peer pressure to not be a “wimp” (my word not theirs) led to the jump. While I agree they are hard wired for adventure, we as parents need to talk with our children about the three things we don’t talk about water, fire and heights. While alcohol, sex and drugs are always talked about; I only had a few conversations about fire and can remember maybe a few about water safety.

The conversation went something like wear a life jacket when water-skiing or jet skiing. I never thought to say hey, don’t go where there are trespassing signs or stay out of water signs. The many conversations about alcohol and drugs paid off and they were not doing any of that when they found themselves in a pickle. One of the boys was pushed over to a little island by the very strong current.

His friends thought hard about a solution to this life threatening situation, panic and fear sinking in as to what their parents were going to say. I don’t think they ever thought we could go to jail for this, we could put other lives in danger; a rescue boat could be lost. So here I sit at 3 AM the morning of their court appearance and I feel like Mufasa from the lion king. Worried, scared, relieved!

Writing this and even having your children read it won’t stop everyone from doing what appears to be a very popular thing. But maybe replaying the scene from The Lion King where Simba goes into the elephant graveyard and Mufasa has to come in and save him and Nala could start an important conversation. I sat with my son after I hugged him, and got a pat back and explained the fear and then anger I felt with him.

We talked about his fear that day and his fear now. We also talked about the law. I have never been the popular mom, or the house that kids want to hang out at. I hated it for years since I counsel children and love having them around. Then one of my older sons friends said to me “we love you and when we turn 21 we will always want to be at your house”. That is when the harsh reality hit me, some parents let their children and their friends drink and smoke at their house. I got a few reasons from one parent, “ at least I know where they are” “they are not driving” and “they are gonna do it anyway”.

All of which have truth to them. However, when we tell kids it is ok to break one law, why do we expect them to keep any laws? While we are so thankful no one was hurt in our situation, many are hurt and in trouble because we as parents don’t have the conversations we need to have and can’t seem to use the word “no”. Be the parent before it is too late and you don’t get to have a pat on the back!

Theresa Gaser