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September 26, 2008


That is EXACTLY what happened to us when our oldest was in high school, only we came back about an hour later because my husband wasn't feeling well, and, lo and behold, there were about 30 kids there, drinking and smoking. The thing is, we were only about one mile away, in town, at a friend's bday party! Some of them ran off the deck and through the back yards, but we corralled quite a few of them by heading them off through some other exits. I took names, and called a number of the parents, many of whom were quite unconcerned, in that 'kids will be kids' sort of way.

The big enablers in our neighborhood had three kids, and would often join them in their partying at the (then) vacant lot next to their house. It was lovely walking my youngest down to the bus stop after one of their bashes, stepping over broken bottles (the ones that hadn't been shoved into peoples' mailboxes, that is) and empty beer cases. One of our neighbors had their parkway trees mowed down THREE times by drunken partygoers. The kicker? He was a school superintendent in another town, and she was a second grade teacher in our district. The police always looked the other way.

We are always here now when my 17yo has friends over, and the kids are fine with it. They might be doing it someplace, but it sure as hell isn't here.

become fruitful and textify? brilliant.

my house has never been the party house, even though the opportunities have been there (we DO leave our over-18s in charge of the under-18s for a day or two). the reason i know? because one of them would rat the others out FOR SURE.

having a snitch in the bunch is always useful.

We do leave the two of them alone, on the rare occasions we actually get away for a weekend. ("Them" being 19 and 15.) We let the neighbours across the street (one of whom is a police officer) know they'll be alone; the kids know they know.

I suspect the one most likely to start the party that gets out of control would be the more-socially inclined younger child. Happily her brother is quite capable of kicking the interlopers out; if he couldn't manage it, the cop-across-thre-street is ready, willing, and able.

So we're not naive and we've covered our bases, but so far, it's simply not been an issue. "Quiet as mice" is the report from the neighburs, even the ones in the other half of the semi.

Thus far, our trust hasn't been disappointed.

When I was in grade school, my brother invited a couple of friends over during school hours. Dozens showed up. The high school figured out where they were and sent the cops. Window climbers and hedge jumpers got away. 44 kids got suspended.

My (single) mom, who was at work at the factory, was mortified, livid and had to cope with newspaper articles and resultant embarrassment of the scandal.

I can't imagine the tragedy of her being held accountable for this. The poor woman had no idea, just happened to have a couple of knucklehead sons.

And this happened without the textification factor. Plain old word of mouth worked wonders back in the day.

Haven't told that story in ages. But it sure does inform my decision to call in a family member or two when we have to leave the kids (17 and 13 behind). I trust my kids, just not the mass of friends who would be all over my unsupervised empty house.

Good post Z - I too love your developing language. Are you keeping track of all this groovy new terminology? Perhaps you can diversify some more with a helpful pamphlet. A guide to the new blogosphere lingo.


I'm with the others, LOVE the "be fruitful and textify"!

My Grandmother lives with us, plus daughter is only 13 and things one and two are only 12 so this hasn't been an issue yet. Grandmother is a tough old lady so she would seriously kick butt if needed and wouldn't hesitate to call in reinforcements if needed but I think when the kids are older and we go out of town (yeah, right) I will still be calling in my Mom or one of my brothers for back up. Like you say, they're TEENAGERS and it's not just your own kids but all of their "textifying" friends.

A party my best friend in high school threw for her 18th birthday got seriously out of control (although her idiot parents bought a keg for it so what the hell did they expect) and got kicked out of her house. She lived with us for 6 weeks while her parents got over themselves. But I'll never forget it because she didn't invite the crazy crowd, they just heard "Party!" and showed up.

Hmm, I think I've just talked myself out of going out of town for the next 8 or 9 years...

How's this for creativity? High school kids from Brookline Mass. rented a house in the next town for the summer. Some of the parents had no problem with this arrangement.
Personally, I would never leave my daughter home alone for the weekend because where ever she goes a party breaks out!

talk about telling us how you feel about this topic. MCMM's i think we are on to a hot topic. I already have the idea for my next post. Thanks for the input and sharing of stories everyone.

Raised two teenagers and never had a problem leaving them home alone for the weekend once they were old enough to drive. Not all teens are as odious as this blog makes them out to be.

Situational trust is a very apt phrase. It's not that you don't trust the teen, it's that you know things can get out of control quickly, often more quickly than a teenager can handle. Putting contingencies in place is important. No, it's essential.

Well, isn't Molly just the luckiest and bestest parent ever. Kudos to her for perfect parenting. Now, on to the rest of us that have kids who do stupid things.

I went to Washington with Ora earlier this spring. I had both kids completely covered every second of my time away. I had people watching my house, I was clear that my kids were totally safe and secure.

Guess What? My son had a party. And after the party was over he completely cleaned up the evidence so I never would have known except... pictures up on Facebook. It took me a month to find out. Nothing was broken or damaged. But this is what kids do. He invited a few friends over (bad enough) and then they told other kids and I understand that the place was packed, but the party was outside and nobody came in the house except to use the bathroom.

My parents left my sister and I home alone a lot. She had tons of parties, and some of them went bad. I had none, after she was away at college. I was lonely, my sister had a great time.

I guess it depends on the kid.

My house was the party house, but I planned the parties. It was nothing to have 30 teens for breakfast before an out of town game, or to have 20 or so sleeping bags to step over after a late night. They all knew me and my rules, so when I was out of town, I had few problems (and the few? that was with kids who didn't know me!) It wasn't the fear of G-d, but the fear of ME!

Molly - If you read the posts by the various authors, you'll see a variety of attitudes towards our kids. Some days we're exasperated, some days we're busting with pride. Some of us have more peaceable, trustworthy kids, some of us have our hands full. "This blog" overstates the case.

I have two more thoughts on the matter.

I'll leave my kids alone in the house until something happens to prove that that trust isn't earned. So far, I've been justified in my trust.

Yes, there are other kids out there not so trustworthy. When can we trust our kids to manage their friends' behaviour, too? We'll never know till we try. For me, so far, so good. Knowing how things can grow, when I leave them alone they're told they're not allowed to have more than two friends over at a time. They keep to this.

If they had a party, kept it down so the neighbours weren't annoyed, and cleaned up so well when they were done that I never knew they'd been... Well, isn't that how my parties go? That would be behaving in an adult manner.

Of course, if they had a party after being told not to, there'd be the disobedience issue, of course, and I understand that kids who tidy well may not be showing responsiblity so much as they are covering their tracks... but still, it raises an interesting question.

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