• Yesterday, one of my friends shared that her daughter just got her drivers permit.  It got me thinking back to when my children were learning how to drive, and the “chats” that we had about driving and friends, and how hard it was to begin to let go while at the same time still “parent”.  The hardest part for me, other than the white knuckles when they didn’t drive “my way” , was that my children had less freedom than most of their friends.

    As I strolled down memory lane, thankful that we are past the “white knuckle phase”, I remembered a post I wrote a couple of years ago when my son and his friends started to go out on their own and how so often I had to be the “bad guy”. The message still holds true and I thought I’d share it again for those of you embarking on new parenting territory…

    No one ever said being a parent is easy, but I’ve never understood why other parents make it harder? When they are little it was the little things…. like being the mom that invited every classmate to the birthday parties even when one of them left your child out. Other times it was the phone call from the parent thanking me for saying no to an activity so they didn’t have to say no to their child.

    But as they grow up, the stakes are much higher and sometimes I wonder what other parents are thinking. I wonder if I am the only one who has to see the look in my son’s eyes when I say “No” to something that “everyone else” gets to do.

    Am I sorry that I won’t let my 16 yr old get in the car with 5 other boys to celebrate the fact that one of them passed their driving test and got their license TODAY . Am I sorry that I feel that it’s dangerous for “the guys” to go driving around to the football game, out to eat and back to his house for “to hang” ? I mean…. “It’s only to the game”, “it’s only 20 minutes away”, “we follow the rules mom”, and “you know that we don’t drink or anything like that”.

    And what he says is true, it is only to the game and they are good kids. I trust him and his friends, and frankly none of them have ever given me reason to think differently. But as I see that look in his eyes that says he thinks we still see him as a baby and are WAY to overprotective, I can’t help but wonder, are we REALLY the only parents that have a problem with this whole scenario?

    I don’t think so….I bet that I’ll get that call, just like when they were little, thanking us for saying no so they don’t have to…..and well truth be told I’m happy to do it. Not because I don’t want to let go and allow him to grow up, but because no matter how “big” my children get, we are the parents and our “job” is to do whatever we can to keep them safe. Our job is to teach them to see the risks in any new situation, and sometimes that means saying NO.

    ~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up  and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com