Monday, March 11, 2013

Being the “Hang-Out” House




I’ve been called “over protective” and it’s never hurt my feelings. My kids have been called “nerdy” a time or two and I take it as a complement. I’m not trying to raise the “cool” kid here. I’m trying to raise kids that are secure and proud of themselves. It’s not easy, and I sure don’t have a fool-proof plan I’m working from.  Most days I founder around praying that I’m not going to mess this up. Some days I feel that it’s too late…they have many sessions of therapy talking about me in the future. There are days though,  that I look at them and find myself feeling that I must be doing something right. These are the days any Mom lives for. 

I had one of those days when it hit me that my son’s friends enjoy coming to our house. We have a modest and messy house. We do have an awesome yard and we have worked hard to make our basement “fun”.  I have never liked my kids going to someone else’s house unless we really knew them. I’m not even thrilled with them going to cousin’s houses when they can end up who-knows where.  I’m not going to rant here, but there have been a good number of times when my son is nowhere to be found because they wondered off to someone else’s house who is a stranger to me. He was 9. I’m sorry…but I find that very upsetting. If I let my kid go to your house I expect them to be there and under your watchful eye. 

I love that they invite people to our home. I can get to know the kids they are hanging out with better and it always helps to see my own child when he’s with his peers. I also get to hear all the gossip from the kids talking and take mental notes of who I may not want my kids to hang out with in the future. It pays to know some things. I would have never known about the recent drug bust in the middle school if it wasn’t for the gossip around the chip bowl. There have been times when I’ve felt the need to influence a friendship one way or another. Is that controlling? Maybe, but you know what? That’s my job. 

I’d rather have a house full of kids and supply them with snacks and entertainment and know they are safe. I let them play, but I take the responsibility for other parents’ kids very seriously. It becomes my complete duty to make sure that they don’t get hurt. I do let them climb trees..and that makes me crazy nervous..but we all know we have to let them be kids. Buying an Air Hockey Table and a big TV for the basement is a small price to pay for my piece of mind. I believe with all my heart that keeping my kids close will help ensure at least a measure of parenting success. So, yes, I’m over protective.