Christopher and I try so hard to have an open and honest relationship with Ashley. We talk to her, we ask her opinions, we listen to her and her ideas and we try to always really think about her requests before we just say no. She is in high school, and we have been giving her more freedoms and responsibilities. We have been letting her do more with friends and stay out later.
We have even been open to her dating. We laid out some ground rules before she even had a boyfriend so that limits would be clear. Breaking any of these rules will result, at the minimum, in grounding and loss of cell phone. She is on her second boyfriend now. They have been dating for a little more than a month. Here are our rules:
- No riding in cars with boys.
- No going to a boy's house if parents aren't home.
- No boys at our house if we aren't home.
- No going to your bedroom with a boy unless you have specific permission and then the door stays wide open.
- No one on one dates yet. Group dates and even double dates are probably okay.
- We need to meet the boy and at least one parent before you can go to his house.
- You need to keep your grades up and stay involved with school activities.
- You need to continue to spend time with your friends, not just with the boy.
This morning, Ashley lied about being on her phone really late at night so she was going to lose her phone for the day. Before she handed her phone over she tried to quickly delete some messages. I stopped her and told her to give the phone to me right away. A few minutes later she came to me upset and wanted to talk. She told me that if I checked her texts, I would see a message from the boy asking if she needs a ride to school. She assured me that he always asks her this and she always says no. I knew she was lying. I looked her in the eyes and told her now was her one and only chance to come clean or punishment would be ten fold. She started to cry and admitted that she had been taking rides to school with him in the mornings after we leave for work. We have paid for a bus pass and she has told us that she takes the bus every morning.
Of all the rules to break, that is the most serious one. We talked to her about the reasons. It's not that we don't think the boy (or any kid) is necessarily a bad driver, but we don't want her to ever be in a place that she can't get out of. She doesn't know how to drive herself, so she wouldn't be able to get herself to safety if she was riding somewhere with another kid. On top of that is the safety issue, but bigger than them all is the lying.
So many times we have given her extra privileges or opportunities and have always told her that we trust her. That we will continue to trust her until we have a reason not to. Well, we have that reason now. I'm more than mad. I'm hurt, betrayed, disappointed and sad too.
I know that teenagers screw up. I knew that she would sometime too. I just didn't know it would feel this way when she did. I don't blame the boy entirely, although he was clear on what the rules were as well, so I am upset with him for breaking our trust too.
So, she loses her phone for the semester. She doesn't get to go to the Sadie Hawkins Dance at school. We will give her rides in every morning and she will not be allowed to see him outside of school for at least a month. We have been lax about her attendance at youth group, but we are going to again start requiring her to go.
She will need to build that trust back up. I don't know how she will do it. I don't know how I will be able to give her trust again. I don't know how we, as a family, will get through this. I only know that we will. We have to.