Thursday, June 25, 2009

Opinions Needed

First of all, let me start off with addressing my older son Joe. He does not like to have his "life" splattered on your monitor, and has made that very clear to me. Therefore, I rarely speak of him on my blog. That doesn't mean that I love him any less; I simply try to honor his wishes. However, he knows that once in a while, his name will come up here.

Now for the current "issue" of the house, and the reason I am requesting opinions.

Alex and eight of his friends (ages 16-19) want to go to Cedar Point Amusement Park on Monday. The park is three hours away and they would need to take two vehicles.

They're just not thinking ahead and that is driving me nuts. Admission price at the gate is $43.99, but you can get discounted tickets at various places, like AAA. But there are NO discounts available at the gate. Have they thought about getting their tickets here first?? Have they thought about looking at a map of the place and sort of planning their day? I told Alex that when we went to Cedar Point back in the early 1990s, we followed someone's advice of going straight to the back of the park first because the lines for the "big" rides were very short, if there was any line at all. Then work your way forward. This helped us out tremendously. These kids really just sort of want to fly by the seat of their pants on this trip, sigh.

After much discussion, Ted and I have decided to let him go, but with some guidelines. This is where I need some unbiased thoughts.

  • First of all, I'm a little concerned because none of these kids have ever driven three hours straight. I know the time will fly by because they'll all be talking and having fun, but I'm worried about distractions for the driver.
  • I told Alex that I want all of their cell phone numbers and a list with their parents' names and home phone numbers, just in case something were to happen.
  • When I asked him who would be driving which cars, he said that they probably wouldn't decide until they were ready to walk out the door. That's a BIG NO, in my opinion. Whichever vehicles are going to be taken need to be reliable and filled with gas. This should be done ahead of time.
  • I think it's important that one person be designated to ride up front and be in charge of communication with the other vehicle. The drivers should NOT be messing around with cell phones AT ALL.
  • To be fair, everyone in each vehicle (except the driver) should financially contribute about $8 to "the kitty." This money will be used for turnpike charges, parking fee ($10 to park!), and gas.
  • The park opens at 10:00 am, so if they want to be there then, they will need to leave here around 7. The park closes at 10:00 pm, and if they stay until closing, everyone will be a little tired. The person riding up front will need to promise to stay awake, to basically make sure the driver stays awake, on the way home. They should also stop for a few minutes about halfway home, just to stretch and get some fresh air.
  • I want a phone call when they get to the park, and another phone call when they leave to come home.
  • We want Alex to be one of the drivers and take my car (a Chevy Trailblazer) because it has OnStar and it's newer and pretty safe.
  • The vehicles should stay fairly close together on the trip up and the trip back, just in case something were to go wrong somewhere along the line. I being unreasonable? I admit that most of this is my doing and Ted just agreed to it.

Alex thinks I am and put a rather nasty bulletin on his MySpace page last night. This morning, however, it was gone, so he obviously deleted it after some thought.

We haven't spent 18 and a half years raising this young man for him to be hurt or killed on a trip to an amusement park. Yet, he'll be away at college starting this fall and I won't know most of what is going on with him.

So there it is...please give me your opinions.


Jen said...

I've done a lot of cross country driving and your ideas are good ones. But I also think that three hours isn't a particularly long one. I did a four hour drive recently (eight total) and didn't have any trouble staying awake or focused.

I would say that making Alex drive your car and making him agree to things like no cell phones is fair. He should also give you all his friend's contact information just in case. Plus, he can do all these things "secretly" and that will help him save face with his friends, but still be safe.

Terre said...

Oh sweetie, in his mind you are being controlling. I've learned that it is best to give your opinion and advice but not demands when it comes to older kids. If you press the issue so much that he is resentful I can guarantee that you will NOT know what is going on at college and when he does come home for break you are in for heartache if you try to instill the house rules again. You'll drive a wedge between you that will take time to heal. The hardest part of parenting is allowing the kids to "fly by the seat of their pants" if that's what they want to do, and keeping your mouth shut when they do make mistakes. You have to allow them to think that you respect them as adults and trust them. Will they make mistakes, yes, but that's how we all learn. Kids will listen to your advice if you don't come across like a controlling parent who is preaching to them like they are morons or too stupid to think on their own. Back off a little and gently remind him that you are excited that he is spreading his wings and can't help but worry. If a kid thinks that you "expect" him to make mistakes he isn't going to turn to you when he does make mistakes and needs your help. I tell my kids that I love them forever for always and know matter what and I pray for their safety. I rely greatly on my faith. Gosh parenting is hard work and not always fun.

Terre said...
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PERBS said...

Well, you have to give them wings sometimes and you can still care about them. IF you gave them good stability in growing up, you have to trust that most of the things you taught them will follow thru but if they make other choices, it's their life. They aren't adolescents any more.