My 16 year old son is pretty well behaved. He doesn’t skip school, he doesn’t go out without us knowing where he is and he comes in on time.
We’ve never had any reason to think he’s into drugs or smoking. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t drink. He doesn’t like the taste of beer or wine and although he jokes about spirits, he’s never come in drunk or smelling of alcohol. He’s been offered a beer at home, but he won’t take it (unlike his younger brother who will happily have half a glass and would have a lot more if we let him).
He’s never had a girlfriend, although there is a girl he is particularly close to that he sees a lot of.
There have been a few parties, sleepovers and get-togethers, but we usually pick him up before midnight, or at a good time the following morning.
But, talking to a friend whose daughter is 18 months older and in Year 13, I started to wonder whether we should let him do a bit more?
This girl goes clubbing and often goes home at 4 or 5 in the morning. She has her own car. She doesn’t go on holiday with her family any more and has her boyfriend to stay when they’re away.
On the other hand, my son has female friends who still have to hand their phones over to their parents at 9.30pm and aren’t allowed at parties with too many boys or with people they don’t know.
Should we be encouraging him to stay out later, make his own way home, maybe have a drink or two, so that he can get used to these things while his parents are nearby in case things do go wrong?
My son hates going on holiday to Padstow with us, but he will be going along with us as usual this year, when he’s 17. We do make a few allowances for him, but there’s no way we will be letting him miss the family holiday and stay at home on his own until he’s 18.
By having fairly strict rules and always being there to pick him up, are we preventing him from becoming independent? Should he be allowed to make mistakes, so that he is better able to look after himself when he leaves home?
I don’t have any answers, I’m just thinking about it and putting it out there. Will my teenager find his feet in his own time, should we be giving him a little push or should we just be really grateful that he’s not coming home drunk at 5am?