Her own choices

How proud am I right now?

All week Miss17 has begged to go to a party this weekend. That in itself is pretty good. She’s 17, finished school, working, studying at Tafe (which she’s paying for herself) and she’s still asking our permission.

When I was 17 I’d tell my parents where I was going and that was the end of that conversation.

We basically decided late last year to let her make her own calls from now on, with us throwing in questions and an opinion when we deem it necessary. It’s hard cutting those apron strings, but it needs to be done eventually. And subtly. For us this means when we decide they can take control of their social life we simply don’t tell them – they ask, we pretend to think about it and then say yes. By the time they realize they’ve been running their own show they’ve usually got a handle on it.

As Miss17 proved tonight.

We dropped her and her boyfriend at the birthday party late this afternoon – it was slightly out of town on acreage. A group of young people (birthday boy was 20) were all sleeping over and having a bonfire and we were to pick them up tomorrow. It was a big deal.

Two hours later I got a message on Facebook – ‘Dad, are you on FB? Can’t talk but can you call me and make up some excuse and tell me I’ve got to come home?’

Twenty minutes later we had the two of them in our car and got our explanation.

“There were drugs,” she said.

Sometimes I question if we’re doing it right. Sometimes life answers me.


  • Wow, you must be so proud 🙂 You must really be doing something right and so much credit must go to your daughter (and I’m guessing her boyfriend too if you were picking him up as well).
    My parents did the same thing with me – as soon as I got my drivers license, they started to subtly let me make my own decisions. As long as I was a considerate “housemate” and showed them respect, they let me do my thing. I made some mistakes along the way, but I knew I was responsible for them and I wanted to do better. I had an open relationship with my parents. While my friends were lying about where they were and how much they had to drink (underage), my parents would help me strategise and stay safe. They were by no means slack/too easygoing, but they knew I needed to feel I could talk to them, ask for their wisdom and be responsible.
    Again, well done. Your daughter sounds lovely and smart! 🙂

  • When I was 17 my parents would tell me where I was going and that was the end of that conversation!
    I think we’re trying to cut the apron ties a little too soon these days. Past generations were mature much earlier, but not anymore.
    You can be very proud of her though, definitely.
    But… “out of town on acreage”, “sleep over”, “bonfire”, “twenty year olds”… sorry to say that, but it was pretty obvious! 😉

  • Anyone who struggles letting their kid go to a party will have a horrible time when they move out or backpack Europe, especially with no experience in handling difficult situations. In some respects what you say regarding the party is true, Anonymous: we do expect there may be drugs at a party. Of course drugs are at parties & nightclubs, but also work, friend’s houses and, sorry to say, in schools (even in my day, although I didn’t see much going on). The other thing is, birthday boy didn’t own or rent the property – his parents did. And they were home at the party and still there were drugs. We discuss things like drugs at length with our kids – how they will encounter them and how to handle it. This works better, I feel, than keeping them at home in cotton wool. We can only do our best and hope it’s enough.

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