My high-schooler, who is a junior, told me a story last week that appalled me, and confirmed why I am an over-protective parent. A sophomore girl at his Catholic school went to a party with kids from the public school which is just about a mile from their school. Naturally, (why, naturally?) there was drinking going on and everyone was drunk. This young lady from the Catholic school passed out, and instead of taking care of her, the other revelers proceeded to vomit on her, urinate on her, and beat her! I don't know how badly she was injured, nor have I found any information on the incident in the papers, but my son said she wasn't at school for several days afterward.
Evidently, it started a huge FB war between the schools to the extent that the principals had to get involved. Extra police presence was required at the next football game to ward off the possibility of fights.
Where on earth were the parents? Where were the parents who owned the house? Where were the parents of the kids who attended the party? Who drove them there?
My kids don't get their driver's license at 16 for several reasons, including the cutthroat traffic in this major metropolitan area. I'm sure they'd like to have a license and a car and the ability to go to lots of parties in 10th grade, but I don't think it's wise or necessary. They go to a few parties where we either know the parents and their attitude, or we're fairly certain that they'll be supervised. At least, if they know we're driving and we'll be picking them up at 11 p.m., they're much less likely to drink if we made a bad call!
I'm sure one of my older three could read this post and say, "Oh, wow, mom, if you only knew about the time...." It's possible that they didn't always behave the way I would like them to, or that there were other teens definitely not behaving, but I've certainly tried to make sure I know where they are, who they're with, who is supervising, and when they'll be back. And we almost never allow them in the car with other teen drivers.
Maybe the teen driving is not the biggest issue here---maybe it's the lack of parental oversight, but I think they go together. If a teen's "mobility" is restricted by the fact that I have to approve of where they are going and then drive them there, I am pretty sure there is much less chance of something happening as it did to that young girl.
What do you think? How do you oversee your child's social life? When do your teens start driving?