Helicopter Mom

I can count on one hand how many times my son has been grounded in his almost nine years of life. Really! He’s always been my good kid, the one I can usually trust to do what I tell him to do. Sure, he might grumble about it in the process, but he does it.

In the last two months, he’s been grounded twice. The first time was in December, when he got caught telling stories about how well he was doing on his A.R. tests. That was ALL him.

As of today, he’s grounded for two weeks. Words cannot express how much I hate this.

But I hate the panicked feeling I got when I couldn’t find him today even more.

The little girl from across the street came over this morning to see if he could come out to play. I was in the back of the house, but I heard my husband tell him it was okay for him to go outside, but he had to stay in the backyard. He specifically told him not to play in the front or side yards…we’ve been rather concerned about traffic and speeders on the highway that runs by our house. Not only that, but we are the first house on the street, and I’ve seen people turn onto our street barely slowing down to turn.

This is, as you might have guessed, the same little girl I have been complaining about for weeks. The loud, obnoxious, bossy girl that is really too old to play with my kids, but I’m thinking she’s run all the other neighborhood kids away. I have all but forbid her coming into my house this past week because I simply could not tolerate her mouth. She knows that I prefer the kids to play in the back, mostly because it’s fenced in, and I don’t have to worry about the road. I can also see them better if they are in the back. (Yes, I’m a Helicopter Mom, I hover. But dang it, I worry.)

An hour or so after he went outside, JB asked me if I could look out back, because he didn’t hear them. I stepped out onto the back porch, thinking that maybe they were in the swing in the corner of the yard…but they weren’t there. I listened, trying to hear voices, but I didn’t hear anything. I called out his name. No answer. At first, I was just mad, because I *knew* that girl had talked him into going somewhere else. My poor boy is so tenderhearted and he’s afraid to just tell her NO, and she’s so dang bossy, she intimidates him. So I went out to the front yard. I didn’t see them anywhere. I called out his name, twice, and loudly. My daughter even walked out there and hollered for him. Nothing. No answer, no laughing, no voices, nothing.

I looked across the street. They weren’t in their front yard. Their front door was closed…one thing I have learned is that they leave the front door open (with a glass door in front) when they are “open to guests”, meaning kids too. Her dad works different shifts. So I felt pretty sure he wasn’t there.

I had no idea where my son was.

I was feeling a panic attack rising up. I ran inside, put on my shoes and grabbed my keys. My intention was to drive around the neighborhood looking for him. I got as far as my truck and heard a noise behind me…it was them. They were in the side yard, closest to the road. Raking leaves. It wasn’t our yard tools, so I knew at some point they had gone to her house to get theirs.

All I said was, “Get inside the house NOW.” I knew if I said anything else I’d completely lose it. I saw the little girl duck behind the house, apparently thinking I wouldn’t see her.

He got inside, and we all had a big Come To Jesus meeting. He’s grounded for two weeks, no TV, no PS2, and definitely NO girl across the street. I told him that I was very disappointed in him, and that I have absolutely no problem in forbidding him from playing with that girl, period. I don’t like her, and I don’t like her blatant disregard for what I tell my children to do. I have never had this big of a problem with any of my children’s friends! My son had one friend back home that I didn’t care for, but he was not this bad.

One of my friends told me today that I was acting like this was all the girl’s fault. No, it’s not, I know that. My son is ultimately responsible for his actions, when she tried to get him to leave the back yard, he KNEW he was not supposed to, all he had to do was tell her no, and if she persisted, then he could have come inside. I desperately wish that he believed in himself enough to stand up to people. He is grounded because he disobeyed us by leaving the back yard, without telling us where he was going.

I don’t think we are too strict. I just expect him to be where he says he’s going to be.


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