Did Your Parents Keep Tabs On You?

A friend remarked that she knows where her 16-yr-old is at all times, and I think she really means it. Apparently she attends all of her daughter’s softball practices and games, and wouldn’t dream of leaving her home alone while she and hubby took an overnight trip.

It’s been forever since I was a teenager, but I don’t recall my parents keeping track of me to that extent. I barely acknowledged their existence in public most days, IIRC.

OTOH that’s not to say that overnights are a good idea; when I was a kid, an empty house was awfully tempting and a whole lot of nookie ensued.
Wondering what it’s like for youse kids dese days.

Well, when I was a kid (did I just say that?) Wait…

A few years ago, when I was 16, my parents did not keep tabs on my that much. They were at sporting events, but not with me. I was allowed to do pretty much whatever, so long as I kept out of big trouble (basically not arrested…) and kept a job and school work under control. I did a lot of dumb things that way, but now that I’m a parent, I’m not sure how I will handle my son at that age (luckily, I have some time to think about it).

As of right now, I go with the belief that if you teach them right and raise your kids to be good people, you don’t have much to worry about. Yes, kids are going to drink, and probably have sex in their teens, but my wife and I both did those things and it has not affected us negatively - other than to look back and say “yeah, that was dumb” - and we hope that our son will make good decisions.

I would also worry that a kid who is in his teens and is treated like a 3 year old may have problems when moving off to college (for example, getting way out of control since parents aren’t nearby for once)

Brendon Small

Yes and no.

I was sixteen before cellphones became ubiquitous. I had a car (an old junker I paid $500 for, thank you very much; admittedly, my parents paid the other $500 as a Christmas gift) and I could go more or less where I wanted as long as I let my parents know where I was going and when I’d be back. They rarely checked in on me either, trusting that I was not feeding them a line.

And for the most part I lived up to their trust. If I was going to my best friend’s house, that’s where I said I was going. I wasn’t barred from dating or anything like that. Sometimes I’d take a trip across the ferry to the next town and hang out. Curfew during the week was… 10 pm, I think? And 11 on the weekends. Give or take an hour. If I was going to be later than that, I had to call, but the weekdays were pretty firm on curfew times.

I remember vividly an evening in the summer when I was sixteen. I’d been hanging out with my friends on the beach. I didn’t share in the winecoolers but I did leave at 10:30 so I could be home by 11. I felt like a bit of a dork, but they were all cool about it. When I walked in the house my mother was in the living room and proceed to ask me incredulously…

…what I was doing home so early. “Weren’t you having fun? Weren’t you with your friends? You’re sixteen! I expect you home late in the summertime; that’s okay! Just don’t drive drunk and let me know if you’re spending the night at someone’s house.”

This was made easier with the fact that she knew all my friends quite well and could raise twenty thousand kinds of hell with them if they got me into any serious trouble. Also, she trusted in my responsibility. Yes, she had to know where I was (in a general sense) at all times, but beyond that I was pretty free.

I’m quite aware this would not work with every teenager, but my rebellions were relatively mild.

Oh – and because I edited too late:

My parents had no problem at all being gone for days at a time when I was a teenager. By the time I was about, oh, thirteen or fourteen I was considered trustworthy enough to manage the house by myself for a weekend. It didn’t happen often, but it wasn’t unheard of. I never had one single crazy drunken party at my parents’ house while they were away.

I did go to one or two crazy drunken parties at OTHER people’s houses, though. :smiley:

My parents pretty much kept tabs on us, but my mother was famously overprotective. Sure, we still found ways to get into trouble and that just made her try and watch over us more closely. We all turned out pretty well, fwiw.

I was last a teenager in 1998. I never have been one for going out much, but when I did, my parents knew where I was at all times. I never lied about where I was going; I didn’t feel the need, and anyway I was so susceptible to guilt (a fact that my mother milked for full advantage, you may be sure) that I would never dare to do anything “bad” even if I wanted to. My sister, on the other hand, was a troublemaker for no real reason. She’d lie about where she was going even when the truth would have been fine with our parents. She wouldn’t call when she was going somewhere or going to be late, so my parents got her a pager for her birthday. For a couple of weeks, she was easy to keep tabs on. Then she started leaving her pager at home, which we only discovered when Mom paged her one night and I heard the pager go off when it wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the house. I would have been grounded till, well, now, for that, but my sister got away with it as she got away with everything else. And yes, she was leaving it at home on purpose; she admitted as much.

When I was a teenager, my only parent became a real problem. There wasn’t a single place I could go that she approved of or saw the reason why I would want to go there, and not a single one of my friends or dates were worthy.

“Why would you want to go to the movies? There’s nothing decent playing.”

“You can’t go to the dance, that’s where the Devil lurks.”

“That concert isn’t music, it’s just noise! Why do you want to listen to that jungle music? Something wrong with Mozart?”

“Why not stay home and read a nice book?”

“Where did you learn such filthy language? Those friends of yours?”

“Who is that girl? She’s all wrong for you! She’ll get you in trouble!”

So, since there was absolutely nothing I could do that would please her, except go to church every day of the week, I decided I would never reveal where I was going, who with, or when I was coming back. It worked, and by the time I reached 40, she got used to it.

My Mom did… she’s usually have an idea of where I was (I didn’t have a cell) and if I told her I was somewhere, then I was there. I get guilty real easily at times, though Mom never took advantage of that and it kept me in line on it’s own.

Still does sometimes.

That was how I grew up: my parents knew all my friends, knew where I was going to be and (generally) what I was doing. (I say generally, because there were certain specifics that they never learned about.) They kept track of my brother and sister the same way, but as the years went on and we turned out okay, they got more and more lax, to the point where they knew that my youngest brother was staying out all night and getting drunk at 16 and 17, but they didn’t mind as long as he called them at midnight to say he wasn’t coming home.

While he’s the least responsible of my sibs, he’s actually turned out okay. I’ll never tell him that, though. :slight_smile:

Thinking about that specifically, I don’t know if my parents were all that normal, and I think I showed some horrible judgment with the parents are gone/let’s party thing. See, when they were gone overnight I was really the most responsible. Sure, I might go out to a ball game or whatever, hang out with some friends, but by 12-1 at night I was home. It was when they were gone for the evening and I had nothing to do that our trouble happened. My friends and I actually thought we could get away with getting completely wasted drunk (about 2 cases of beer drank or spilled between 6-8 guys and 4 girls) when my parents showed up at the house. The worst of all, they had only been across town at a ball game.

That same weekend, I got in trouble for telling them I’d be at a ball game and being at my home with a young lady. I was never punished for that more than my father decided I should not be allowed to see that specific young lady anymore. I was still allowed to do pretty much anything else.

I did have a curfew, but it was not strict. Usually, school/work nights, 11-12. Other nights, as long as I called or they had an idea, no problems coming in at 3-4 am. The biggest thing was, when I had to work, it was a bitch to get me up through the locked bedroom door and the television/music left on in my room, so they preferred I came home earlier.

Brendon Small

I was smart, yet naive, and I was not terribly supervised, although it felt like it at the time. The only real rule was that I had to be home on time, and I had to check in by knocking on their bedroom door and saying, “I’m home!”

My dad was more suspicous than my mom and I remember one time he asked me to come into the room after I knocked. I wasn’t sure what he wanted, but he smelled my breath and it must have smelled normal, so I was vindicated, right? No, my friends, he then smelled my hand and it proved that I had been smoking. Then he smacked me across the face, the one and only time he ever did that. My dad wasn’t too worried about alcohol, and definitely not worried about pot, but he was obsessively worried about me smoking cigarettes, and I credit him for me being a non-smoker today.

I did stay with friends a lot, and I snuck around staying out late and stuff because some of my friends were older (which mom and dad did not know) and they had no curfews. Very few weekends were spent at home once I was a teenager.

I was a teen in the late nineties. I was asked to tell my mother where I was at any given time and had to make phone calls home now and then.

My rotten jerk of a father was the most domineering and abusive control freak imaginable. We lived in the same jerkwater town he grew up in; he knew the fathers of most of my friends and hated every one of them. He made it abundantly clear that he didn’t trust me or my friends. I couldn’t leave our house without him recording the mileage on my car before I left and again when I came back; he would then demand an accounting as to where I had been, what I had done there and with whom I had been associating. Sorriest bastard that ever lived.

Teen of the '80’s here. Yeah, I’d say my parents pretty much knew where I was all the time, but then, that just seems like common courtesy when you’re living in the same house - I knew where they were all the time too (“Hey dad, I’m going to the skating rink now”. “Well I’m going to the supermarket. Be back for dinner!”). They certainly didn’t keep tabs on me though, and I didn’t expect (or want!) them to take me places unless it was really unavoidable.

Started going places during the day without parental supervision from about the age of 11 or 12. First overnighter on my own would have been about 16 (probably would have been younger but for the existance of my five-year-old brother - leaving a teenager by themself for a night is a very different prospect from leaving them in charge of a preschooler)

I did have friends whose parents kept much stricter controls on them though. They seemed to turn out ok in the end - would have driven me crazy though.

I became a teenager in 1967. I was the oldest of 5, so I never had the house to myself overnight, and rarely during the day. We had 1 car when I got my license so driving was a rarity. I was saving as much money as I could for college (I knew my folks couldn’t afford to send me) so buying a car was not even an issue for me - I rode my bicycle everywhere.

This was long before the age of cell phones, but if I was going to a friend’s house, my mom knew where I’d be and she had the phone number. I knew when I was due home, and if I was running late, I knew I had to call.

Not that any of that was an issue - I was *such * a goody-goody!!

With my own daughter, I knew her friends and I knew where she’d be and when she was due home. We got her a cell (and a car) when she started driving, and she knew to call as necessary. For the most part, she was a good kid, and when she did take advantage of having the house to herself one weekend and we found out, she realized the value of parental trust, and we worked thru that pretty quick.

Now she’s 800 miles away in college. I worry, because that’s my job. But she calls, sometimes just to chat, and if I get too worried, I’ll email her or leave her a voice mail and she always gets back to me. Of course, she’s nearly 22 now, so I try to let go. But she’s still my baby.

My dad was fairly lax with me. I’m the youngest of four girls and he figured that the first three came out okay, so I probably wouldn’t screw up too much either. I had to let him know where I was going and around when I would be home. If I was going to be much later, I would need to find a phone and let him know. When I was in eleventh grade, he told me that I didn’t have a set curfew on school nights, but that I was expected to use my best judgment about when I would want to be in bed to get up for school the next morning. I had a few sleepy days at school, but not many.

80’s teen.

My father was a teacher at my high school, so he knew how my grades were (good all though H.S., so not much of an issue) and whenever I had a heated disagreement with a teacher (not frequently, but it happened). Other than that, my parents and I respected each other. They expected me to let them know where I was going and when I’d be back, but I can’t recall them ever forbidding me to go anywhere (including into Harvard Square for midnight Rocky Horror showings) and the worst I ever got for staying out too late was “Where the hell were you? Geez, we were about to call the police. Call us when you’re going to be late, would you?” On the other side of the coin, I had the typical teen attitude and rebellion issues, but I still made decent grades, didn’t do drugs and didn’t get arrested or suspended (though I did plenty of things that probably could have gotten me suspended). They let me drink (moderately) with them at or after dinner, so while I occasionally chugged a few beers when I had the place to myself, there was no temptation to sneak out and get trashed.

Well its possible, after a good many pints Ive sometimes heard ghostly moaning in my vicinity
“when are you going to marry that girl son?” and" when are you going to stop playing at cowboys and Indians ,settle down and get a normal job?"

They had both better stand by cos when I die they’re going to get some backchat from me and no messing!

Never did. Mom worked 2 jobs my entire life growing up. Got into a lot of trouble and did horrible in school. Didn’t get things in gear til my mid 20s, but now everything is good.

No, and they really don’t need to.

They have better things to worry about, first of all. I have sisters who require attention.

But really… I get myself to school and dance class, I get myself home, I go to occasional parties or out with friends, I get to and from work on my own, I sometimes just leave without telling anyone and go to the mall or something.

I could probably be in the wind for several days before anybody noticed.

… but honestly, it’s not a big deal. I’m not really a squeaky wheel. I don’t do anything illegal or really out-of-bounds, I get my schoolwork done without having to be told, I don’t ride in cars with people who are under the influence of anything, I look both ways before crossing the street, and I don’t get in cars with strangers. I can hold my own.

There are periods when I’m losing weight and my food habits start getting watched. But in those cases, it’s not like my mom comes to watch me dance or brings me food during play practice. She just tells the person in charge to look after me. And that usually lasts about two minutes because it isn’t pleasant for anybody.