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My husband and I had some long talks with our boys last night. Separately (because they laugh too much when they are together.)One thing that came up was the fact that both my husband and I and my mother in law require the boys to check in with us when they are outside playing. We live in a small neighborhood and there are many boys that they play with often. However the rule is if they are playing at home and then decide to go to someone’s house they need to let us know. Same thing when they are outside, they are simply suppose to check in so we know where they are.
My youngest son felt that we did not trust him and that this was the reason for the constant checking in. So it dawned on me that sometimes we assume that our children understand why we do the things we do.
So if you run into this issue with your child here is what I told him:
1. I do trust you. I trust that you are going to go where you say you are going to go. I trust that you act well while you are away. I trust that you are having fun but following our rules.
HERE is why we ask you to check in…..
1. It is important that we know where you are in case we need to get a hold of you. My example to him was this: What if I were home with your sister and you were outside playing and something happened to her and I needed to leave the house immediately. If you told me you were at Kid A’s house and I went there and you were not there I would have to search the neighborhood for you wasting much needed time. As you can see if I knew where you were I would be able to pick you up and get on our way.
2. It is important that after a while you check in even if you haven’t changed houses so that I know everything is ok. It would be terrible if something happened to you and you couldn’t call me and I just assumed you were ok when maybe you would need my help.
BUT the number one reason that I think really hit home with him was….
3. Guess What? Adults check in with each other too. He was quite surprised when I said that. I said as an example. Daddy goes to work and is at home every day at 6:30. One day he has a meeting and has to stay after work. If he didn’t tell me he had this meeting don’t you think I would worry about where he is? Or many times Honey and I will go shopping and after we have been out a while I will call Daddy and tell him where I’m going and when I will be home, so he doesn’t worry about us.
I think my son was quite surprised to see it in that light, that our asking him to check in and tell us where he is, is not because we don’t trust him but because we care about him and want to know that he is alright. I hope our talk made him see that not everything us parents do has mean intentions that we do most everything because we care, and many of the things we ask of them we ourselves do as well.
Do your children think you trust them? I hope so! I learned that sometimes it might be wise to ask!