There’s an old joke that goes something like this:
The mother says to her teenager, “Wake me up when you get in. You know I can’t sleep until I know you’re home.”
At some point, this joke becomes all too real. We try to wait up for our kids to come home, but we are tired. We sometimes fall into some sort of limbo between sleeping and waking until they come in. Some of us go to bed but ask the children to wake us up the minute they come in, hence the joke.
Why do we wait?
Some would say this joke is exactly right. We wait because we can’t sleep even if we fall asleep.
Maybe our child is driving and that adds another element of worry.
The prevailing wisdom of the day tells parents to wait for children to come home from their evening social adventures. When they walk in, look them in the eye, have a conversation of a few sentences and then go to sleep.
With these actions, parents will know if their children have been up to no good and children will know that they are likely to be caught in bad behavior.
Obviously, teens will pull a few over on us parents and we may laugh (or cry) about it later in life if they ever tell us the real truth. But, I do believe that if you wait up, you will know if your child is a habitual offender.
Then there is the issue of a curfew. Some people assert a strong and fixed curfew with a punishment for being late. Others feel a little more wishy-washy. We don’t want any fast driving or bad judgment to form around being a few minutes late.
A parenting book once suggested to treat the curfew as a general thing and not to bark about the time if they are close. When you wait up, you
also know what time your kids arrived.
During the school year, it is easier to follow all this wonderful parental wisdom. The summer is another story. How are parents supposed to wait up night after night when we have to work early in the morning?
So here is another joke. What is that bleary-eyed lump on the couch? That’s your mother.