I hate to start off the week with a sad story, but sometimes it's these kinds of stories that have the most impact. The morning news had this story. It's Friday night and this 16 year old girl and her friend, who was sleeping over, had a 3:00 AM craving for a snack. A snack that apparently her own house could not provide. So they jump in the family car and drive to a local gas station/minimart to satisfy their craving. In their haste to leave, the driver leaves her wallet at the minimart. Realizing she didn't have the wallet, back they go to the gas station to get the wallet. Anxious to get home, she speeds off on the dark road home. In her haste, she misses a curve, flips over, hits a tree and is killed. Her passenger, ejected from the car, wanders around, finds a house, rings the doorbell, and tells the homeowner she doesn't know who she is, where she is, or what happened. She is now in a nearby hospital in serious condition.
Such a sad sad story. The dad says of his daughter: "She sometimes did things and didn't think of the consequences at the time because she was just that way. She was a little bit of a rebel, but just a wonderful child that any parent would have been proud of." According to the article, this girl was a talented athlete, honor roll student, and beloved friend of many.
A great kid, and a wonderful daughter. And like most teenagers was impulsive, and didn't think things through. Maybe like your son or daughter. A plan was hatched: no good food here, lets go to the minimart, it will be fun to be out at 3 AM. My parents will never know, they're totally asleep, we'll be home before they ever get we're missing! It was all so easy, so available, so foolproof, except that it wasn't.
Tell this story to your teen:
Using this I Get It moment: "I get kids do stuff like this at sleepovers. I'm guessing there has been a time or two when you and your friends snuck out late at night, cause you thought it would be fun, not really thinking it through. That really scares me. And maybe, you didn't even want to do it, but didn't want to look like a "pussy" so you did it anyway. Maybe this hasn't happened to you yet, but I know it could. Let's come up with a plan so you feel like you have an "out" when a situation like this happens that could potentially be dangerous, and for this girl, deadly. Maybe you could just say, you're too tired, lets just order out and have a cab bring it, offer to treat everyone. Or text me, and I will say there is a family emergency and come get you. Or act like you are sick, and pretend to throw up, we can be creative, I love you and I just want you to be safe."
And if you are the home where a sleepover is happening. Please please please, no matter how well you know the kids at your house, let them know that you are an insomniac and are awake most of the night. wink wink.