I’m walking out the door to pick up my son’s tux. Prom is tomorrow and while I’m excited to teach him about wrist corsages, dinner manners and what he should do if his date refuses to let him open her car door, something is gnawing at me. You know what it is because you’re a Mom. It is the anxiety about the big three: sex, drinking and pot. So what am I to do with these worries?
Face them head on. I have been preparing for this day for a while now because I knew that I would worry. So my son and I have been talking a lot. Well- I talk, ask questions and then listen to the few words that eek out of his mouth. No, his friends don’t drink. At least his two closest friends. Phew. And sex? Nope- no serious girlfriend, he’s going with a friend and I know how her parents feel about sex too. That helps.
And the drugs? I know his small group of friends and they’re not about that. I know because I’ve watched them for a couple of years now. So why am I still on edge? I’m worried because these guys are living in a tough world. You know what I’m talking about because your kid is there too. But here’s what I know: that we Moms have more power than we realize. We are not the enemy. We are on their side. When we start believing it and talking to our kids like we are their ally, something changes for us and for them. We communicate better. They listen to us even when we talk like grown-ups. Even when we insist on curfews, no drinking, no sex and no pot. Yup. We’re still in charge and we can do that.
I know that somewhere down deep, my son hears me and he likes what he hears. And your son does too. All of them (and I don’t mean to exclude girls) want to hear what we believe about them. So I tell him- and I even tell his friends. Call me intrusive and nosy but I don’t care. I love these kids. They need to hear about what they can do and be right now because everyone around them expects them to screw up on Prom night. We talk about that too.
Here’s what I know about my worries. My fears are real because the world is tough and as a pediatrician I’ve seen just about every kind of trouble a kid can get into. But I will go crazy if I keep worrying and don’t act. So I will try tonight to talk and listen and set up expectaions for these boys that they can have more fun if they stay away from the big three. And when they stay in the room while I talk, I know that they hear me. And I know that they like what they hear because it’s different from anything else out there. That makes me worry less.