With graduation season and its accompanying party circuits rapidly approaching this year, it's probably time for us moms to have a talk.
You know, the one where we help support one another as parents so we feel less pressure to give in to our kids' unrealistic desires for a graduation celebration. In other words, it's totally uncool to try to be the cool mom around graduation season. Here's why.
First and foremost, even the name is nonsensical. Cool mom. Cool mom? Those two words shouldn't even be next to each other. Being a mom means encouraging lots of uncool activities. Eating veggies, wearing clean underwear, flossing... these are the purview of motherhood, not anything remotely cool. And that's just fine. It doesn't mean that because you're a mom you're no longer cool, just that being a mom and being traditionally cool really are mutually exclusive. It's just one of life's realities.
What most high school kids would likely consider to be a cool parent is likely one that is missing some basics, like rules and supervision. And there's absolutely nothing cool about neglect.
More: How to be a cool mom
It's easy to get sucked into the pressure to go along with all the grandiose dreams of grad night. Let's rent a hotel room! Let's get a limo! To your kids, these all sound like fun, possibly innocent ways to celebrate the night, but you know better than that. You've been there, done that, and you know what kind of trouble comes with those circumstances. Don't invite trouble for your kids by leading them down a road that's only going to end with poor decisions.
Some parents who just assume kids will be drinking on grad night try to mediate the situation by striking a deal to let everyone drink at their house, "under their roof," where they — incorrectly — assume they can keep a handle on the situation. You can't. Drunk teenagers are never able to be tamed, so please don't assume you can get everyone else's kids drunk and handle it without letting their parents in on the plan. That's not cool — it's dangerous.
To your kids, graduation night marks the end of an era, and it does. But you also know that it marks the beginning of something even bigger — real life. One simple mistake on graduation night can lead to unpleasant, long-lasting results, including police records or canceled scholarships and college acceptances.
When our kids are part of a group of friends, they're only as well supervised as the group's most lenient parent. We all have to work together and talk openly about the rules for our kids and our expectations for their behavior. And when we see our kids' friends acting out or getting themselves into trouble, it's way cooler to be the adult and protect them from harm. And in turn, all we can hope is that other adults are looking out for our kids in the same way. Think of it as parenting karma.
More: Why the cool mom loses
Although laws vary from state to state, most have some type of social host liability to enforce penalties on parents who help kids and teens get drunk and then send them out to do harm to themselves, someone else or property. In fact, if a drunk teenager causes a wreck driving home from a party at a parents' house, the parents are open to being sued or even thrown in jail.
Graduation night isn't the time for any of us to try to be cool. Instead, this graduation season, let's focus on keeping our kids safe and out of trouble. Because as a mom, there's nothing cooler to me than that, and I bet you agree.
This post was sponsored by Anheuser-Busch.
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