When your child brings a friend to your home, do you take note of this friend? Just because you might not like your daughter’s new boyfriend or your son’s new girlfriend, doesn’t mean you can ignore them.
This is where most of us make the mistake and this is where the risk lies. There are various reasons why you might not like your daughter’s new boyfriend. He might be too old for her, too this or too that. All of these might be valid reasons for not liking him which makes it all the more important to make it your duty to get to know this person.
Obtaining as much information as possible from this person might be your child’s saving grace.
As parents, we often choose to fight with our children about the wrongs and rights of life, as it is our duty to protect them against all potential harm. Whilst it is of utmost importance to keep our children safe by any means necessary, we often lose sight of the real risks that our children are faced with every day.
Let’s say your daughter has a boyfriend whom you obviously don’t like because, for one, he is dating your little girl, and two, he is way too old for her, and three, you have a feeling in the pit of your stomach about this guy.
Going against your feelings and because your daughter looks as if she is walking on clouds, and you remember that ‘floating feeling’; you finally agree to let your daughter go on a movie date with ‘Mr Wrong’.
Now picture this: your daughter is all dressed up, hair done and super excited to go on this date. Mr Wrong arrives and picks your young lady up for this movie date.
The curfew is set; she needs to be home at 22:00 and not a minute later. All agree and Mr Wrong promises to have her home on time. Maybe he is a nice guy after all. I mean, he did bring flowers and he was very polite.
You breathe a sigh of relief, realising that your little girl is not so little anymore and you reluctantly hope she enjoys her date. But not too much…
22:00 comes and goes, so does 23:00 and when midnight strikes and you have phoned her a million times, you realise that your gut feeling was right all along. After all the ‘I shouldn’t haves’ and ‘what ifs’ go through your mind, you realise that you don’t know the first thing about the man who took your daughter on the date.
You dismissed the idea of her having a boyfriend and you did not see the need to get to know him because ‘it will never work between them anyway.’
Do you know where they went? What he wore? What car did he pick her up in? Did you take note of the registration number? Birthday? Do you know his cell phone number? His parents? His address? Do you have your daughter’s friends’ numbers? Do you have any photos of him? Do you have updated photos of your daughter?
Where do you start looking? What do you tell the police?
If you think about it, you allowed your daughter to go out with a complete stranger. The very same thing we have been taught by our parents never to do, and that we teach our children, you allowed.
They might have been in an accident. He could have kidnapped her. They could have been hijacked. They both could have been kidnapped. The scenarios are endless. Your thoughts of ‘if only’ will be never-ending.
Yes, she might be home at 21:59, on time as promised. She might marry him one day. But she might also be raped, hurt, sold as a sex slave or left for dead next to the road. No one knows.
This might be harsh to hear, and this is by no means meant to be pessimistic, but rather realistic.
These things happen every single day, all over the world and to think that it will never happen to you or to your family, is a fool’s way of thinking. It might never happen to you, great. It also might happen, and then what?
In another real-life scenario, a loving mom and dad warned their daughter about a boy she was dating. She had known the boy for a few months and finally brought him home to meet her parents. They were of the opinion that he was too old for her and they tried to make her understand. She refused and kept on dating him.
In the months to come, the parents made no effort to get to know this boy, he was not allowed at their home and they were not interested in anything about him.
One morning, as usual, the mom made a cup of tea and went to wake her daughter up for school. Instead of finding a peacefully sleeping 15-year-old, she found a note saying that she left with her boyfriend to start a new life with him.
Put yourself in their shoes. Did they know where to start looking? Who to call? Where the boyfriend lives?
Needless to say, to this day, the girl has not been found. She could still be alive; she could be dead.
She could be happy and safe, or she could be a drug addict. She could be needing her parents so badly, but she might not have a way to get to them.
The worst part is that her parents go to bed every night not knowing what really happened to their daughter, or where in the world she could be.
Can you imagine that? Parents who have been through this describe this feeling and the reality of not knowing where your child is as “worse than hell itself.”
I’d rather be the annoying, overprotective and know-it-all parent than the parent who cries herself to sleep every night with ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ questions swirling in my head forever. A parent is always a parent; whether their child is 15 or 25.
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