Sometimes you need to have an awkward conversation

It’s easier when things remain unsaid, whether it is where to celebrate the next family holiday, or (not) dealing with a difficult neighbor.  Ignoring a situation doesn’t make it go away and certainly doesn’t solve it. 

The easy choice is not having the awkward conversation; unless it matters.  An example is when your teenager is invited to a party. 

Trust, but verify is a good rule when dealing with teens.  Instruct your teen that they are to call you from the house phone when they get to a party.  This way you can verify they are there.   But you need to do one better; ask to speak to the parents. 

Here comes the awkward part which goes something like this:

Hi this is Johnny’s mom.  I just wanted to make sure that

A)        He was invited

B)        A parent was home

C)         There would be no alcohol

Don’t be surprised if there is awkward silence or harsh reply.  But that awkward conversation is much easier to take then the knock on your door at 2am letting you know your child is hurt or worse.

In this case, I would always opt for the awkward conversation.   For those readers with younger children, spoiler alert – parenting teens is really hard, like nailing jello to a tree!

Best wishes,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

5 Responses to “Sometimes you need to have an awkward conversation”

  1. Debbie says:

    I totally agree with the awkward conversation and that is my practice. I have not encountered the awkward silence or harsh reply yet. If that does happen, what do you do then. Do you require your child to leave the party immediately, do you go and pick up, do you trust that they will make the good choice and not partake? What do you do?

    • admin says:

      You do what is in the best interest of your child.

      • NG says:

        When he was in high school, my son and his friends loved jazz. For his birthday, we took him and his friends into NYC to the Village Vanguard, for a couple hours of jazz. They felt cooool, sitting at the tiny tables in the dimly lit room, listening to the featured trio play. I quietly took the waitress aside, and said: “all the kids at these tables, they’re all in high school, and do not get any alcohol.” She nodded, understandingly. One of the boys overhead me, and said: “WHAT? Oh MAN!” (Meaning: “Come on, you don’t really mean that, do you?”) I just jokingly said: “Not tonight. Not on MY watch!” When the evening was over and they were saying goodnight, the group said: “This was the best party ever.” The fun came from the music and from being together, alcohol wasn’t necessary.

    • NG says:

      The vast majority of parents were gracious and understanding about those tough questions. One or two were indignant: “Well, if we don’t serve alcohol, they’ll just go someplace else and get it. But we won’t let it get out of hand.” At that point, I just made the conversation very light and non-judgmental, and said something like “Oh, I see, well, thanks so much, I’ll come pick them up in 45 minutes.” (And I DID.) Then, I told my kids they could have fun some other way: they could invite their friends to our house, or I’d treat them and their friends to a movie, bowling, ice-skating, roller-skating, miniature golf, ice-cream, etc. I got a LOT of attitude, but I could live with that.

  2. NG says:

    I was always considered the “hard-nosed” parent, when my children were teens. I went to or called the party house myself and spoke with the parents. I not only asked if a parent would be home, but also if they would be visually supervising the teens. [Sometimes parents are home, but are up in their bedroom watching TV and are not aware of what’s going on downsatirs.] On prom night, I called the limo company and restaurants and asked if alcohol would be served. My children were beyond mortified. Guess what. Many years later, I got some thanks-yous. First, from the other parents who said: “I’m so glad you checked things out.” Then, from my kids, who said: “When we saw how the other kids behaved in college, we were glad you raised us like you did.” So, hang tough. It pays off.

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