Saturday, March 10, 2012
“Do you read my text messages?” The Beast asked feigning nonchalance, but I could tell there was anger behind the question.
“Sweetheart, I can’t even manage to go on the school’s Parent Portal to check whether or not you handed in homework. I am not even sure if I can turn on your phone.”
“You can’t” she said triumphantly “It is locked” and then added with pride—“with a very difficult password.”
The Beast is just like her father—smart and annoying with all things electronic. I, on the other hand, would still be using a rotary phone if I could find one anywhere.
Not sure what started this line of questions...so I decided to asked one of my own: “Should I be reading your text messages? Is there something I should know, but you don’t want to tell me?” I tried to sound concerned, but not panicky—the way I really felt.
“Zoe’s mother read her text messages and found out she was dating Craig and she told Zoe she had to break-up because she was too young to date.”
“Really? Did Zoe break-up with Craig?!” I said—intrigued by the power.
“Of course she did.” My daughter said—with anger clearly in her voice. “ Her mother said she had to.”
“Interesting.” I said. “would you break-up with someone if I told you to? Even if you felt I was wrong?” trying to gauge just how much power I had without knowing it.
The Beast looked straight ahead through the windshield as we passed the strip malls and the odd accountant offices on our way to the orthodontist’s office—not saying yes or no. The husband and I raised a polite and honest, but hard-headed child so I did not expect an answer.
It is strange about our car conversations when we go to the dentist—it is just far enough away from our house to provide the beginning of the a good story, but never quite long enough to get full satisfaction. We pulled into the parking lot and, of course, we were late and the conversation could not be rekindled.
But I guess these are the questions:
How much can you dictate your child’s life?
Why didn’t Zoe ’s mother know she was dating someone before her stealth text reading?
What works better--an iron grip or constantly reminding them—that we love them and want them to be safe.
So I said to The Beast on the way home. “ I want to tell you ‘ No drugs, no sex, no alcohol’, but these are things I can’t stop you from doing…I can only hope (to quote Ms. Churchlady) that you make good choices.”
I have mixed feelings about the whole texting scandal…I am not sure if I am more angry at—Zoe’s mom for reading her daughter’s texts or for Zoe for blindly obeying her mother. Does she not know that “Good Girls Seldom Make History.”