Let me tell you, it is NOT easy parenting teens. People think toddlers are tough? They're nothing compared to teens. At least toddlers are pretty transparent. And they're more physically challenging as opposed to mentally challenging.
We had a rough couple of years with Carissa during her pre-teens. But, lately things have been going well. She's getting good grades, her attitude is pretty good, she doesn't sass (much), she's involved in extra curricular activities, does her chores (sometimes with multiple reminders, but they get done). I guess it was too much to ask to keep at this even keel.
A little bit of background, there is a girl in the neighborhood that is her age. When we first moved in almost four years ago they were pretty good friends, in the sense that they hung out at school, not so much at home. But, they were always bickering and friends, not friends, friends, not friends. And when they were friends they tended to gang up against others. To the point that we got numerous calls home from school. We handled those issues and let the school handle them too. BUT, the other mom would knock on our door EVERY SINGLE TIME something went wrong and basically accuse Carissa of being the mastermind behind it all. Never once did she or her daughter own up to her part in it all. Now, I've never once denied that Carissa was a part of it, but it wasn't all her. But, this other mom always came to our house and always wanted to know how we were going to handle the situation, blah, blah, blah. I've got to say, that when kids are this age (11, 12, 13) I think they're a bit too old to have mommy and daddy fighting their fights for them (unless of course it's something major). But, these things were name calling incidents or just girls being mean. Our philosophy was to let the school handle it and then we'd reinforce the school's discipline at home. And I really didn't see a need to find out how the other family was dealing with it. But, I guess they felt differently.
Well, it got to the point that we forbade Carissa to hang out with this girl. They were always causing trouble. They were always fighting. AND I didn't want the damnn mother at my house every other day accusing my daughter of things. Half the time, I didn't even know yet what had happened, so she'd catch me off guard and then want me to confront Carissa right there without even hearing her side of the story. It was to the point that I had her class changed in 6th grade because they were placed together.
So, things have been going well. We just don't try to interact with that family. They drive like speed demons down the street and my husband gives them dirty looks for it. The daughter told my husband to "Fuck off" one day when he was picking up our son from the bus stop. So, we just generally don't like them and try to stay away. And we thought Carissa was doing the same.
But, guess who got a knock on their door a few days before Christmas. Yup, us. Guess who it was? Yup, the girl's dad. He wanted to know why our daughters couldn't be friends and why we didn't like them and blah, blah, blah, sob, sob, sob. Seriously, I was so caught off guard that I didn't have my A game ready. I basically told him that we told our daughter to stay away from their daughter because it was just too much trouble/work for them to be friends. The constant bickering and getting in trouble and knocks on my door. We're trying to teach our daughter about HEALTHY relationships and about the type of people that make GOOD friends. I told him that I just didn't think she was getting that from their daughter. Well, he practically begged us to give them another chance. And stupid me agreed, on one condition: IT IS UP TO THE GIRLS. THE PARENTS ARE NOT TO BE INVOLVED. In any way shape or form. I made it VERY clear that I did not want his wife knocking on my door about their friendship. Period. And that if they started to cause trouble we'd be rethinking this whole thing.
And all was fine and dandy...