Saturday, October 30, 2010

Motherly Advice...

I'm always quick to give it. Now I need some back.

If you're a regular visitor to my blog you know I'm not one for 'long posts'....but today is going to be one of those long posts, know up front that I appreciate you hanging in there!! xo!

I find myself this morning at a very 'cosmic' place, for lack of a better word. It's as if all my thoughts, concerns, and fears have molded together in my mind and brought me here. It's not a good cosmic place-I'm not comfortable in it.

The best way to tell you about this is to go back a couple of days. On Thursday of this week, two teens (17 & 16) were killed in a car accident about an hour or so north of our home. Speed.
They were speeding on a highway, tried to divert lanes and lost control. The male driver (17) was thrown from the vehicle, the female passenger (16) was dead and trapped in the car for hours. They had just left school, her parents believed she was riding the bus home. I didn't know these two teens, but the story left me in tears, literally.

I spent my day in melonchally. I just couldn't shake the whole story and the pictures of it. Most of you know I have a 17 year old daughter-Hannah- who's been driving for about 6 months now and like alot of parents at this time of life, well-I pray alot.

Hannah is not one to make bad decisions. She makes me so proud all of the time I have to pinch myself. She's about a straight A student with realistic goals in life. She is always quick to dismiss herself from the 'wrong crowd' and I so admire this. Pretty much an all-around perfect child. Lucky mom huh? I think so too.

Yesterday, my dear friend PJ did a wonderful post about being a 'good mom'. If you haven't seen it you should go check it out....very thought provoking. I loved it because it so spoke to me, it's one of my favorite subjects. I commented about how being a good mom to me was about always being dilligent at quick to learn from your mistakes and keep at it. to last night. I let Hannah go with a friends family to a Halloween haunted house- almost 2 hours north of us. I knew this meant she'd be home late, driving later at night than I ever let her before (illegal mind you) but I let her go. I didn't like it but it was one of those very few times I conceded. Big mistake, mom. Here comes the icky part of my 1:30 am this morning I got a call from a State Trooper. He had just pulled Hannah over for speeding, he was very concerned, and rightly so...85mph in a 50mph zone. I was-am still devastated. I thanked him for what I believe was an act of 'saving my daughters life'. I've barely slept since.

I realize that some of you reading this have children that are older and grown, and have been through this in one way or another, and maybe think, well....'it's part of growing up, for parent and child-it will be okay.' I think that too, after all, my son is 22 and we did the speeding ticket thing with him and got through it...part of life. But for some reason...this feels different.

I feel lost, like I don't even know how to handle it this time, mostly because it was so out of character for her and so against all I've tried to instill in her. After all, like I wrote in PJ's comments, I believe that children live what they are taught. So which lesson did this teacher miss? Which chapter did I skip over? 85 in a 50 remember. How do I even approach this? If I missed that chapter -and didn't even know it- what else did I miss???

It is likely that she will lose her license...what judge in his right mind, two weeks from now and in light of the recent teenage speeding accident involving teens-is not going to take her license? I told her last night this was possible, and I won't be pleading for her in any way shape or form, under any circumstances. It goes against everything I believe to stand up for a child who was wrong in their actions. She's pretty devastated. I ended it with ...Hannah, I love you more than you know, and when we are in court on Nov 16th, I'll be thanking God that I'm only in court and not at the cemetary.

That is what the judge will do I'm pretty sure-what I am unsure of is what I should do. Do I let her drive from now till then-at all? Do I take the keys, make her take the school bus to school, which will devastate her? Do I ground her? I've never had to ground her before. Is what I'm pretty sure the court will do punishment enough? Or is this one of the areas parents must be the really bad guy, which amounts to ruining her junior year in highschool, at least in her eyes. I have to decide what to do-at least until the Nov 16th court date, at which time someone else will decide.

I'm honestly lost on this...and your thoughts will be so appreciated-I don't want to miss any more chapters.


JStacie said...

Unfortunately, part of being a parents job is "being the bad guy". The judge may take her license but you have the responsibility of implementing consequences, too. I don't think two weeks until the court date is too harsh. My kids aren't teens yet, but I remember the dumb stuff (really dumb) I did right after I got my license. Teens never think bad things are going to happen to them- therefore the rules don't apply. That is when parents that know better have to step in. If the judge doesn't take their license, I think that you can buy things to track a teen's speed, as an accountability measure. (I debated replying because I didn't want to be a knowitallbuttinski!)

Julie Harward said...

The teen years are a killer for parents..thats for sure! I know, been there, done that with 8 kids!. They are faced with the biggest decisions of their life, things that can stay with them for most of their life, like smoking and drinking and drugs. They don't have the good senee to make good decisions, especially when faced with the wrong peer pressure. I think all you can do is be consistant and hold the them..stay connected to them so they will talk to you..and keep talking and loving them. They must take their licks and learn, I wouldn't let her drive for a good while..she has blown that one..and yes, let the law help with that. Even the best ones can get in big trouble fast. Keep her involved in good things with good people. Some how they turn out and learn, with some it takes more time and sad lessons. God bless you and stay on those knees mom...there is help.

LuLu Kellogg said...

Oh Paula, I am so thankful she was not hurt. It could be that the judge may give her a provisional license where she could drive back and forth to school and that would be it. Just from what you have said about Hannah, I think she is a good kid and as long as she's got a good attitude about what happend and realizes the severity of it, I would just possibly restrict her driving to the daytime (like to school and back)until she goes to court. My heart goes out to you and her both. Again, I am SO thankful that she was not hurt.


Karen Sabrsula said...

As the single mother of a 15 year old that gets her license in 6 months, I read with interest. A tough call and tough decision. Why was she speeding? To try and get home on time? For the joy? Out of fear of being out on the road at a late hour and rushing to get home to get the experience over with? As a parent, all we can do is teach and hope they learn. Often, they can only learn from their own mistakes. They grow from those just as much as from what we pass on to them. Sometimes, we have to let life run its course. Prayers of comfort for you!

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

This could be long winded.

Children learn what they live, but free will is a part of human nature. Combine a little free will with the inexperience of youth, the adrenalin surge of an evening's freedom and flying down the road, and many kids will succumb to a lead foot. Most don't get caught. It doesn't mean they aren't doing it.

It in no way reflects your parenting skills, and, if you stop and think about it, you know that to be true.

The good Lord intervened on Hanna's behalf last night in the form of that State Trooper. She's very lucky. She was very, very foolish, irresponsible and reckless......for a comparatively brief moment in time. She needs to feel harsh ramifications for it or she won't learn from it.

No one can tell you how to parent your child. We can only tell you what we have done with ours. My children both had their share of reckless driving.

Taking the keys away from her until court is a good start. Telling the judge to please suspend her license is also good. Listen, it would only be for 6 months and she'd learn a valuable lesson.

And I wouldn't let her drive at night (even when she's greenlighted by you or the judge to drive)
until she's proven she can be a responsible day time driver.

Ruining part of her junior year versus saving her life or the life of someone's a no brainer.

You're a loving, actively involved mother and role model. She's going to go to school on how you deal with this.


Claudia said...

Well, Paula, I don't have kids, as you know. I was a teacher for many years and learned very quickly that I had to stick to my guns. If I made it clear that something would not be accepted, and it was done anyway, then there had to be consequences.

First of all, thank God she's safe and wasn't hurt as a result of her actions. For what it's worth, I think the keys should be taken away from her. If she has to take the bus, so be it. Some embarrassment in the face of the very real risk she took is probably a healthy thing. I don't want to sound like one of those people who say, "When I was a kid...." but I didn't have a car. I walked a long distance to school - if I had lived further away, I would have had to take the bus. I know it is the thing for kids to drive to school nowadays - my nephew does the same thing - but that privilege can only be awarded because of responsible behavior.

It's like the movie "Scared Straight" - although I think that had to do with drugs. A suspension will be a good thing in the end for her. She sounds like she is a really good kid who made a bad decision. But since that decision could have resulted in the loss of her life and possibly others, I think suspension is appropriate.

Oh, I know, here I am giving my two cents...but you did ask. In the end, I know you will do what you feel you have to in your heart. And it will be the best thing for your daughter.

Hang in there.


Marsha @ Tattered Chick said...

Thankfully she was not hurt nor anyone else hurt.

I do not have children but have several grand nieces and nephews who are teenagers and young adults and doing the work I do I see so much loss due to driving while texting, drunk driving etc and it all scares me.

My two cents. A vehicle can be a "weapon" and it does kill. Driving is a privilege, not a right and if you break the law/rules, then your privilege needs to be taken away until you earn the right again.

Perhaps some community service work, volunteering something along those lines where people have been hurt, a life lost etc due to speeding or drunk driving or texting while driving.

You want her to be safe and have instilled in her good values and judgment, but like all of us she will make bad decisions/judgments in life and she must accept the consequences, whatever they may be, for her poor choice.

You do this because you love her.

Sending you a hug

stefanie said...

oh, I truly know what you are going threw!!!! my oldest boy is seventeen and driving, he is like your daughter, such a great kid, that I am so thankful, but I guess they are kids, I just grounded you for the first time, for he thinks a stupid reason, and really it is, for not picking up after himself, you know the stinky sports laundry, trying to teach him a little so when he goes to college....but what a stupid reason, huh...after hearing about the two teens you talk about.
I have no great advice for you, I am like you...I think that I would way rather have them alive and mad, then driving and hurt or worse.
sorry I am no help, I am as confused as you!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Here we have lots of car accidents with teens because they are texting, so if it's not speeding its texting or talking on the phone. My son is a "good boy" as well, he's 20 now and I plead with him not to text while he is in the driver's seat ~ I don't care if you are at a light. I tell him if it's that important pull the hell over!

I'd let her drive to school and home, and that's it. I'm sure I punished my kids in that way over whatever they did.

Pansy Cottage Girl said...

Hi Sweetie~
Dont doubt yourself, you are a good mother and she didnt miss a lesson. She chose to break the rules. I have a saying in my house: its better for them to fall while still in the safety net of the nest and learn from it rather than when they are out on their own and no one is there to catch them.

Trust yourself, you know what to do. Yes, she will be mad but remind her that the consequences are because of her choices. You were not wrong to let her go, you trusted her, she has a good track record. She's a good girl!

This too shall pass. I pinky promise swear. Love you a ton Miss Paula and will say a prayer for you.

Blondie's Journal said...

I admire you for posting this, Paula because I think it is something we all worry about when it comes to our younger loved ones. Will they accept the responsibility that goes along with driving? I don't talk about it a lot but I was in a horrific accident when I was 15 {I wasn't the driver} I spent 4 months in the hospital and should not have lived, given my injuries. There has never been a moment in my life that I have not worried each and every time that my children get in a car...whether driving or a passenger. Whenever I hear of an an accident involving teens, my heart stops for a second.

I have no advice for you because I'm not good with that, but I am a good listener. I am sure you will do the right thing because you are thinking of nothing else but the best for your daughter, even if she's not happy about it. If all parent were like this...wanting the best outcome for not only their child, but for every one on the road.

I will be thinking of you, my friend.


Victoria said...

Ugghhh, it's every moms nightmare! I didn't get my license until I was 18 and got my first ticket within the first couple of weeks for speeding around a curve. The cop looked at me and said "I scrape little girls like you off the freeway everyday" and for some reason, that statement stuck with me and 24 years later I've never had another speeding ticket.

I think part of it is the newer cars don't feel like they're going that fast. Back in the day you really felt the speed, now you barely touch the gas and you're doing 80 before you know it.

My 20 year old son works usually til midnight or later then gets on the horrible So Cal freeways and all I can do is pray. Thank goodness your daughter wasn't hurt and she's lucky to have such an awesome mom:)

awal.ny said...

I was your daughter, a teenager driving doing 90 in a 45, this was over 25 years ago and the laws were much more lenient. With the help of an uncle who spoke on my behalf I was given a suspended license. I could only drive to and from work and school for 6 months.
The one thing that stood out to me is that you admitted to breaking the law by letting her drive at night. You have already set an example. I am sure your daughter will turn out to be a wonderful young lady, but if she takes a chance with speed, is talking on the cell phone or texting next or worse drinking and driving. You may want to be harsh with your punishment because if not she could think that with no punishment she can get away with it next time. Good luck.

Storybook Woods said...

You know your daughter better than anyone else. Do what your gut tells you to. Clarice

Char said...

Oh Paula, I am ever so grateful that your daughter was not hurt, and ever so sorry that there are two families out there that will forever have their lives changed over stupidity.
I can't help but think that as parents, we all think our children would not do anything we wouldn't want them too....BUT, they are children and don't have the life experience behind them. Sometimes, sadly, they just don't think.
Remember when you were young? I remember thinking nothing bad would ever happen to me. Nothing did so far, so what would change? I think as parents, we think they "get it" but they are kids....
I can't and don't want to tell you what to do, but I will tell you that if that had been my son or daughter, the keys to the car would be gone. I have no idea until when, but it would be no time soon. As far as I would be concerned, if you can't obey the laws, you aren't driving.
Good luck with all of this. Listen to your heart AND your gut. You can't go wrong when you do, Char

Tutti Chic said...

Paula~Thank God your girl was only stopped & not involved in a speeding accident. Surely lucky! This is a time when the license comes as a relief to us & a worry all rolled up in one! I can't even tell you what to do. I don't know what I would do. Maybe just back & forth to school & nowhere else for now? I guess you have to trust that this has taught her a lesson & all will be well. I think standing in front of a judge will also teach her to be careful as she may be mortified just being there! Just say a prayer everytime she goes out & trust that she will e fine. It's really an awful time of fretting when they get their license. Chalk this up to a lesson for her & thank God it is just a learning experience for her & not a fatal experience. Hope this helps a bit~:) Your friend Chris in North Attleboro~

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

Paula...I am so thankful she was not hurt. To hand out a punishment is so hard, sticking with it is harder, especially when they get older. I probably would say no social life til the court date (at least). Taking the keys until the court date would probably be the best thing too ~ which will make it the hardest thing too for you, listening to how embarrassing it is for her. So if you can ride out the two weeks listening to her I would. Knowing that she is a great kid she will make the most of this lesson. Good luck Paula, hugs to you! I know you are hugging her a bit tighter too!

Heaven's Walk said...

Oh Paula - I so felt your pain through your words today. But the other gals are right. Being a parent means being the bad guy once in a while - but ONLY for your child's benefit. Hanna made a life and death decision with her speeding, and that cop basically saved her life - along with her guardian angel. I don't think that taking her license away for the remaining 2 weeks is that terrible. A little embarrassment is nothing compared to what could have happened. Tough love is just that....tough. But it works and it's all done in love. :) My prayers are with you both during this difficult time.

xoxo laurie

Anna Rosa Designs said...

Hi Paula,
I've just read your post and comments with heaps of interest.
We down here in Australia don't get our licence until the age of 18 yrs. Boys don't mature until the age of 25 and have loads of testosterone running through their veins. We have two sons and are surrounded by teengage boys!
I wonder if your daughter was showing off and got caught in the moment?
I've also stood in court with my son at the age of 18 1/2yrs because my son was caught "fish tailing"
The judge asked for my opinion-something that we've always said to the kids is
"Your licence is a privledge, don't abuse it"
so I repeated this to the judge who suggested our son has very wise parents and suspended our son's licence for three months.

He did continue to drive very carefully until his court date was due and i'm sure the cost of a good lawyer and court cost were a very expensive lesson as well. A total of $3,500 that's a lot of money for a teenager on apprenticeship wages. Ouch! Yes, he paid every cent of it.
There are no hard and fast rules with raising kids, each an individual and I'm sure you'll make the right decision with your daughter.
Hugs from one mummy to another,

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

Oh Paula....this is every mother's worst fear! That something will happen to our children....and the driving thing...the worst! My Seth is 20 now, he has also been the easiest child....very motivated...very driven...great student...third year college...Last March he spent the night with a friend and then decided to get up at 5:00 a.m and drive home...I get a call, thankfully from him...that he had had an accident about a block from our house! When I ran out to get in my car...I could see all the flashing lights...they were everywhere...I almost fainted! He had fallen asleep and totaled his car...rolled it! When I got there I jumped out of the car and literally ran at top speed down the street until I got to him...he was fine...a scratch on his chin...scared out of his mind...thankfully no other cars were could have been so much worse!

I think you are doing the right thing....lessons are hard to learn sometimes...I work in the legal field and here, Hannah would have the option of going to driving school and the ticket would be dropped if she did that, if it was her first heart and my prayers are with you...

Lou Cinda

Life In My Nest said...

Paul, I just read your post through tears. I so hope that Hannah learned a valuable lesson early on and, because she does seem so responsible, will never do it again. I think some sort of consequences from you are called for since you will always be around and she only has to face this Judge once (hopefully!). Thank God she was stopped by the police before something tragic happened.

Praying for you.


Anonymous said...

I live in Delaware and was driving home to Middletown when I came upon this accident. It was on the other side of the highway but I could see the car off the road and tons of emergency crew. When I saw traffic being diverted I knew it must be really bad. So sad 2 young lives cut short for a little I'm cool and can drive. Was your daughter going to Frightland in Middletown? My kids were there last Sat. night with their friends and my Hubby. This is a hard lesson for your daughter but I think the words you said about being with her in court instead of a cemetary hit home. I'm glad she is physically ok. Lisa

Pamela said...

I agree with several others Paula. Although I have a good 11 years before we enter into the bad world of driving. I think boys are more notorious with bad driving than t he girls but then again not so sure anymore with the texting and all. I would say only to school and back.

Anonymous said...

Stop Drunk Driving Now's President and Founder, Ron Bellanti, gives high school students the cold hard facts on drunk driving. Ron is dedicated to helping teenagers realize the consequences of drunk driving and have them make the right decisions as well. Learn more about drunk driving prevention, statistics and how to get your school involved at

Recently, Ron spoke at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire educating students on the perils of drunk driving. Read more on what the Derry News thought of the drunk driving prevention event at

Derry Nh

Londonderry Nh News