I read a post from a friend recently describing her preteen sons birthday party. It sounded wonderful…controlled…calm..and so unlike the birthday parties that I remember. I believe I have blocked out the really bad ones. One party, however, has lived down in my memory as “that day that I had to meet another parent by telling her that her son was frisked by the police..but it’s not as bad as it sounds”.
Let me begin by saying that 12 year old boys are not prone to logic, sense or anything that resembles good decision making. This is due to their immature frontal lobe (which controls our judgement and impulse control). They do, however, have a rather developed limbic system (which controls our emotions and drive). This combination is the equivalent to driving a Ferrari at full speed and never installing the brakes. This could also explain the choices that were made by my houseful of young men during one exceptionally memorable birthday party.
Twelve boys had been dropped off at our house. Several of the parents dropped the boys off without a thought of meeting me…my husband…the serial killer that we have chained outside…I jest of course, but I was amazed at how trusting many people are! I imagine that this day served a purpose of teaching them a lesson!
Fifteen boys were playing ball (or so I thought) outside while I prepared the equivalent of a full cow, 20 gallons of soda and a huge chocolate cake. Then an odd sound came…and one that scares the tar out of you when you are responsible for fifteen children. Sirens. Several of them. Coming down our street. I quickly called the boys in to get them away from whatever terrible force was lurking nearby. It was time to eat anyway. I would recommend that if you ever call fifteen boys into anywhere, you do a head count. Several times. Fifteen boys came in. Four decided to sneak back out. I was blissfully unaware and feeling like a good mother protecting not only my offspring…but those entrusted to my care…until…
A neighbor knocked on the door to inform me that it looked like a few of my boys were in trouble. “What boys? Mine are all inside” I asked as I quickly scanned the lot. Wait…where are…MY BOYS? I ran outside to find four boys (two of which shared genetic material with me) spread out over the hood of a police car. On a side note, don’t ever run up to a police car…no matter what is happening. I think I narrowly avoided being bent over on the hood next to the boys.
After a great deal of raised voices, pointed questions and explanations about the twelve year old frontal lobe, it was discovered why the police were called in the first place. Apparently there was a gang fight on the neighbors lawn…or what was mimicking a gang fight by fifteen preteen boys. Yes…the terrible force lurking nearby…threatening my charges…was…themselves. The boys were released to me as long as I promised to actually become a responsible adult in the next five minutes and not allow them to terrorize the neighbors any longer.
A few hours later, the parents began showing up. Fortunately, since only two of the four boys were not my own dysfunctional spawn, and one of the parents was a friend, this left me with only one incredibly uncomfortable conversation. As that mother approached, I began with “Hi, I’m Matt’s Mom. If Zack tells you that he was frisked by the police, it did happen but is really not as bad as it sounds…”. This apparently was not an isolated incident for Zack as the mother did not blink an eye and dropped Zack off the following week to hang out. I, however, spent the remainder of my parenting of young men meeting parents, surveying the supervision, and checking outside for the serial killer. If nothing else, I wanted to ensure that the parents were much more responsible than I am!