I don't mind if Christina goes to the mall to do some shopping, have lunch with a friend or go to a movie. I just don't want her hanging around in the middle of the mall with a group of kids who are doing nothing.
I have gone to the mall in the morning, come back late in the afternoon for some reason, and seen the same kids still there.
If Christina goes to the mall, she has to have a reason. And I set limits. I want to know where she is going, who she is going with and what time she will be back. We always have a meeting place.
I have a pager and a cellular phone so she can always call me. Sometimes I give her my pager. We've got a system so I'm not going through 90 different shops looking for her.
This is my concern: There was that shooting last summer at a mall in Panorama City. Some kids got into an argument and someone pulled out a gun. We're not even safe in a mall anymore.
I think she understands it deep inside. I know that she's old enough and that I've got to loosen the reins. But, I don't think there's any reason to leave a teen-ager at the mall from the moment it opens to the moment it closes.
They do need their space and they do need their friends. I'll drop her off for a movie, but I will be there when the movie ends. If she wants to get something to eat afterward, I'll give her an hour, not five.
I think she may feel a little like Mom and Dad are a little too protective, but we're doing things the best way we know how.
Christina is a good judge of character. All her friends have been very, very nice kids. They all seem to have a positive attitude and to be respectable. It's the kids that have no guidance that I don't want her hanging around with. But I wouldn't even have to tell her that. She knows.