The Bad Parent, Good Teenager Strategy In Action

The scene: My dining room, earlier this week
The players: Seventeen-year-old J, me, and my sister

J: “So, Tim* and Megan* want me and (girlfriend) Shannon* to go to this dance club with them on Saturday night.”

Me: “Really? A DANCE CLUB? Like, for under twenty-ones?”

J: “Yep.”

I glanced across the table and raised my eyebrows at my sister.

Me: “What is the name of this dance club?”

J: “The Zone.**”

Me: “And where is this ‘The Zone Dance Club’ that I’ve never heard of after twenty years of living in this Chicago suburb?”

J: (shrugging shoulders) “I don’t know. They have a 17+ night on Saturdays. It starts at ten.”

Me: “TEN? A 17+ event doesn’t start until ten? That doesn’t make any sense at all. Are you sure??”

J: “I think so.”

Me: “I guess we’ll have to look it up.”

I grabbed my phone and did a search for the club and found it right away. It’s located about forty minutes northwest of our house. The website was WILD: crazy colors and totally cluttered with events and ads and pictures of scantily-clad dancers and…yikes. I started to get that stabby feeling that I get when something doesn’t feel right.

I looked up the “17+ night” and I didn’t see a start time but read what I saw to J and Julesie.

Me: “The Zone Sexy Girls will be dancing at the 17+ night. There’s a full bar for attendees who are twenty one and over. Three dance floors. Killer light and laser show. Celebrity guests. This club is where the reality show personalities come to party in Chicago: Jersey Shore favorites Snookie, Ronnie and JWoww and various stars from The Real World, I love New York, Daisy of Love, Biggest Loser, The Hills and so much more.”

The idea of my kid and this dance club didn’t mix. At all. I wanted to give him the courtesy of consideration, though.

Me: “This club sounds very adult to me, even with the 17+ night. They still let in adults, who can drink. It doesn’t really feel good to me, but I’ll think about it. Just so you know, though, it’s probably going to be a ‘no’.”

And then, I heard angels singing, and my son responded.

J: “You know, whyyyy don’t we just get the ‘no’ out of the way right now?”

Me: “What?”

J: “It doesn’t sound really good to me either. Why don’t you just tell me ‘no’ and get it over with?

Me: “Oh, okay! Then it’s a ‘no’. And you can tell your friends that your mom wouldn’t let you go.”

J: “GREAT. I will do that. My mom said no!! I just don’t think I should go there. I’m going to go call Shannon and tell her she probably shouldn’t go either.”

I nearly cried at the awesomeness that is my kid. I’m so proud that he has such a good head on his shoulders.

And that, my friends, is one of those great rewards you get when you have amazing teenagers. Isn’t it time we started sharing some GOOD TEENAGER STORIES?

*All names have been changed to protect everyone’s privacy, which I planned to do anyway but especially wanted to because J had to think about it for three days before giving me permission to post this story.

**I also changed the name of the club. I didn’t want to give them any publicity.

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