Parenting Passionate Mom

How a Mom Mafia Can Help You Protect Your Kids

Sharing information with friends about their children can be a rather tough thing for a mom. Many moms do not want to hear that their children are in trouble. With five teenagers, I have been on both sides of bad news, the giving and the receiving. I say the following with great urgency and concern: moms, swallow your pride and listen. If you don’t listen, you may close a door to future information that you need to know—information that could save your child from a troublesome situation, such as an abusive boyfriend or drugs. I know moms like this; they choose privacy and pride when what their children need is open and honest communication between parents that will deliver to them the protection of accountability. Instead, try to build a group of moms who stand together; at iMOM we jokingly call this the “Mom Mafia.” 

Here are some tips on starting your own Mom Mafia.

1. Build relationships with key informants.

If you don’t have a social relationship or friendship with any of the parents of your kids’ friends, start one. It’s important to know these people well if your child is going to be hanging out in their homes and spending lots of time with their children. Find out if they share your values and have similar boundaries for their kids.

2. Get over the guilt. 

Some moms have been tricked into believing that to check up on their kids is to deny them respect and trust. But I promise you, the child who will kick and scream about this “invasion of privacy” may be the child who has something to hide. Your first job is to be a parent—not a friend.

3. Protect your sources. 

This one is from Intelligence Gathering 101. If another member of the Mom Mafia tells you that your seventh grader was sitting with a boy at the movies when you thought she was seeing the show with her girlfriends, do not say, “Mrs. Williams saw you and called me.” That will only ensure that your child will hide her disobedience from Mrs. Williams as she hides it from you, making this informant ineffective in the future. Just let her wonder how you know—it will make her think the walls have eyes, and if that’s what it takes to keep her honest, so be it.

4. Share and share alike. 

If you want other moms to go out on a limb for you, you need to be willing to do the same for them. Take the time to listen in when the gang is at your house for things that you know would be concerning to other moms, and use wisdom about when to “file a report.” When in doubt, go ahead and share what you know, with the disclaimer that you don’t know for sure if it is an issue, but you want the other mom to make that call.

5. Don’t be overly sensitive. 

As moms, we’re naturally protective of our children and want to defend them. So having another mom come to you and tell you that your child was seen drinking, or cheating on a test, or had some other breakdown in character or integrity can be hard. Don’t shoot the messenger, as they say, just because you don’t like hearing the message. Even if you think the other mom may have her information wrong in some way, thank her for caring about your child and being willing to intervene. If you make her feel like the villain, she’ll never share again.

Commit to developing a network of friends.  You won’t regret the investment.

This is an excerpt from The Passionate Mom {Chapter 1}

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