Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Communication Problems:
“I want a date w/o MOM!”

Hey Terra,

I need help with dating because I ( believe it or not) am a pre-teen and my MOM has to go EVERYWHERE with me including my last date so please tell me what I need to do and also I need ideas of where to go so thanks 4 helping and I'm also a 7th grade boy to let you know. bye :-D

Not Momma's Boy

Dear Not Momma's Boy,

It sounds like you feel like you are more than ready to be able to go on dates without your mom coming along. It sounds like you're also feeling a little embarrassed by mom being there and frustrated about the situation.

You've asked "what do I need to do?" (to get mom to trust me enough to go on dates -- and out anywhere -- on my own). It's a good question. From your mom's perspective, I'm guessing that she believes a 12 year old still need adult supervision out in the world and possible protection from potential danger. (I'm just guessing since I don't know her but I am a mom myself and I've been getting emails from parents about this kind of issue for many years.) From your perspective you believe that you don't need her protection and you want more independence.

My suggestion is that you talk to your mom (calmly and respectfully) and let her know that you appreciate what a great job she's done teaching your right from wrong. Tell her that you feel that you're ready for more independence so that you can show her that you've got excellent judgment and know how to make healthy choices even when she's not around. Then tell her exactly what you'd like to do for a "trial run" to prove how responsible you can be. For example, "Mom, I'd like to go with my friends to a movie at the mall on Saturday. The movie is rated PG. The show is from 1-3 pm, these are the people who are going to be there. You can drop me off and pick me up at 3:10. May I go please?"

Then close your mouth and LISTEN to what she has to say. If she says no, then politely and calmly ask her, "Why don't you think it's a good idea?"

Then LISTEN again.

Then say, "Here are all the reasons I believe it's a good idea to let me go." And give her a really good list of why she should be able to TRUST you on your own. (That's what this is all about, you know... Her confidence and trust in your ability to stay safe without her being there.)

She still may say no. She may not have any "good" reasons as far as you're concerned. But, she's your mom and that means she makes the rules in your family.

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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