When you describe your daughter you are describing me. I was a straight A student. I was not a behavior problem. I did well in school and all the teachers loved me.....blah, blah, blah...
I talked my mother into dropping me off at the movie theatre for an unsupervised date with my boyfriend...I was 14 at the time. My father didn't want to let me date until I was 16, but mom gave in. We went with a group. Well we didn't stay in the theatre and we never did when we were dropped off. Needless to say it wasn't a good situation. I won't go into much detail, but that was the biggest mistake my parents ever made.
You aren't being to strict. You are being good parents. Children have many years to become independant and going out with friends unsupervised is probably one of the biggest reasons kids get into so much trouble these days.
I read a study recently that said after studying the brains of teenagers scientists have discovered that the part of their brains that handles hard decision making isn't developed until 18 or even into their 20's....
Anyone with an honest bone in their bodies knows that when they were young they often would have made bad choices given a free reign to do it.
My friend and I knew all the right answers to give our parents. Most kids do, but when put into a tight spot they often make poor choices.
Is your daughter losing her virginity at 12 (I taught middle school for nine years..it's happening all the time) worth the experiment.
My personal opinion, parents are way too lax these days and they say it is to teach independence. You aren't teaching them anything by leaving them unsupervised. Kids today make serious mistakes like getting pregnant, contracting STD's, and doing things like inhaling from spray cans and killing themselves.
I just don't understand why parents are doing that. My grandparents were far more mature than I was at 12, but their parents would never let them go unsupervised. Not that it would have been as bad since the society has a whole had way more morals and limitations. Now anything goes.
And I can promise it doesn't matter how much you talk to your kids or how close you are or how diligent you are in talking to them about making right choices....they often will listen more to what the watch on tv than you.
In my case it was Days of Our Lives....oh, how intrigued I was when my favorite characters were exploring young love. My parents were just old fashioned.
You know your daughter the best. My mother thought she knew me. I think half the kids I taught had the wool pulled over the parents eyes.
And please don't think I'm saying your daughter will do like the others. I'm not saying that. There are good kids out there and they really do try to make the right choices because they have been raised well, but it is still an experiment or gamble.
PS I just had time to read back through all the responses and my many typo's (yikes!!) At any rate, most of the parents spoke about safety. At 12 I wouldn't be worried about safety in a public theatre or restaurant. At that age they really should know how to handle themselves when it comes to strangers and so forth. They should understand the whole stranger danger thing. But I really feel so strongly about this issue. Not only because my generation probably started down the long, slippery slope of more and more kids making super bad choices, but because I taught middle school for so many years and can't tell you how often I saw or heard about kids doing incredibly stupid things. At that age they are not ready to be left alone. I know television tells parents it's okay. I know that psychologists today talk about trust and so forth....but look at what kids are doing today. Kids left unsupervised are more dangerous to themselves than anyone or anything. Remember the story recently about the young man that jumped from a car competing in some stupid game. He was in highschool. These are not isolated incidents. Every month it seems I read about teenagers killing themselves on the roads. What about the teens in leadership camp that drowned recently. Those were smart kids. If everyone knew the teen pregnancy rate, they would probably passout. If parents knew how many young people are contracting STD's in their area, they would freak. When I taught in the 90's there was an epidemic of chlymadia among kids 12 to 18.
Please trust your instincts. YOu aren't too strict. Kids that age should not be unsupervised. So many parents are caving to societal pressures and our kids are suffering because of it. I see so many parents so worried about being their child's friend that they just can't muster the back-bone to set limits or say no.
I think you and your husband are on the right track and I sympathize with you in wondering if you are doing something out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, so many parents today only have television as a parenting guide...if more parents put down the remote control and stopped listening to societal dribble we wouldn't have so many kids dropping out of school, having babies, killing themselves, shooting eachother, becoming drug addicts, becoming alcoholics, cheating at everything under the sun, and the list goes on....
I'm sorry I keep going on and on, but I just want to shake parents today.
Oh, and a good rule of thumb....if they don't want to talk when you are around or they don't want you around during their get togethers, then you can be sure that they are doing or saying something they shouldn't. That's a fact.