Wednesday, July 28, 2010

16 year old son and fighting

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Questioner: linda

Subject: teens

Question: We have a 16 year old son. He is a good kid, never been in any trouble a school. He does have ADHD but not medicated. His grades are average and wants to go to college in 2 years. He is very popular at school. He is alot of fun to be around.

At home he plays video games alot.
Yes the violent ones. I am very close to him and have been very lucky that he feels comfortable to confide in me. I try not to judge him and try to let him express himself and then tell him how I feel about any given topic.

He would rather talk to me than his father because his father just jumps to lecture or yell at him even when he is just trying to express himself. (My husband is a great guy but he had a tough childhood,divorced parents, mean father--abusive, and never graduated from high school. He went into the navy and has educated himself. He is highly intelligent and self made. He is a carpenter for the last 25 years.)

My question is this, my son comes to me before bed everynite and we talk about his day. He told me last night that there is a kid a school that wants to fight him. He admitted to me last night that he and his friends have been backyard boxing. ( he watches the u-tube and amature fighter competitions on TV.)

 I guess I am naive because I thought that preaching how I feel about things and taking him to church and giving him good role models he would not want to be swayed by watching this stuff on TV and Internet. I am now scared. He confided in me that he wants to fight this kid to stop the teasing and get him off his back. He doesn't want me to tell his father about the kid that's teasing or about the backyard boxing ----which he has to know is wrong since he told me that his dad will want him to stop.

Problem being if I tell my husband, my son may not come to me anymore and I won't know what he is up to--he won't trust me anymore and will probably just do whatever he wants to wrong or right and I won't know about it.

What do I do?

Please help me.

Thank you.

Linda


Answer: Dear Linda, I think sometimes we try to hard to be our children's friends. They need parents first. I think he knows his dad will stop him and he told you because he hope you will tell dad. My take on it just reading through this. I don't think you are doing him and his dad justice to their relationship by keeping things from him.

You and your husband need a united front when it comes to dealing with your children. If your husband doesn't respond well to them it will result in a less than fulfilling relationship (consequence). What do you think will happen to your relationship with your husband if your son gets hurt very badly and this all comes out and your husband knows you knew? Is backyard boxing the kind these teens are indulging in legal? Is there betting going on? Are you supporting your son in a way that is allowing him to make poor choices?

 I can't think of one circumstance where a child comes to a parent and confesses something that may harm them where I would encourage you to be quiet. This sounds potentially harmful. As for the violent video games he is allowed to play because no one wants to say no? Why?

Parenting is hard. Especially with all the messages about listening and not judging children when they talk to you. However listening does not mean you are obligated to agree, listening without judgement does not absolve a parent from setting limits and boundaries. He doesn't need a best friend he needs a parent or even two.

I know this may sound harsh however my job is to help you even when it means speaking up and saying what you may not want to hear.

M Kay Keller