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Questioner: Gina Subject: Father/Teenage son relationship Question: I am a 44 year old mother of 4 boys ranging in age from 19 months to 16 and 1/2 years. I have been happily married for 23 years and have been a stay-at-home for the past year. My husband is a wonderful hands on father who truly loves his boys but sometimes I feel that his parenting skills are not in tune with the times.
He likes to use a lot of his growing up experiences from when he was a child as learning tools for the boys (example-his studying habits, how old he was when he got his first job, paying for his own car insurance and gas, household chores etc.).
I don't want to debate his authority in front of my sons' but sometimes I feel certain subjects should be dealt with differently.
I'm not saying that I am necessarily the expert but I do take pride in the time I've spent trying to educate myself on matters involving my childrens development-emotionally and physically. Our oldest son will be 17 in May. He is a junior in high school with slightly above average grades.
He has been on the high school golf team since freshman year playing a varsity position since the beginning of his sophomore year. He has worked at our neighborhood golf course since the age of 13 in many facets-dishwasher, cook, cart boy. The summer before he started this job he worked as a corn detassler for 4 weeks which involved waking himself up on his own everyday at 5:30 a.m., packing his own lunch and riding his bike one mile to the grade school where the busses picked the kids up.
The average daily temperature during that time was 90 degrees. His workday lasted about 7 hours. Every penny he earned detassling went into a college account for him by his own choice. Most of the money that he has earned at the golf course went into a savings account to put towards a car purchase for himself. In June of 2004 he bought a 1993 Ford Probe (sporty) by putting $3500.00 down and making payments to us for the remaining $1500.00. He is responsible for all but $600.00 (we pay)of his annual insurance premium. He pays the additional $1800.00 annually as well as all gas and maintenance.
He is a very likeable and handsome boy according to his peers, neighbors, employer and relatives. He is popular at school and very involved with attending school functions. He loves, loves, loves sports-hockey, football,basketball,golf etc. He keeps his weekends very scheduled because of this-he plays basketball on a church team, he plays football with his friends, and he loves playing poker with the guys as well. We have met his friends and even had 10 of them over on Superbowl Sunday for food, football and poker. They were all very polite and well mannered.
Our son has a cell phone that we pay for so that we are aware of his whereabouts. He calls before going anywhere else and has only been late a couple of times. He did have a liitle problem this past summer speeding in our small town and spent 3 weeks of his summer grounded as a result. I feel that the situation has been remedied because of the consequences. He has not given us any reason to suspect that he is involved in drugs or drinking and none of the other kids that he hangs out with have gotten into any trouble in that regard.
He is an excellent big brother to our toddler and makes a point of watching television every weeknight with his Dad and I from 10-11:00 p.m. before turning in for the night. This is an opportunity for us to communicate. We are also able to have dinner as a family with everyone present at least 4 nights a week. With all of this said, I feel that our boy is headed in the right direction with just a couple of glitches that I'd rather not sweat over instead of having him feel like anything he does is never good enough.
My husband takes issues with the fact that our son will never take it upon himself to shovel the snow or cut the lawn unless being told. Our son does have a habit of wanting to debate with us and talk somewhat disrespectful at times-lots of eye rolling and muttering under his breath. His absentmindedness can be frustrating at times as well. How do we deal with these small problems without the three of getting unreasonably upset or so that my husband doesn't feel like I am siding with my son?
Answer: Dear Gina, The mouthiness, eye rolling, muttering and absentmindedness are the only problems this otherwise perfect child is giving you and his dad? Well the mouthiness of course you need to let him know is not neccessary and will not be tolerated, however at almost 17 you really cannot complain that this is the only headache this child has given you. He is nearly an adult and is trying to maybe find a painless way of seperating from his parents.
Some children choose much more painful ways of making their adulthood known to their parents. As parents it is our job not only to raise responsible children and it is also our job to learn and to know when to start letting go of them so they can actually be and feel like adults. Could some of this eye rolling and other behaviors be your sons way of saying hey, look at me, see me.
I am already someone you need to be proud of and now I am almost on my own so allow me some room to be an adult. As for the differences between you and your husband, you need to stay out of their relationship. It didn't sound like your husband is receptive to doing things your way and you are only responsible for your relationship with your son.
In the meantime, CONGRATULATIONS on raising such a wonderful young man!
Now TRUST THIS.
M Kay Keller
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