Sunday, August 15, 2010

How do I get close to my son again?

Questioner: Paula

Subject: How do I get close to my son again?

Question: My 17-year-old son has his first love. He is naturally out quite often with her. The problem, however, lies in the fact that he seems to not care about his family's feelings -- about anything. He is totally engrossed with this girl.

When we argue about his lack of responsibility
in certain areas, his "solution" is to ignore the problem and leave it alone. He actually told me that if he ignores the problem, it resolves itself. I tried to explain to him that while he's ignoring "the problem" and walking away, I'm still sitting here waiting to have a conversation about what has transpired. He sees no reason to "talk about it." He shows disrespect to me and my husband, and doesn't appear to feel like he needs to work on any relationship in our family -- only his relationship with his girl.

As a result, I have ill feelings towards him, as does my husband, and as does his twin brother. I have asked him to go to family counseling, but after "thinking about it," he told me he doesn't want to go. I interpret that as he doesn't care about our lack of a good relationship.

He was going to a counselor individually for a few visits due to a minor "legal issue" wherein you charges were pressed. The counselor (who meets with him alone and with no input from us) tells us that he is doing wonderfully. I feel he has the wool pulled over her eyes. In fact, he recently commented to us in passing that "something's only illegal if you get caught." Who is this child? He certainly wasn't raised with this attitude or with this set of warped values.

I feel he's getting it from the girl, who also happens to do with her problems by ignoring them. Help?

Answer: Paula, Well the good news is your have a teenager all most adult here and some of this is typically normal. It is normal for teens to want to ignore their families as they are breaking away.

However from what you describe your son is in total control of the family. How did this happen? From what you describe he basically decides how he will live and is making his own choices regardless of input from the rest of the family. I can only ask if someone who is old enough to determine how he will run his life is also paying all of his own bills? Does he pay rent? Food? Utilities? Car Insurance? Car Payment? and if you say no, then why not.

If he is old enough to blow you off then he is old enough to take on adult responsibilities. You need to put the pressure on him to become totaly responsible for himself as he is almost 18 and needs to understand these freedoms come with responsibility.

Other than this, at 17 it really is too late to reign him in and he knows this better than you do. As for getting close to him again. You will need to make this a seperate issue. Make a date with him once a week to go to dinner or do something you can both do together. Teens often talk more openly when you are engaged in a physical activity like walking or playing games etc.....


M Kay Keller