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Old 01-28-2009, 08:47 PM   #21
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yes, yes, yes and yes...thanks for putting time and thought into my parenting situation!

i'm proud of the fact that his dad was super zen about the whole thing, when jr was young it would have been hell around here, but now i'm the one who's more likely to fly off the handle than dad! i guess it's true that energy never disappears, in this case just transfered over to me (i blame the pregnancies...haha)

anyhow i just have to keep believing in the longitudinal graph rather than the dips - it will surely be an interesting ride thru his early twenties ! i just can't wait...
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:59 PM   #22
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I have no children, so feel free to completely ignore me, but if he is 18, this is probably his last semester of high school. If he's going to college, the applications have already been submitted without this semester's grades, so they don't matter. If he's not going to college, all he needs to do is graduate. Again, so long as they are passing, grades don't matter.

Both he and you are at a difficult transition stage. You both need to realize that he could join the Marines tomorrow -- without your consent. He is an adult and needs to act that way (i.e. -- part of being an adult is showing some common courtesy to your parents and not making them concerned unnecessarily). And you need to let him be an adult.
I also see it as Gumby detailed.

My freshman year at school 1/4 of the guys were drunk all semester till they flunked out. Those were the 1/4 who had been kept on a short leash by their parents. I have never been on a campus where school nights were off limits for some sex or a few beers. That is only 6 months away for your son.

My Dad was cool but my mother strict. So my Grandma told me I could bring dates to her place anytime I wanted, and that I would have privacy, and as we were not in a car in some lover's lane my date and I would not be vulnerable to trouble. She emphasized to my brothers and cousin and I that our goal was to care for ourselves, and also for the girls.

The really troublesome things kids get into involve poor social judgment. Examples are drinking too much; drinking at all and driving; macho games like chicken or trestle walking; acting tough around clubs where there are apt to be truly tough people; shooting off your mouth, or getting set upon and beat up or worse while walking around too late at night.

With my sons I made it clear that my goal was to get them into their early 20s physically intact. And I showed them that I meant it- no curfews or rules that might appear despotic or arbitrary. But I helped them get into safe cars rather than junkers, encouraged them to enroll in street swareness classes (which they did), and encouraged them not to smoke or do drugs until they were old enough to really evaluate those decisions. But if they wanted to take a date to the coast for the weekend, have a good time.

Part of my problem is that even as a "senior citizen" I make a lot of not so smart decisions. I hated to try to hold them to rules that I would have had trouble obeying.

I have good relationships with them now, and really never did have the teenage struggles that many people have. They are both excellent warm and loving successful responsible men.

Ha
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:21 PM   #23
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DH and I were dating when we were this age - brings back some exciting memories!

I didn't like my folks being mad at me, so I tried to behave, but did get in trouble a couple of times. Mom said snippy things that did not help. Dad was more pragmatic, I don't remember anything specific he said to me, but once after a sneakout attempt he told DH that he liked him and was willing to give him another chance, but he would not appreciate my bright future being derailed.

If it is any consolation, we turned out better than ok.
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:14 AM   #24
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The really troublesome things kids get into involve poor social judgment. Examples are drinking too much; drinking at all and driving; macho games like chicken or trestle walking; acting tough around clubs where there are apt to be truly tough people; shooting off your mouth, or getting set upon and beat up or worse while walking around too late at night.

...

Part of my problem is that even as a "senior citizen" I make a lot of not so smart decisions. I hated to try to hold them to rules that I would have had trouble obeying.
+1 Kids are scary as he** because they do such dumb things. I just prayed mine would not do things as dumb as I did. These days you can end up in jail for stuff that was pretty routine 40 years ago - drunk driving being a prime example. I tend to agree with others about not trying to enforce a rigid curfew unless he starts to really fall apart. But from your description I suspect a calm discussion about the need to get a reasonable amount of sleep most (not necessarily, all) school nights would be all it takes. And who knows he may have gotten in a few hours of shut-eye over at the GF's house.
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:14 AM   #25
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Maybe take him out and buy him something nice?

But seriously - if the worst of his antics is sneaking out to be with his girlfriend, you should stop worrying and count your blessings.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:51 AM   #26
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When I read this my first concern was a surprise pregnancy, but others seemed to cover this and you also said you've discussed this with him. I have 2 sons and we taught them the biology at a young age including how we are designed to procreate and if you don't actively work to prevent it IT WILL HAPPEN. Later we got into not having unprotected sex unless you are trying to get her pregnant. Believe it or not, there are young people who think you can't get pregnant the first time or if you only have sex occasionally.

My other concern is that he's sneaking out, behaving like he's doing something he has to hide. You seem to be very reasonable in your rules and expectations, yet he leaves through the window and spends the rest of the night out in the car. I'd be concerned that he feels he has to hide what he's doing. Because it sounds like if he just told you he's leaving and will be back at a reasonable time for a school night that you'd be ok with it.

An 18 year old wanting to be with his GF sounds pretty normal to me. If they are having sex that's their responsibility and they should be very aware of this at 18 and 19. At 18 he's entitled to have a personal life.

If he's not drinking or drugging then I'd be most concerned about the sneaking behavior. That's what a 13 or 14 year old does. It's kind of not necessary at 18.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:15 PM   #27
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If you're hoping to stop a 17 year old from having physical relations with a willing female, anything short of the Army 3rd Infantry division will be inadequate.

I would just tell him to use a condom and the front door. Falls from a window can be dangerous
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:18 PM   #28
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If you're hoping to stop a 17 year old from having physical relations with a willing female, anything short of the Army 3rd Infantry division will be inadequate.

And I'd only give them even odds.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:52 PM   #29
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Well, turns out we had the whole scenario wrong!
He wasn't with his girlfriend, he left the house to go hang out at the park alone - he's stressed out about school, transitioning to college, getting a bad grade etc etc.

I was so sad to hear he felt this way. So we just had a talk about the great things he has done growing up - how proud I and his father are of him - he's really climbed a mountain when it comes to learning how to do well in school independently, from a chubby little 10 year old to a fit teen who can do a mile in under 6 minutes, and playing varsity ball (even if the coach stinks).

He also got all B's and one A, aside from the D in math so he was beating himself up and didn't see the forest etc.

Part of the problem may also have been all the "you're growing up soon" "get ready for college" talks he's been getting - and apparently really listening too! and freaking out about that! But I pointed out to him how he had successfully navigated many many transitions in his life and that he wouldn't be doing it alone.

Anyhow, what an eye opener! I'm just glad we finally got to the bottom of it.

I actually got him in trouble with his girlfriend - since I saw her at the game and asked her if she knew he slept outside, she said what? He had texted her that he'd be going out to the park around midnite - which she thought was weird, but didn't know how late he was out - so she thought he lied to her too! woops! but it's all cleared up now
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:10 PM   #30
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Bright eyed , All I can add is parenting during the teen years were for me the hardest .Hang in there ! It does get better and easier !
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:30 PM   #31
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Bright eyed , All I can add is parenting during the teen years were for me the hardest .Hang in there ! It does get better and easier !

What she said!!!! Good luck.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:08 PM   #32
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Well, turns out we had the whole scenario wrong!
He wasn't with his girlfriend, he left the house to go hang out at the park alone - he's stressed out about school, transitioning to college, getting a bad grade etc etc.
Sounds like a little sex might be the cure, not the problem.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:17 PM   #33
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It sounds like you have a good relationship with your son.

With all due respect, if my son had told me he had left the house (i.e., his bedroom, in which he was alone) in the middle of the night to go hang out at the park alone, especially combined with him sleeping in the driveway that night, a ton of red flags would start swirling around in my brain. What could he do at the park that he couldn't do in his room....hmmm. I am not saying at all that your son was doing what I would suspect of my son (drinking with his friends would be the first thing that popped up in my mind, in the park or somewhere else).

Loved those teenage years.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:21 PM   #34
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Well, turns out we had the whole scenario wrong!
He wasn't with his girlfriend, he left the house to go hang out at the park alone - he's stressed out about school, transitioning to college, getting a bad grade etc etc.

I was so sad to hear he felt this way. So we just had a talk...


Sounds like maybe...he left the window open accidentally on purpose, so his parents would know something was wrong.

As a kid, I could never just come out and admit something was "wrong" until I was feeling downright desperate about it (still have trouble with that, in fact).
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:45 AM   #35
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i assume you know your son well enough to know he was telling you the truth. maybe though bhe went to smoke cig or a doobie to relieve that stress....even have a few drinks....at that age, it's still 'cool' even by yourself

make sure you dig deep enough, but be happy you have an open relationship

good luck
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:20 AM   #36
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The Myth of Lost Innocence

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For me it not only raised the issue of myth and reality (teens are, in truth, having sex less and later than they did a decade or two ago), but also brought to mind the stories that we tell and what people are willing to hear.

Two sociologists in Philadelphia, Kathleen A. Bogle, of La Salle University, and Maria Kefalas, of St. Joseph’s University, both specialists in teen sexual behavior, told Parker-Pope that they’d had to struggle mightily to get people out of their “moral panic” mindset, and make them understand that teens are not “in a downward spiral” or “out of control.”
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Real complexities and nuances – details concerning exactly which children are suffering, flailing or failing, and in what numbers, and how and why, and what we can do about it – are lost.

That’s no accident. After all, moral panics – particularly those concerning children – always serve some hidden purpose. “Modern ideas about the innocent child have long been projections of adult needs and frustrations,” ... “In the final analysis, modern innocence has let adults evade the consequences of their own contradictory lives.”
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:15 PM   #37
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At 18, your son may be legally an adult, but he still needs parents. I think it's neat that you still want to parent him and that your relationship is open enough to talk.

If the anxiety, lack of sleep, etc. is still a problem in a couple of months you may want to have him screened for depression -- better to get a handle on that at home than in college, when he's on his own and doesn't have the support network he enjoys now.

Good luck!
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:01 PM   #38
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Hmm, are our rules reasonable? I think so - like I said, on weekends he has pretty free reign - so that's why I'm annoyed he made such a bad choice to go out like this on a week nite/school nite.

He does say we're a 9 out of 10 in terms of discipline - but I think that's just because too many parent's don't enforce any of their rules and give their kids everything bla bla bla - for example, when he was not doing well in school - if he *had any missing assignments, *got lower than a C then his stuff "disappeared" - we gave him a list of what "disappeared" ranging from cell phone/ipod to all the clothes in his closet (which we only had to do once when he was in middle school and never again!).

He's gotten the message that we mean business and carry out the discipline - I'm just wondering how this works as he gets older and now that he's 18!!

I get the hormones and puppy love thing, which is why I'm not just upset or giving him a piece of my mind...but also don't want to let it slide without something...just what I'm trying to wrap around my head.

As for her, the jury is out. But hey, it's also none of my business - he knows my pov on relationships - and that they are for improving your life, not making your life a pain. He's had too many girlfriends who are diva's, spoiled and needy, so she's at least a step in the right direction. I asked him "how's that working for you" when he was at the end of another drama with a pretty girl who "surprise!" didn't think of his needs first - or much. She lacks a little confidence, but that could explain why she is dating a younger guy, still in high school! ha!
I've read every post up to here thus far.

I would also ask- what is HS like for him? challenging? easy to coast? By this time of my senior year I knew I needed a 75% in my last English course to graduate (as I had passed Health and Economics in the first semester), as well as maintain a passing grade in Phys Ed. I clearly coasted from about March thru June with a BAD case of senioritis.

If son can coast, and has plans for September (either a job or college acceptance), I might even be lenient on school night curfews. IMo the more rules there are to break, the more conflict there will be between parent and child.

Have good rules which make sense-
be safe in both location and action- violate these rules and make sure there is hell to pay.
but curfew is really an indirect way of being safe. Be direct in the rule (be safe) and give examples- come home, or stay at a friends; don't drink and drive and don't do anything else illegal by a legal standard; maintain grades and do not burn bridges with others around him (meaning do not shut HS friends out because of a college girl).

My mother would change the rules often without telling us, so it made for an interesting last 3-4 years at home. It sounds like you are consistent and do not expect anything unreasonable- but I am closer to your age than your son's age... so not sure if I am in touch with teenage things right now (my kids are 10 months old and get upset when I close the gate in the room they play in).
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:10 PM   #39
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Well, turns out we had the whole scenario wrong!
He wasn't with his girlfriend, he left the house to go hang out at the park alone - he's stressed out about school, transitioning to college, getting a bad grade etc etc.

I was so sad to hear he felt this way. So we just had a talk about the great things he has done growing up - how proud I and his father are of him - he's really climbed a mountain when it comes to learning how to do well in school independently, from a chubby little 10 year old to a fit teen who can do a mile in under 6 minutes, and playing varsity ball (even if the coach stinks).

He also got all B's and one A, aside from the D in math so he was beating himself up and didn't see the forest etc.

Part of the problem may also have been all the "you're growing up soon" "get ready for college" talks he's been getting - and apparently really listening too! and freaking out about that! But I pointed out to him how he had successfully navigated many many transitions in his life and that he wouldn't be doing it alone.

Anyhow, what an eye opener! I'm just glad we finally got to the bottom of it.

I actually got him in trouble with his girlfriend - since I saw her at the game and asked her if she knew he slept outside, she said what? He had texted her that he'd be going out to the park around midnite - which she thought was weird, but didn't know how late he was out - so she thought he lied to her too! woops! but it's all cleared up now
Finished the rest of the thread. I have definitely felt the same way your son did at least 3 times.

HS senior year
First senior year in college (then I failed a class)
after finishing that one class a year later and looking for a job- then moving to a city where my closest friend was 5 hours/300 miles away.

What helps me get through those times
1) VACATIONS
2) girlfriends
3) friends

not necessarily in that order. Make sure your son has a support network around him of people he trusts. Support network beyond parents is really important.
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:42 PM   #40
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Thanks all again I always appreciate the generosity of other people's mind space

I think we were too far on the "get serious grow up" side and not enough on the "soft place to fall" side...trying to work on that now. SO and I are not the "softest place to fall people" - we're both serious work a holics who do well at work, but perhaps not as well in other arenas. Which is pretty much the exact opposite of our DS. He's a cool laid back type who finds the "middle" of whatever crowd he's on.

Jimoh, he struggles to do well in school - always has. But we've worked hard to get him to do all his work independently and after too many years of angst on all sides, he's on his own completely. I was so sad he didn't even "see" how great he had done in the other classes - all B's and one A (PE) - aside from the D - so we talked about that and how to recognize the strengthes that helped him climb out of the hole he was in as a younger kid.

I did wonder if there was more, or lies involved - but the funny thing about him is that he's a terrible liar and has gotten caught more than anyone I know. So yes, if anything just a cry for help. It would be hard to know if he was doing any drinking or drugs to an extent that was harmful since he's pretty nonverbal already...

Anyhow, wake up call for us - we're recalibrating our thinking caps and trying to find ways to show our more supportive side, less the tough lovey side...

I think it helped for him to know that I've faced tough times, transitions - but that we just have to figure out how to get out of them -they are inevitable...there is suffering and there is joy...
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