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Advice for teen son's antics...
Old 01-28-2009, 11:39 AM   #1
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Advice for teen son's antics...

Sooo.... my son is relatively well behaved, he's in his senior year in school, doing well in school (woohoo) and been plodding along.

Over the last couple months he's rekindled a relationship with a girl he knew from school, who graduated last year and is now in college. They seem to be very into each other.

Well, last nite, my dog was whimpering and I woke up to let him out of jr's room only to find the door locked! First thought was that she was in there with him, but after some knocking, then pounding - no answer!

Dad woke up, unlocked the door w/ some pin, and low and behold, no jr - just a wide open window - how cliche huh?

Anyhow, we knew where he was - and I knew why my heating bill had gone up so high recently - and dad texted him to find his way home.

Dad wakes up early to go to work, no son in the house - goes out to his car - he's outside on the driveway.

He was so afraid of knocking on the door that he stayed outside.

I have lots of different thoughts about this one - i snuck out too - but the two things that bother me are the wide open window, lack of common sense in general and the vast distraction this relationship may cause him.

Wondering how to balance supporting him in making better choices as he launches into adult-hood and any discipline that might have any affect other than disdain for his parents!

Any memorable words from your parents or things that helped you as you came into your own? Especially from the boys in this crowd - I'm good with intuit'g a girls thinking, but pretty bad with a boy's thinking...

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Old 01-28-2009, 11:49 AM   #2
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Can't help you with boy psychology vs girl psychology. But, I have a few thoughts anyway.

Relative to their parents most teens have NO sense - - so much of what we think of as good sense comes from experience. So I would just expect that.

Like you, I sneaked out as a teen. In my case, it was because of a strictly enforced 10 PM curfew which I felt was ridiculously early for a 17 year old. That was especially true since we lived 1/2 hour from anyplace one would want to go on a date, so my date and I would have to leave a movie at 9:30 to comply.

What stopped me from sneaking out was a combination of things. My parents turned the light on in my room and then went back to bed. That way when I came back, I knew they knew. It scared me to death. Nobody ever said a word but that put an end to it. Plus, a few months later they extended my curfew.

In your son's case, it must be humiliating and almost emasculating to have to tell his college aged sweetheart that he has a curfew, if he does. I can see why he did it.
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bright eyed View Post
Sooo.... my son is relatively well behaved, he's in his senior year in school, doing well in school (woohoo) and been plodding along.

Over the last couple months he's rekindled a relationship with a girl he knew from school, who graduated last year and is now in college. They seem to be very into each other.

Well, last nite, my dog was whimpering and I woke up to let him out of jr's room only to find the door locked! First thought was that she was in there with him, but after some knocking, then pounding - no answer!

Dad woke up, unlocked the door w/ some pin, and low and behold, no jr - just a wide open window - how cliche huh?

Anyhow, we knew where he was - and I knew why my heating bill had gone up so high recently - and dad texted him to find his way home.

Dad wakes up early to go to work, no son in the house - goes out to his car - he's outside on the driveway.

He was so afraid of knocking on the door that he stayed outside.

I have lots of different thoughts about this one - i snuck out too - but the two things that bother me are the wide open window, lack of common sense in general and the vast distraction this relationship may cause him.

Wondering how to balance supporting him in making better choices as he launches into adult-hood and any discipline that might have any affect other than disdain for his parents!

Any memorable words from your parents or things that helped you as you came into your own? Especially from the boys in this crowd - I'm good with intuit'g a girls thinking, but pretty bad with a boy's thinking...

A lot depends on how comfotable you are with teen age sex. If all you want is to return to normal gas bills, just let him come and go by the front door. The girl is an adult, you could just let him have her over.

If what you want is to stop the affair, good luck! Probably easier to stop a huirricane.

Ha
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:02 PM   #4
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Until Ha's post reminded me, I forgot to say that you can reasonably assume that they are having sex. So, whatever you decide to do, make sure that your son knows about contraception and has access to condoms. That's a lot more important IMO than the open window.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:12 PM   #5
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When I came home from college, my mother said 'When under our roof, you play by our rules and you will let us know where your are going and what time you will be in.'

We had the same rules with our kids, however, we tried to explain a little better. We told them we were not trying to control their activities. We knew that when they were away at school we did not have a clue what or when they were doing. However, when they were home, if we expected them at say 10, then around 11 we would begin to worry if something happened. This was reinforced by us telling them we would be back at a time and showing up a couple hours latter. We made the point, as both were worried where we were.

Also, he is still in high school. It is reasonable to have different rules for school nights and weekends. He should know why, and, I would not tolerate violations of those. I believe kids need limits and need to learn there are consequences if those limits are exceeded.

I also agree with W2R above.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:18 PM   #6
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Until Ha's post reminded me, I forgot to say that you can reasonably assume that they are having sex. So, whatever you decide to do, make sure that your son knows about contraception and has access to condoms. That's a lot more important IMO than the open window.
That's the first thing I thought. Nothing will derail future plans like a pregnant girlfriend and baby would.

My question is, what are your expectations for your son? Do you expect him to not have sex? Do you expect him to use a condom every single time? Do you expect him to be home by 12? Do you expect his grades to not suffer? Do you expect him to close the window and take his keys with him when he goes?

Maybe you and DH can talk together about what standards you would like your son to meet, and then talk with him (calmly, family-meeting time?) about those expectations. And then you probably will need to figure out what to do if the expectations aren't met -- maybe your son could help with this process as well.

Hope the girl is nice. Good luck with whatever you decide to do -- we've hopefully got years to go until we have to post the same question on the board...
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:24 PM   #7
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I grounded my kids for stuff like that, even when they were srs. and even though otherwise they were great kids. Partying is often involved imho when kids sneak out these days--if he was in the driveway because he was so afraid of knocking on the door, I would suspect he'd been drinking.

My parents wouldn't have stopped at grounding me--beatings would have ensued. I never snuck out.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:37 PM   #8
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First... it was stupid of him not to close the window... it is simple and still unlocked so you can get back in...

By the time I was a senior, my dad could care less about where I was and what I was doing, so I never had to sneak out... but I tried to stay out of trouble because that is who I am..

I agree with others that you will have a hard decision to make... if you brought him up right (this sounds harsh... lets use 'if he listens to what you have to say'), you can just talk to him and maybe fix the problem.. if not, it is WAY to late to get it fixed...

Good luck
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:52 PM   #9
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Is he 18 years old? In Texas where I reside, a child reaches majority at age 18, meaning he/she is legally an adult. Either way, whether he is 18 now, or will be very soon (presumably), he needs to begin to behave as an adult, and his parents should begin to regard him as an adult, and treat him accordingly. He sounds like he's a good kid, who is making good decisions for the most part. I would talk with him, and tell him that you believe his judgement lapse on sneaking out and leaving the window open was an aberration, and that you expect him to get back to making good decisions quickly. This would also be an opportune time to discuss any other expectations (sexual responsibility, condom use, house rules, grade results, etc.). Not in a brow-beating, finger-pointing way, but just as adults talking with each other.

My son is 21 now, but when he was 17 or 18 there were a couple of times when he made somewhat poor decisions (nothing too terribly serious, about the same consequences as your son's lapse). We talked about it, I reminded him that he was an adult now, responsible for his own actions, and it seemed to work. In May he will graduate from college, on time (four years), with a 3.4 GPA in Chemistry. I'm very proud of him, as you can probably tell.

I bet your son will be fine, with a bit of discussion and reminders about responsibility. Hormones at that age play a huge role (I remember well when I was 18), and he simply has to learn to deal with his libido, which takes time and experience.

Good luck, although it doesn't sound like you need much to me.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:58 PM   #10
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I think the way you deal with this situation depends on how much you trust him.

By the time I was 16-17, my parents trusted me 100% and I was free to come and go as I pleased as long as I told them where I was going and when I expected to come home (for safety reasons). I don't think they had any illusions about what teenage boys do when they go out late at night. But they never asked any "nagging" questions about my activities (were you with a girl, were you drinking, were you doing drugs, etc...). They had pounded the basics in my head (don't smoke, don't drink and drive, don't do drugs, always use condoms...) and trusted me to do the right thing. I never let them down. I never had to sneak out of my bedroom window either. They treated me like a responsible adult, and I tried to behave like one because I knew that if I blew it just once, I would lose all my privileges.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:10 PM   #11
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Thanks for the interesting comments ...

Hmm, to clarify -

He is 18 so that's part of the issue of wanting to treat him more like an adult - but also recognize he can be slow on the maturity curve. The open window was not an aberration - he just lacks some common sense sometimes!

As for the sex - we've talked openly about it with him since he was at least 10 years old (i didn't know him before then!) and he has condoms etc - he has the our bodies ourselves etc etc and tells us about his personal life - he's pretty much an open book if you spend time with him!

My concern just lies primarily around the school nite - bad decision - on weekends he's pretty free to go out, we don't nag him at all and he doesn't really have a curfew. As for drugs/drinking - i know that will come to pass, but he seems apprehensive about it because he's seen his grandpa act like a fool because of his alcoholism and he knows it's in his genes - but nevertheless, it will happen some time. Which leads me more to want to help him see the decision making as key to his ability to be a grown up.

His girlfriend does drink, so when they go out I always remind him to call for a ride if she ends up drinking.

He's also the product of a wayword know it all bull headed young adult parents - so I think he's trying to avoid that path too - but you know how history has a way of repeating itself! I am way too young to be a grandma. I asked him to wait until I was at least 40 - which is 8 years away! ha!

We do have the "while you're in our house" perspective so he's not going to be free and clear - but just want to figure out how to balance all these considerations!
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:13 PM   #12
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I pretty much agree with all of the above.

All in all, it sounds like your son is a good all-American boy.

Do the sex talk as many good all American boys have screwed their lives up by............ah well you know.

On the other hand, maybe he has found his soul mate. Lucky for him.
If you haven't already, invite them both to supper and other activites.

Are your rules reasonable? I can tell you it sucks to be the kid with the toughest curfew.

It appears (from the driveway thing) he must have realized he was in trouble. That's a good thing cause it shows you have some structure about things. When that stuff happened I was usually more interested in whether he told me the truth. To me integrity is pretty critical and the truth always earned a shorter beating .

Hopefully, you come out of this with only a higher gas bill for damage.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:16 PM   #13
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I would hate to tell you how I raised 4 kids and the rules they had to abide by. But if this is a surprise to you at 18 you have to seriously have some talking with him and do some personal adjusting. I hope there are no younger siblings to pick up on his behavior. As already been said, depending on his, and your aspirations, for your Son, you really have to talk to THEM and HER parents. I wonder if this is what they want for their Daughter, or if they are even aware? Good luck!
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:12 PM   #14
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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!
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:40 PM   #15
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I do understand what a delicate line you are faced with. I have a 19y/o away at college and a 15 y/o girl. I'm sure they have both disdained me from time to time. If he's 18 it creates the possibility that he can walk out the door and that is somewhat frightfull. If you let him have that leverage I think you've lost the upperhand. With my son I still ask him where he is going and who he will be with. At this stage you have to ask for respect. If he is willing to give in to some degree keep going as you are. If not you have very little alternative. My son when home from college on the nights I have to get up and work the next morning has a midnight curfew. Set a reasonable parameter and stick to it.
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:30 PM   #16
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I'd say you're in good shape.

If you want him to come home at a certain hour, and be able to know in case he's stuck somewhere and needs help, here's a trick; I think I learned it on this forum:

Put an alarm clock by the stairs and set the alarm for the curfew hour (e.g. midnight). When he gets home, he turns it off. He knows that if he doesn't get home in time, the alarm will go off.
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:31 PM   #17
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He is 18 so that's part of the issue of wanting to treat him more like an adult - but also recognize he can be slow on the maturity curve. The open window was not an aberration - he just lacks some common sense sometimes!
As for the sex - we've talked openly about it with him since he was at least 10 years old (i didn't know him before then!) and he has condoms etc - he has the our bodies ourselves etc etc and tells us about his personal life - he's pretty much an open book if you spend time with him!
My concern just lies primarily around the school nite - bad decision - on weekends he's pretty free to go out, we don't nag him at all and he doesn't really have a curfew. As for drugs/drinking - i know that will come to pass, but he seems apprehensive about it because he's seen his grandpa act like a fool because of his alcoholism and he knows it's in his genes - but nevertheless, it will happen some time. Which leads me more to want to help him see the decision making as key to his ability to be a grown up.
She was just a girlfriend when she was in high school, but now she's a hot college chick... everything else is just obstacles to be overcome.

Hawaii has a driver's license curfew at 11 PM for those under 18, which has removed us from the role of "curfew police" for our 16-year-old. Back in the days before that law, a shipmate with two daughters (now grown) used to tell them they didn't have a home curfew but he'd prefer that they were off the road by midnight. He used to describe the gang races, drunk drivers, and police sobriety checkpoints in such lurid detail that I started getting off the road by midnight. He said he didn't care if they crashed at a boyfriend's place or an all-night diner or even the beach as long as they weren't on the road.

Maybe it's time for "the adult talk": "You're 18 and we're not interested in tracking your movements anymore, assuming we can even manage to stay up that late. Here's a housekey and [insert get-off-the-road-by-midnight admonition here]. We're a little worried by your behavior but we trust you to think about where you're headed and to do the right thing. You can go out on weeknights if you can manage your workload and your time well enough, but let us know your plans before you go out and get off the road by midnight. If your grades start slipping, or if we get calls from the authorities or the college or other parents, then we're going to have to tighten up the rules until you get your grades back up. And by the way you owe us $xx to help with the gas bill."

If you have the option, you could have a successful older brother or uncle give him the "Hey, dipswitch, you're freakin' out Mom!" talk. Then he wouldn't have anyone to rebel against.

I guess the good news is that he seems really interested in getting a college education... maybe he'll even want to go to classes and try to get a degree...
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:39 PM   #18
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Most of what you can do you already have – over the past 18 years, and it seems by your situation that you've ok.

When we faced a similar battlefield quagmire situation, we lightened up on some things and tightened on others. In other words, we decided what things were really important to us, made clear how important they were and why they were non-negotiable, and gave up relaxed the rules on the rest.

This made it easier to deal with. The kids felt they were winning a key battle we were acknowledging their growing maturity, there was face saving all around, and we did make progress on the things that we really cared about.

Michael
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:19 PM   #19
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3 things as far as I can tell.

1. If he is going to leave by climbing out the window, make sure he knows he has to shut it on the way out. Just kidding - Stress the reason for the weekday curfew. Its in place to make sure that he succeeds in high school and further in life. Set up and explain consequences for disobeying rules, and enforce the rules. i did the same things in high school, and was "grounded" - I believe I learned from those experiences.

2. My dad told me always to use a condom - probably good advice

3. Stopping him from drinking will be next to impossible. But firmly stress no drinking/driving and support your comments with real life experiences of those who did.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:26 PM   #20
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Stress the reason for the weekday curfew. Its in place to make sure that he succeeds in high school . . .
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.
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