15 year old son won't do anything for mom's birthday

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-27-2012
15 year old son won't do anything for mom's birthday
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 6:49pm


I'm so at a loss.  My fifteen year old son, who can be very loving and sweet, but also surly and distant, refuses to do anything to recognize his mom's 50th birthday.  He says "she won't care" which I am hearing as "it sounds like a lot of effort."  I've told him that I am having a hard time understanding why he does not think his mom will care - her two stepdaughters (my daughters, who she has been around for over 20 years and with whom she has relatively close relationships) aren't able to make her party - one just moved to Seattle (we are in Sacramento) and the other made plans before we knew there was going to be a party.  I know my wife understands but she also feels a bit hurt.  Now, our son (Max) has a conflict because his very best friend is going camping for his birthday with their group of friends.  He was ok with staying home when we first discusssed it - but when I brought it up to his mom, she insisted that he go with his friends - it is not the kind of opportunity that arises often and her party is being put on by work friends (and me) and she - without a hint of martyrdom - really thought he should go with his friends.

So - I've been asking him to come up with something he can do or make for her and he has now made it clear that he does not plan on doing anything.  I'm angry and dissapointed.  We have bred such a sense of entitlement into him.

And now he is asking me to take him to a store and pay for a present for his friend.  We've always done that in the past but I really don't feel like helping him out with a present for his friend if he is not willing to put any effort into recognizing his mom's birthday.

But, I also feel strongly that if I MAKE him do something - either using consequences/incentives or guilt - it would be for all the wrong reasons.

I'm completely at a loss (I guess I already said that).  He has a somewhat rocky relationship with his mom, but it still has plenty of good moments.  I love him to death, but feel like we have created a sense of entitlement that is not serving him- or us - well.



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I also have the benefit of both kids having worked in retail so I would get something from whatever store DD worked in in the past (Marshalls, Pier One) or where DS works now (Old Navy).  DD is good at picking out gifts since we have the same taste.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

My kids both live far from me and don't mail me cards or gifts for my bday but they do call with time for a long chat. 

I think you have some unresolved divorce and remarriage-related issues with your dd's? That may have something to do with why they act the way they do.