kid not coming home on weekends---

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
kid not coming home on weekends---
8
Sat, 11-01-2003 - 1:59pm
HI,

we have the problem where are 16 yr. old ds does not come home on friday-sat. nights.I lay awake thinking he will come home and get no sleep! He does not call even though we have told him that if he does that is all we need. we know that he is safe and who he is with. It has gotten so bad that he is not doing community service hours for 2 different things! He is suppose to go by the rules at home- which we have laid out as you are home for supper every night and home every night during the week at 10pm and during the weekend at 11. He is a good kid and even though we have done some different things with him this year for school , it was his choice.

I am an overprotecitve mom and need some suggestions on how not to be so worried about our kids!(dd is 18 and will go to college in Jan.).

He is draining me and turing me into not a nice person. How do i deal with it?

HELP

thanks- recipefan

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2003
Sat, 11-01-2003 - 5:16pm
Hi recipefan.

Well, your son is still under your authority and *shouldn't* be just staying away and exhibiting outright defiance and disobedience in not even calling you and just deciding to come home when he pleases.

However, there are times when parents and their kids go thru no-win cycles. I am a believer that when this happens, you need to do a total overhaul, since what you have been doing thus far is not working. If something isn't working, you need to change what you're doing/responding.

So. I would suggest that you take him for a drive or talk to him at home when it's quiet, when it's not because you're already mad or upset over what he's just finished doing or not doing. Tell him you don't like how things have been going and you appreciate that he likely doesn't either. Explain that you would like for him - and you - to begin with a 'clean slate'. Tell him you are willing to listen and ask that he be equally willing to hear you out. Tell him you are open to some concrete suggestions on ways he'd like to see things change or what he sees are the issues at hand. Let him speak without interrupting, defending or arguing first, so this sets the tone for when your turn to speak comes up. Encourage him to speak and assure him that you WILL hear him out completely before you respond. And do it.

Take what he says into consideration before you respond. Don't respond off the top of your head - this is responding 'in the moment' before you've had time to think and assimilate what he has to say. Try not to respond on an emotional level only, even if you feel hurt or scared by what he has to say. Remember that his own frustrations, whatever they are, have built up inside of himself to the point that he has decided staying away all weekend, irregardless of what you have to say or how you feel about it. So, what he ends up saying will be coming from that level of frustration and once vented, once heard, and acknowledged, what he has to say - the force of it or the level of frustration - will likely become lessened.

Perhaps there are areas that you can be willing to work out compromises with him on. i.e. if he feels 11 is too early for a 16 year old, maybe negotiate a later time. Or negotiate a situation-by-situation curfew. If you know where he is and that you can trust him, and he hasn't done something else to incur your distrust, negotiate this. If he feels like he's being treated like he can't make any decisions because your actions are telling him you think he can't make smart decisions or handle problems if they happen, tell him you DO believe that he can and that your overprotectiveness is what's being communicated and he's taking it that you don't believe he can.

Tell him the things you appreciate about him as your son, and as a person overall. Doing this achieves not only assuring him and starting to clear the muddied waters between the two of you, it will also begin to act like a reassurance for YOU too ... sometimes we fall into the trap of believing we need to protect our kids from making any mistakes or getting hurt because we WANT/NEED to protect them and it just about kills US to think they would be hurt, so why not just protect them when we know it's for their benefit? But that isn't good for them. They are going to make mistakes, just like every human being does, and they need to learn that they can live through the mistake, figure out how to make amends or correct a situation in order for their confidence to become strong when they are truly independent one day. If someone is always there, either tripping them as they try to move forward in an attempt to safeguard them from possible harm, or picking them up whenever they fall, they will never learn how to navigate the waters of growing independence and how to pick themselves up, brush themselves off and get on with things again.

Maybe just think about that mental image for a moment :-). I'm saying this as one overprotective parent who has worked VERY HARD over the years in learning how to empower my kids and put aside my desire to protect to a self-professed overprotective mom :-) ... imagine yourself and your son walking down a street. There is construction and potholes and broken glass and dips in the path in front of you everywhere. You warn him constantly - 'don't step there - that's a pothole; don't cross on that side because there's broken glass everywhere, don't walk that way - there are unmanned machinery scattered' - and your son starts to resist you and first starts not listening ... then starts to become annoyed ... then starts to push you away ... then starts to defy you outright and deliberately take the chances he's better off not taking. What do you think would be the outcome if you started out saying, 'man, I hate these kinds of areas, it seems like there are potholes and broken glass and scary machines everywhere, so just think before you step, ok?' - and you walked alongside him. He isn't paying attention, and trips on a pothole. You laugh and tell him 'good one'" and he laughs, picks himself up and starts to watches for himself ... there is no need to 'fight' you to prove he CAN learn from mistakes. The irritation doesn't have a chance to grow that comes from someone all but tripping you and being in your face and making you feel like you aren't wise enough to figure things out as you go along either. But you are still walking *with* him and if an unforeseen real danger becomes apparent, and you can see for sure he is missing it, you point it out.

At this age, it's important to teach them the tools of learning these things, and with that comes the empowerment that is the natural result of a parent believing you have what it takes to deal with whatever life hands out. We don't have control over what life throws at us. We only have control over how we respond to it. Teaching our teens this is an important step in their growing up and our learning to let go of the old roles we had as a parent and moving into the new roles of a parent with them.

Good luck. I think things will work out all right with you two. :-) Like you said he is a basically good kid and you love him. Let your love enable you both to become strong :-)

cl-kkiana

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Sat, 11-01-2003 - 5:35pm
kkiana, once again, has a really good approach that is sensitive to a 16 y/o's feelings. But, recipefan, I don't think you're being overprotective at all. Our 16 y/o ds (and the now 19 y/os when they were still minors) is expected to be home at 10 on weeknights and 12 on Friday and Saturday - and there is NO staying out all night unless it's arranged ahead of time. If he wants to try it, there will be consequences to deal with...I have dragged the two older boys out of friend's homes, g/f's homes, and the bowling alley/teen center when they are late for their curfews and I don't care who I embarrass. I have to live by certain rules and expectations and so do they...they expect me to make sure there's food in the house, the bills are paid, that I keep a job so there is money for their "extras" like cable tv, internet access and whatever...so they have expectations to live with too. Now that the two older boys are over 18, they pretty much keep their own hours, but they are expected to let me know if they won't be home for supper and if they won't be coming home at night...and I've been known to leave all kinds of messages on their cell phones if they don't meet those expectations! And if they don't keep up their end of the bargain, they can either move on or deal with the consequences. To me the calling is a courtesy thing...DH and I let each other know what plans we have, and we let the kids know our plans also, they can extend us the same courtesy. Just my thoughts, but as long as my kids are minors, they are expected to live by the house rules or deal with the consequences.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2003
Sat, 11-01-2003 - 6:01pm
Since I agree with bunnierose's post, I am adding something for clarification.

My original response is based on assuming that there are a lot of other situations that have gone on before the staying out all night without a call started happening, that caused the poster to say she was an overprotective mom. Sometimes too much overprotectiveness will breed the kind of outright defiance this kid is showing, so in my mind, that means needing to get to the root and origin of the behaviours and beginning change there, in order for the change to keep flowing outward.

In normal circumstances, where working together, negotiating, and so on is already established, a kid who is basically a good kid won't completely disregard a parental request to call before staying out all night. Something else has gone before. With a 'basically good kid', it's not usually drugs-related or other substance abuse. If the parent knows where the kid is, and is comfortable with where the child is, then it's not peer-activity associated. If those comments had not been said by the original poster, I would have taken a way different approach :-)

Hope this clarifies my original post :-)

cl-kkiana

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-16-2003
Fri, 11-21-2003 - 6:25pm
Setting rules in the home is not being overprotective...I have rules and if my daughter doesn't want to abide by them she WILL face my "wrath". Her curfew right now is between midnight and 12:30 depending on how far from home she goes and how they are getting back and forth. If I'm picking her up I expect her to be inside my car not more than 5 minutes later than midnight. IF she is going to be late I expect a call at least an hour before the expected time home. If I give my ok fine...if I say tell her no that I'll be picking her up at the planned time she had BETTER be in the car by within five minutes of my arriavl. I am not "above" going in and dragging her out kicking and screaming from a party, only to find out that within minutes of our leaving the party was raided by the police and those who were at the party were arrested for underaged drinking and drug use. So, what do you do? You set rules and tell him that if he doesn't want to abide by them he will not be allowed out and IF he sneaks out and gets into trouble you won't be there to bail him out. Until he is 18 you are responsible for whatever he does...however YOU can choose on how you handle it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Sat, 11-22-2003 - 8:54am
I'm glad to hear I'm not the only mom not afraid to drag DKs out of somewhere if they're past curfew! My kids find it MORTIFYING, but I really don't care, maybe the next time they'll be where they're supposed to be at curfew. I only had to do it once to each S and J, never yet to Z, but just the other night I had to go out looking for N (who is 12). Our expectation is that you're home by 5 p.m. for supper or you make arrangements ahead of time with me if you want to have other plans. N and a friend were out selling band candy and the friend was free to run from after school until 10 p.m. (I talked to her mother), so N just kept hanging with her. Well, when I found them N knew she was in VERY hot water, and consequences have been applied, but now she's "just too embarrassed" to see her friend again because she doesn't want anyone to know her mom is such a "harda**" - well, honey, if you show up where you're expected, when you're expected, your friends will never know, right? Unfortunately, my kids tend to run with kids who have "issues" - bad home situations, no guidance, often no rules...like the 12 y/o friend who's mom wasn't concerned about where she was from the time school got out at 330 until 10 pm! For some reason, those kids like hanging out here, and it's definitely not for the lack of supervision coz I'm here consistently after 5 p.m. until the next morning when I go to work, or a free meal. Once or twice I will feed a kid "free" but after that they're expected to help with the cooking or cleanup, just like my kids are! And our S, who begged to be allowed to live here, came from probably the worst of situations with no guidance, no rules and bad home situation....maybe these kids really DO want some rules and structure, even when they say they don't??
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-16-2003
Sat, 11-22-2003 - 12:54pm
Most kids DO want rules because they know they are too young and too inexpierenced to make the hard decisions on their own. I have always had rules and as my daughter got older gave her more leeway in determining what she does. Consequently I have found that even is I allow her those decisions she refers to ME for advice on them.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2003
Mon, 11-24-2003 - 3:16pm
Put me in the go and get him club. Absolutely. I'll give you once or twice, or if there is a problem and you get a call, but just not showing up? My kids know I will come and find them if need be. You are the parent here and making sure he follows the rules is your job.That's what I tell my kids. You are not necessarily an overprotective parent because you want him home at a reasonable hour - like 11 or 12 for a 16 yo.Heck, even my dd who is away at college lets me know where she is going when she is home and calls if she will be later than expected. And even though she has no real curfew is almost always home by 2 while home. Good luck to you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-16-2003
Tue, 11-25-2003 - 12:14pm
Ok...you have to understand that as I'm thinking about this I have one of those "evil manical grins" on my face...LOL and the whole concept IS far fetched but one thing that MIGHT get through to him would be to, while he is out have all the locks on the doors changed. Then don't answer the door when he knocks or rings the bell...That just might scare him a little...LOL