New with a question

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
New with a question
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 4:42pm
Questions and this could be a gripe as well so bear with me ;). First, my name is Karen. I raised my currently 13 year old son until he was 9 by myself. At that time he wanted to "try" living with his natural father. Since he had never lived with him, my husband and I agreed to allow him to go. He stayed w/his father until this year. This was really courageous move for my son, because he knew there was a risk that his father might not speak to him again (yes, really. And his father is resentful so we hear little from him.)

Where I'm at right now is figuring out how to take care of my son without having had a transitional lead-in to raising a teen. It was truly like we had one day's notice and Nicholas came back. It's great in many ways and I feel so fortunate; but then again I have two younger children who are also trying to come to terms with having a moody, barking young man around. A also dear young man with a good heart who is making really poor choices in friendships.

Nick attends the local publice school. We homeschool our other two critters and have been pretty isolated up to now. What I am having to contend with is the social interacting with other teenagers, many who are left to their own devices for hours at a times after school and most who are making their own value judgments as they go along. I worry about the how the impact of the communications they are having with their working and very busy parents will affect my son. Many of these kid's are lying to their folks about their whereabouts and the things that they are doing.

I'm pretty firm about where, what, what time, with whom and when are you going to be back ~ and I'm pretty comfortable that my son is being truthful with me. But I do notice a true change in his personality when he arrives back from his outings with a few of the kids. Most of it is muttering and poor attitude, begging me for things or letting him stay out later or asking me 'why' over and over when I have fairly explained my stance on an issue. This is weird because we always had a close and mutually enjoyable relationship prior.

Frankly the begging irritates the absolute poop out of me. And not just from him ~ but also, the kids he's brought home are so bold ~ they will beg along with him, or come in and ask for food and to spend the night. One kid downloaded porn last week on our PC when my son and I were talking upstairs. This kid is history, but still a 'friend' to my son at school. Speaking with his mother is no help ~ it's like she's a 13 year old as well.

I've calmly explained to my son our concerns and he's pretty good about seeing our viewpoint, but I really don't know what to do when he says he wants to hang out with these kids. He says he wants friends and I understand his need to fit in, but I don't think I'm willing to sacrifice him for it.

Any advice will be welcome, Karen

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 5:31pm
Hi Karen and welcome to the board. That's great that your ds is back with you. Sounds like you need to encourage other friendships, though. I'd not let your ds go out with these problem kids. They can hang out at school but that's it. At 13 your ds is still just a child - his judgment of character just isn't 'there' yet. Kids really do want guidelines and boundaries no matter how much they might complain! Encourage him to get together with other kids. Do you have friends that have older kids who you could network with? How about church/synagogue/other place of worship? The idea is to make it REALLY hard for him to get together with the bad-news kids but really easy to get together with the good ones. At one point ds15 wanted to hang out with a couple boys that were pretty much raising themselves. Funny but we always seemed to have plans when they called for him to do something! On occasion I would let them come over here but would be a very visible presence - they didn't much care for an adult hanging around so the friendship faded pretty quickly.

Good luck and hopefully you'll get some good advice here.