It's going to be a long summer.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
It's going to be a long summer.....
16
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 12:56pm

First of all, I can't believe these boards are still so slow after a year.  No wonder it's dead around here and the Teen board.  Anyway, DS just got back from freshman year.  First semester was a total waste of time and money and he was put on academic probation.  We let him go back for several reasons.  Anyway, he ended up writhdrawing from another class, but got two A's and one C.  He'll take a summer school course.  Progress, not perfection.  Anyway, he's home and I'm trying to loosen the noose since he's been so independent all year.  I can tell he's also trying.  He has been a very difficult teenager.  The problem so far is DH.  It's like he can't let go of his anger and frustration for DS.  He seems to feel that he's avoiding him at all costs. He has done that, but I think he's just wanting to hang with his friends.  I told DS 11:30 curfew on weeknights and 12:30 on weekends (there's a reason for this if you think it's too strict, don't want to go into it).  DH was irritated and said I could stay up until he gets home, I said we'll both go to bed.  He says he'll come in later and he'll be worried, etc.  I said ....on and on.   He wouldn't let DS drive the car until he cleaned it spotless inside and out.  Ok.  He did that yesterday but didn't wax it because it was going to rain.  I let him go ahead and drive it.  DH came home and was mad it wasn't waxed first and was angry already.  He's just being irriational I think.  He says he's up to his old tricks and when I want to be mad at him that's ok.  I hate the summer starting like this.  Is this an alpha-male thing.  I told DH to try and remember...did he want to hang with his parents????  I don't know, I"m already stressed and it hasn't been a week.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-21-2004
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 2:22pm

Yeah, been there.  Con, it is going to be a long summer period because this son of yours pushes all the boundries, so even if he's great for a few days, he'll soon do something to drive you crazy.  So, acknowledge that what your DH says might be true.  It's fine if you're mad, but not when he is.  And then see that your DH is just mad period.  Maybe it's left over from the year, maybe it's because he's home and he's thinking of stuff he'll do to tick him off, maybe it's something else.  I think you and DH just have to allow each other to feel what you do when you do.  Maybe your DH just can't handle this right now.  What if you told him 'look I can see you're having a hard time with our son being home.  You're mad which is fine. Right now I"m not as mad so you back off and I'll handle stuff and when I'm sick of it, you can enter back in and take over'.  But mostly just do your best to disengage as much as you can with this son of yours.  Try not to play cop, let him hang himself on his own, hey maybe he won't and you'll have a decent summer.

Another big thing to me is he was able to make some decent grades second semester.  That deserves a big ole whoop whoop don't you think?  I know he dropped a class, but hey, he didn't drop out and he's shown you he can study.  So try as hard as you can to state what your expectations are, that he needs to keep to them, and then make him work, two jobs if possible (that's what our boys did and they were never home, we LOVED it) and if only one, make sure it's 40 hours.  CAn he do that? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-21-2004
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 2:24pm

Another thing that might be great if you have not already done this, could you and DH go and get some counseling on how to deal with this son?  It can be done with DS never knowing and it would give you both some time weekly for a bit to blow off some steam about DS with an unbiased person who might help you two figure out who's approach is best and how to go forward.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 6:30pm

Another suggestion, a job and a class at community college that will count, and get him closer to being on track.  DS is taking a summer class to be sure he can graduate next spring.  You guys know he's had issues in the past as well and what has been best for him is to keep him busy.  He's going to be valeting, taking a class at CC and also helping a woman in the neighborhood in her glass studio (he's an art major and loves glass and she's right here in walking distance).  He's also got a new female friend (not gf status yet; he's hoping) so he should be plenty busy.  He still has his vices but knows better than to bring them home (in his case he has Ehlers Danlos syndrome hypermobility type and fibromyalgia which we've had him to many docs for, now on meds).  Best of luck - it can be hard not giving in to some aggravation but honestly I'd rather work through that than have him leave for good.

Sue

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 1:09am

The first thing that struck me while reading your post was "who wants to be around someone that is always angry at them and just waiting for them to fail?" If your ds IS avoiding his dad it would be understandable. It sounds like Dad has old anger about things that happened in the past, and preemptive anger about things he expects to happen this summer. Where can ds "go right" here? 

The other thing I thought was "this is possibly the last chance for hands-on parenting". Assuming that ds manages to stay in school, he may try to stay in the college town next summer rather than deal with the tension at home.

I think that you are correct in trying to give your ds as much freedom as you think he can handle without getting into trouble, and in trying to take a relaxed attitude. I like the suggestion from another poster that you and dh seek some counseling on how to deal with your "adult" kid. I also think that your dh could use help with his anger towards his son. So sorry that you are caught in the middle.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 8:53am
Thank you everyone for your responses. You are all correct. DH is still reeling from the past few years and everything DS has put us thru...even this semester we know all the antics he's been up to. Plus, DH is just so disappointed in him, has to hear the accomplishments on a regular basis of every other kid out there and is tired of not having what he thought he would have in a son. Hard stuff to swallow for Dad who works hard for his family. He does have every right to be mad, but I thought he wouldn't start the summer of this way...so it is residual anger. Plus, he's been very irritable lately, and I'm just tired of it I guess. I feel like I try to help this son, then turn around and have to help the other son. I'm tired, too. It's been a depressing year. I read somewhere that women get sad and lose motivation when depressed, which I have been. Men get angry and irritable. So, I guess we are dealing with things those way. And no, he won't go talk to someone. He just won't, he doesn't care if I do though. But I don't blame DS for not wanting to be around his Dad if he thinks he's going to get in trouble for something. Who would? But DS is a master manipulator. He did come home in a great mood Saturday because his grades turned out good (which we praised him for), and he hugs me everytime he sees me when I get home. That would be nice if it hasn't been followed by him wanting something...whether to go out of town to see a friend or whatever. So, at first the hug was nice...now I'm skeptical over it. Fullmom..you are right, it's going to be a long summer and a leopard doesn't change his spots overnight. But I really want to give him more freedom and not be mad all summer, and DH still wants to hold the reigns. For instance, the summer class he's taking DH is insisting he take it at 8:00 in the morning. At least it's only 2 days a week. He hates the thought of him sleeping until god knows when. He wants him out of the house and in class...he thinks he'll skip later ones if nobody is home to see him leave (a pattern at school). DS gawked, but then just didn't say anything and will do it to get along. Okay, I'm rambling now. I will give DH a break with his emotions. He always seems to be behind me with them and dealing with DS.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 9:47am

Hey con - good to 'see' you! That's great that your ds managed to stay on top of his grades 2nd semester and that he's at least starting out the summer in a good mood. Sorry your dh is being so irritable. Hopefully you all will soon get into a routine. It can be hard re-adjusting to having a young adult back at home after he's been away to school/military/etc. even in the best of circumstances. I can kind of understand your dh's feelings when he hears others talk about how great their kids are doing. You know our saga with Justin; for the most part I've come to terms with the fact that he's just not going to follow the path we had planned/hoped for him but there are certain times that it still makes me sad because I think it's going to be harder for him in life. He is working full time now but it's a temporary job that will only last into August. He's still hopeful about the military thing coming about once December rolls around but if that doesn't pan out he's going to have to either seriously consider going back to school (and actually applying himself) or he's going to have to find a full time job where he can support himself as he can't live here forever! Is your other ds done with school for the summer? I forgot - is he finishing up his sophomore year? Is he driving yet? Have a good weekend!

Pam
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 11:53am
Hi Pam! I was wondering about Jusint, that's good he has a FT job. I hope the military is in his future and things go his way. I have a friend whose son came home only 3 semesters shy of finishing his degree...went to work at a bar and ketp saying he'd start school again and never did. they finally told him afater 3 years he had to start paying them $300/month rent and he moved out (ha/ha) He's working hard at two restaurants and has a nice girlfriend. Not what they planned, but he seems happy. There other son is on the track they wanted. My younger Ds is finishing up 10th grade and will be taking his licence test this summer, and preping for the SAT. It's going to be a strange summer, but maybe better than last year (fingers corssed). Good to see you!
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 12:40pm

I completely understand the disappointment, the difficulty in hearing how everybody else's kids are jumping through the hoops and doing well, etc. Somehow we have to learn to stop listening to all of that, and stop comparing our "problem child" to other people's kids and even to their siblings. Its hard to let go of our hopes and dreams and to accept that our kid is taking a different (and more difficult) path. Try to find something to be proud of with that kid, even when you don't trust him or her as far as you could throw him. Try to adopt a "big picture" view of ds' progress.

I hope that the 8am class strategy works out. With both of my kids that would have been a problem as neither were morning people... ds would have missed half of the class sessions but probably manage to do okay in the class; dd would have blown it off entirely and let us be mad at her, and just try to avoid coming home so she wouldn't have to experience our anger and frustration. 

To expand on the big picture theme, the question would be to weigh what is more important in the long run: that ds attends the class and does well, which would further the goal of him making it through college; or that he have to get up early twice a week? I would choose doing well in the class and let him choose a class time when he get there on time and will be alert, and with less resentment because he had some control in the matter. The getting up early issue, I understand it (and it drove me crazy too) but its less of an immediate goal. It's probably going to be a maturity issue that he'll someday resolve on his own, like when he gets in trouble/fired from a job for being late too often. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 2:40pm

My DD was never a morning person.  She managed to get to school on time but even when she went to work,, no matter if it was 9:00 am or 6:00 pm, she was also just barely able to get to work on time.  funny that when she went to college & majored in nursing and had to be at the hospital at 6:30 am, which was 45 mins. away, she did manage that--I guess where there is motivation, they can do it.  It never really bothered me that my kids slept til noon in the summer because both of them worked in retail so they would have all different job hours.  I just went to work so I didn't know how long they slept anyway.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Fri, 05-10-2013 - 9:51am
Elc, this is just another example of DH coming down hard on DS. He really has been a problem child this year and DH feels very taken advantage of (we have been taken advantage of). He feels that for 2 days he can get himself up out of bed and go to school. I also felt why push him if he will do better later in they day...but you know...he skipped tons and tons of afternoon classes at college. I think this is just DH's version of tough love right now and I'm not going to fight him about it. Because really, only 2 days he should be able to get out of bed and do something productive. H.S. started at 7:30 when he was there. I'm so glad it's Friday.

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