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.