In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is anyone prepared to be the parent of a teen?

Perhaps I felt like I was a pretty good parent with my oldest son. We had quite a bit of tension when he was 17, but he was an outstanding young man and one of the most responsible people I've ever met. But my middle son who is now 17.........a totally different situation.

In all fairness to my son who is now 17, from an outsider's view he is a really good kid. Has close to a 4.0 average in school, involved in sports & has a coaches from some impressive colleges teams talking to his school football coach about him (he's trying for a football scholarship to a D1 college), doesn't smoke anything or drink alcohol.

The biggest problem is that in his mind he knows everything. In his mind he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Lest you jump to the same conclusion to which my own emotions frequently jump, there really are actually boundaries in our home. Boundaries which I honestly do enforce; or perhaps I should say try to enforce.

The most recent upset is concerning school attendance. Because of my hectic work schedule at the time when he got his license, I had purchased a reliable, older, vehicle for him to use. A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from his school informing me that he has excessive tardies and that I am legally responsible for his behavior. The letter went on to inform me that if he continues in this manner we will have to show up to something similar to court at the school district office. I brought him in and sat him down and had him read the letter. At the time he told me that he did not realize that it was such a big deal but that now that he did he would not be tardy.

Last week he missed his first 2 periods; he said that they'd completed their state testing and that they were just going to have to watch a movie so he didn't need to go. I called the school to verify and found that he was accurate that he had finished his state testing & they weren't having regular class the first two periods, but that he was still expected to be at school. I understand that for the school to receive their money for his attendance he must be present. I tried explaining this to him and he said it was a waste of his time that was better spent sleeping so he would go in to his third period which was a regular class. I tried to explain to him that there were two problems; 1) That if he hadn't had so many tardies in the past, this wouldn't be such a big deal, but because he did this tardy was viewed differently. 2) Sometimes in life we have to do things simply because they are required, even if we do not agree with them. Of course he and I could not see this situation the same way. I finally explained that if he has any other tardy that I have not approved in advance, that he will immediately lose use of the car and be grounded for 1 week.

Today I found him in his room at 7:30AM when school starts at 7AM. He said that he was not going in until his last period because he had a project due in that class which he needed to complete at home. Last weekend he was out most of the weekend with friends and a couple of nights during this week he went to play basketball with friends and had told me that his homework was done. I confronted him with all of this and took the car keys so he can not use it. He is angry and thinks I make a big deal of everything. I'm frustrated.

When I try to explain to him how important it is that he be at school on time daily he assures me that it's his life and he can do whatever he wants and I am ridiculous to think it's my place to interfere. He flat out told me that even if I take away the keys, if he feels like being late some day he will not get up and I can't make him. I did not argue this point at that moment since I could not think of anywhere positive that conversation could go.

So I'm here writing on the internet instead of yelling at my son like I want to. I pray and know that somehow God is in control, but, to be candid, I sure don't feel like I am.

Anyone out there the parent of a teen? Ever feel frustrated and ineffective? What do you do when you feel that way?


Michelle said...

Not a parent of a teen...but thinking it must not be fun.

Some thoughts though:
1. You MUST tell me your name if he goes to a D1 school b/c we LOVE college football and I would love to be like "I 'know' his mom!" :D

2. He sounds like he'll be a good college student.

3. 7AM?! That is crazy. The bus runs by my house at 7:05.

RCUBEs said...

I heard a pastor shared Ephesians 6:1 the other day. When kids ask, "why do I have to do what you tell me to do?" The answer [per the Bible]: "Because it is the right thing to do!" [to obey your parents in the Lord]....

May the Lord guide you as well as your son. Praying that everything would turn out ok! Someday, he will know...his mom is right all along! Blessings.

teddytrump said...

Sure , I'm ready to wait my son grow up to become a teen, love them :)

may GOD bless you and your son

Son is a gift from God, many peoples out there is hard to have a child ^^

John Cowart said...

Is this post a continuation of your posting about Hell?

Having raised, more or less, six teens, three sons and three daughters, Ginny and I discovered the prime rule for living with teens: Your number one priority it to survive yourself!

Anything more is gravy.



偉子生誠 said...

Unable to give you a heart. so have a reply to push up your post. ........................................

David-FireAndGrace said...

Now this is an illustration of HELL!

Oh yeah - I got em. 19 and 22 now. few tips.

- You are responsible for the school and the car keys. No school, no keys. Works like a charm rather noisy some days.

- Pick you battles. My kids wanted tattoos and now they have to live with them for life. I offered to do one for free on their forehead.

- It's hard when you don't have time to be there. My kids have GPS's in their phone.

- Taking away the toilet paper is better than most punishments.

- Taking a long drive usually gets them down to real talk - sometimes tough, but always worth it.

I am less concerned about education than I am about church attendance and spiritual things. In the process both have done well.

After they are 18, I can only control the front door lock, and I've had too.

They will get old and have kids - it's payback. I love God's sense of humor. I just hope I am around to say, "I told you so."

And I am licensed for firearms.

Tony C said...

The Hell continuation comments made me bust a gut! Amen!

I have a teenager and feel your pain. I know the anguish is temporary...and fair, considering the problems I gave my parents.

I won't give advise, but I will offer up a prayer on your behalf.

Tracy said...

Tony - I have the same response to the hell continuatin comments as you; I greatly appreciate the good laugh this brings. Thanks for your prayers, we both need them.

David - Useful thoughts. Definitely agree about picking battles and about the spiritual being most important. I remember when this son, at age 9, prayed and asked Jesus into his heart. I'd seen him, prior to when he turned 15, seek after God and His ways. I even will admit that he does follows God's morals (he suffered through being the brunt of many of his team mates jokes last year when he broke up with a girl he'd been dating because she was pressuring him for sex), but I see absolutely no thrist for God's word. I have to require church attendance (I am clear with him that in my mind, a Bible study group is church), and I've said that he can pick the church; so he's most likely to go to church with a friend on Sundays at one of 4 good churches in our area. He is quite vocal about how wrong he thinks I am to require church attendance. This young man is the most social person you've ever seen and my husband John was just saying to him the other day how John's praying that God would use Dylan's love for people and popularity to bring people to God, that God would give him a compassion for people and a heart to bring them to Christ. I love John; I'm pretty sure Dylan just thinks we're both nuts!

John - I feel better when I read what you've written, even had a good laugh.

Teddy - you are right, children are a gift from God. I don't mean to be ungrateful for the wonderful gift of Dylan but gee he sure can push my buttons sometimes!

Rcubes - You're right - the heart of our current issues are his lack of respect and obedience. Thank you for your prayers.

You're so funny Michelle. Yes Dylan most likely will make a good college student; but he still needs to learn that no matter how talented and smart he is, the rules still DO apply to him. I'll let you know if he does end up getting a scholarship to a D1 school. It's kind of funny, because I feel like I "know" you too!

Duane Scott said...

When I read the title, my first thought was "no."

All a parent can do is try. All a parent can do is live the questions. Am I doing it right? I guess we'll find out. And I think you are. :)

I know all this because I've never been married and never had a kid. So in hindset, don't listen to me. :)

photogr said...

Actually Tracy. Not really.

However, the Lord knowing this weakness in us only allows the younger adults to have the tolerance for teenagers. It is too hard for us senoirs to handle the young wipper snappers ( teens).

You know it is quite amazing to realize they know all the answers at such a young age. I thought I did as a teen too. It wasn't till I turned 30 something that I realized I didn't know much at all about life as a teen.

You have to realize they unknowingly look up to you to set the standards and guide lines for their activity. Even though they probably revolt at your guidelines, you must stand firm in your rules. Breake them and suffer the punishment.

Based on my teen years, I was glad I had both parents that cared and guided me ( sometimes sternly in my opinion) in the right direction. I understood that more when the wife and I had teenage girls to deal with in our younger years.

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