The Problem With My Teenage Son

He texts at 8:30 p.m. asking if it’s okay to stay the night at his friend’s house.  (I’m irritated that he didn’t text earlier in the evening, but remind myself that he doesn’t need to ask permission.  After all, he’s 19 now, and he’s asking permission to spend the night with a friend whose parents are home.)  I text back and ask if it’s okay with the friend’s parents.  He texts and says, “We already asked.  It’s okay.”

Then he texts, “Love you.”

 

I ask him to chop some wood and get us stocked up on kindling.  He does so without grumbling.  (I’m irritated that he doesn’t notice that we are out of kindling and that I have to ask, but remind myself that he was quick to get the job done.)

 

I ask him how classes are going.  We sip coffee as he discusses his frustrations with this new semester.  He mentions that his grades are good.  (I’m relieved and somewhat surprised that he checks his grades, and then wonder why I am surprised.)

 

I grumble at him for always being on his phone.  “You seem so disconnected from us,” I say.  “It feels like you don’t want to be here.”  He says, “I do want to be here,” as he goes off to his room to get ready for school.  (I wonder if I would want to be here if someone was always bitching at me about chopping wood and being on my phone.)

 

The day the bank statement arrives, we heatedly discuss his finances and whether there will be enough left in his account to pay for the next semester.  “I see how often you stop at Taco Bell.  Why?  Is that what all your friends do?”  He says, “I’m a homeschool kid, mom.  It’s good I have friends to hang out with.  We’re not buying beer and cigarettes.”

“I know I’m blowing through the money,” he says.  “I’ve picked up several job applications.  It’s all gonna work out.  You’ll see.”

He has said this before.

When I worried about whether it was a good idea to homeschool he said, “It will work out.”

 

The problem is that I worry.  I worry that I’ve not done my job.

Have I taught him financial responsibility?  Have I showed him what it is to be a good friend?  Have I taught him the importance of doing well in school?  Will he avoid the choices that get him in trouble?  Did I miss the window of opportunity to teach him the stuff he needs to know to be independent?

Did I do enough?

Is he prepared for the real world?

Shouldn’t he be here more so I can make sure we’ve covered absolutely everything?

Shouldn’t he be here …  more?

That’s the real problem, isn’t it?  The problem is that I’m not ready for him to leave.  It’s not about whether he’s ready or not.

I’m not ready.

 

The problem with my teenage son is me.

 

3 Replies to “The Problem With My Teenage Son”

  1. Kira,

    Hello!! Always so nice to hear from you. Your parents sound wonderful – as wonderful as any parents can be. 😉
    Your encouraging words are very much needed. Thank you. For those of us who take this parenting job seriously, we often doubt/worry and need encouragement. I can’t wait for the day that you check in here and tell us that you, too, are on the road to being a parent.

    Thanks so much, Kira.

  2. I can’t believe your son is 19 now Jesse!! Time literally flies by doesn’t it?! I think you are being a mom, worrying, like most moms do. I don’t have children yet, but my parents tell me constantly, it doesn’t matter how old your children get, parents never stop worrying. They will occasionally ask if me if I think they were good parents? Would you say you had a good childhood? Or they will apologize for things that occurred, they believe were damaging. I say any good parent does the best the can. You are a good parent Jesse. I truly hope you know this. In my time of knowing you and reading your excerpts here, I feel that!! Know that he will be better because of you. He will make mistakes, and it’s important that he does. Mistakes can be learning lessons if we reflect on them. Know that when he chooses to leave home, you have done your part in creating a home that he knows he can always return to if needed. Your troop is lucky to have you Jesse. Trust that!!

  3. For those of you who know Jen and Will from my other blog, you might like to know what happened yesterday.

    Jen was getting ready to run an errand with her dad. She’s never done this before without Will going, as well. She’s 15 now. I asked her if she was okay going by herself. She said she was fine. I could tell she was thinking on it. Just then Will walked through the kitchen on his way out the door to meet with friends. He asked what we were talking about, and when I told him, he looked at Jen and said, “What time are you going? I’ll meet you there.”

Please join in!