Sunday, October 4, 2009

Define Valium: Mother of Teenage Boy

Lately there have been lots of struggles around here - aside from the usual work, anger, exhaustion, jealousy that come from being a single parent living next door to your ex.



Lately, the Son has developed ATTITUDE and a sense of injustice.



First, for new or lost readers, know that overall, I have amazing kids. My nearly 17 YO twins are near perfect. They have very good grades, are college bound, help out in Sunday School, play sports, play musical instruments, love their grandparents. And Talk to their mother.



BUT yeah the big BUTT as teenagers are wont to do, they think they know better than I do about what is Fair and Just for them.



So Son calls Friday night to inform me he's hanging with Best Friend (fine) going downtown (fine) and coming back home at 2am (NOT FINE NOT NOT NOT NOT ). When I freak out about His assumption that he gets to go into the city until 2am, he hits me with"But I'm a good kid. I don't do bad things. Let me stay."

I hit him back with "I know you're a good kid and one of the reasons you're a good kid is b/c we try to minimize situations where you could make poor choices." And he laughs out loud. Ok I know there are many times he could make poor choices every day and he chooses not to do so. But this? Pushing the envelope.

DC until 2 a.m. with college kids? at 16? NO NO NO NO NO.

He knows I am downtown with his Sister at the Army Running expo. He knows I'm not in a position to yank his butt home. But he underestimates my ability to lay down the law by phone. [He and Friend learned that putting the best friend on the phone to advocate will not stop the steady stream of butt-chewing spewing forth from my mouth.] He underestimates the passion of my convictions (Really Son, Really? After all these years?). So .... I.....

yes I did...

I called the Ex to get his opinion. Because I thought nothing would break through the "injustice of it all" barrier for Son like a united front from warring Parents-who-are-exes.

How did I know Ex would agree with me? I wasn't certain but I was pretty sure. Despite the Divorce, I actually know Ex and his position on many things pretty well. Sure enough, Ex said, "No way no way no way. Get his butt home NOW."

I called Son back and gave him the whole united front attack. Apparently I underestimated my Son's determination.

Ultimately, I had to play the "I'm the parent and I said so" card. I hate playing that card. Although I realized - and told Son - "the reason I have to play this card is because I am the parent and you don't always know what's good for you. That's why I'm here and I'm in charge - to help you make the good decisions. If I didn't need to play this card we wouldn't even be having this argument because you would have made the right choice for yourself [being home at a reasonable hour] before ever calling me."

Ouch.

We all had to get up at 630 a.m to go to daughter's soccer game. Well, Son didn't HAVE to go but he wanted to go. (watch a bunch of attractive, smart 16-17 YO girls run around in shorts? Hells Yeah). Much to my amazement, Son continued to explain why he should have been allowed to go last night. Including the fact that although he would have had access to a 21 YO wrist band and all-you-can-drink bar drinks for $5, he would not have taken advantage of this. In his twisted mind, this makes it ok for him to go.

And that? Is why I need Valium. And why my doctor wouldn't dream of giving me even 1 tiny pill....

18 comments:

mo.stoneskin said...

"we try to minimize situations where you could make poor choices"

That is an incredible line. One which I'm storing in my memory bank for future use.

Can't believe you and the ex live next door to each other, but with lines like that...who could disagree!

Gigi said...

Oh my hell - I can so see this conversation happening to me in the next year or so!! Great line - I'm stealing it right now. I am glad that you and your ex can provide a united front - that's important.

JO said...

It soooooo must be the age. I swear that the Cadet is doing the very same thing right now...and driving both Capt. Oz and I insane....

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It sounds familiar. Though I've never had anyone push for 2 a.m. They don't like the sound of hysterical laughter that much.

BrightenedBoy said...

I think you were completely right in your decision. It is inappropriate for a sixteen-year-old to be wandering around a major city at two o'clock in the morning, particularly with college kids who will likely allow him to drink.

That being said, his behavior perplexes me.

The whole time I was reading this, I kept wondering, "Why didn't he just lie?"

A friend of mine and I were having a conversation about this very subject several weeks ago.

"You don't have to be really smart to fool your parents," she said. "You just have to tell realistic-sounding lies that are hard to disprove."

If I were your son, I would have just told my parents I was sleeping over with someone they didn't know very well. Problem solved.

Just be warned: the deception is a lot easier than you think.

DF said...

When our kids would try this at 17, we too were the meanest parents on the planet. "All my friends parents let......" or the evening does not get started until after 12PM". The curfew did not change from midnight.

Even better, you know when your kids are lying to you. It is an innate sense that parents have, so telling you about staying with a friend, and not being there would bring greater long term damage, meaning possible driving privilege loss that would be devastating to a 17 YO boy.

The Girl Next Door said...

Ah BrightenedBoy you clearly don't have kids yet? "Sleeping over with someone they didn't know very well." That answer? NoWAY NO WAY NO WAY. B/c I only let them sleep over places/parents I know or at least have a phone number to call and say, "HI I'm Son's mom and is he really sleeping there?" Oh yes I will. Which is why my kids know better than to lie. I am in investigative attorney/snooping Mom and they know it!

But I do often ponder the good fortune that my kids [usually] tell the truth. And when they don't? It's amazing how I can go into "deposition mode" and get them to tell on themselves.

J.G. said...

Oh, boy. Been there for some of those conversations, so I can offer:

"Well, when you're a parent, you can be mean, too." (Stolen from The Big Chill.)

"If we let you do that now, what will you have to look forward to when you're an adult?"

The things we are pushed to!

Amazingly, both girls turned out fine and still speak to me. Hang in there!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Just when you think you have it all figured out....
I am pretty confident in my decisions for the kids here too, but even on occasion have to call in some back up to make sure my choice was right. You did good. Hold your ground. This is what good parents do. :)
Take care, Suz

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

You did a good job, Mom. You did.

Also? No valium? You need a new doctor. (I kid.) (No, I don't.) (Yes, I do.)

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Ack. Valium should have been capitalized. (I think.) (Not that I'd know.) (I do.) (No, I don't.)

hulagirlatheart said...

As my daddy once told me as I was slipping into a dark house in the wee hours with my shoes in my hands--"There ain't nothin' goin' on at 2am that you need to be a part of."

ChiTown Girl said...

Girfriend, I'm so with you on this! I, too, have called the ex to get his input on things, knowing he would back me up! Actually, the last time it happened, I wasn't exactly sure WHAT he's say, and I just wanted to know if I was being unreasonable. Thankfully, he backed me 100%. It's important for Stud that we present a united front when it comes to him.

~annie said...

Wow. What a story. Good for you and the Ex being on the same page. Is there not a curfew in DC? Here, under 18s have to be home by midnight.

BrightenedBoy said...

Sometimes the parents go traitor.

I was no lie at a party a few weeks ago where the girl's mother provided us with alcohol.

Horrible parenting. Everyone else there was like, "Wow, her mom is awesome," and I was appalled by it, but obviously I didn't say anything.

Big Bro said...

Here is your "It sucks to be you" for the day:
You KNOW my ex would've let him, making me the bad guy.
Glad ex was man enough. Good job on standing firm. I am guessing the one they put on the phone never met you or he wouldn't have taken the phone in the first place...

Secretia said...

That's because good people accidentally get trapped into bad things. I do understand.

Secretia

Margo said...

I get this "because I'm a good kid" argument a lot lately. It feels like blackmail! My best friend's mother used to say, "nothing good happens after midnight, and quit while your ahead." It always stuck with me - but it may have made impression because she was not my mother!