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Hi-- I don't mean this to be rambling, but I need to provide some context to my "parenting" situation...
Ok no problem, I am here
I am currently a "parent" to a 17 year old male (18 in September). I say "parent" with quotes because he is not my biological child, but he is instead the child of a woman I had a relationship with for the past 5 years. She has deserted the family and I have been overseeing him solely for the past year, and (I feel) we have a good relationship overall. He started seeing an 18 year old girlfriend a short while ago. He and I have had talks about contraception, but I asked him to not have relations in our home. Within a few weeks of their relationship, they walked into the house and straight upstairs to his bedroom and closed the door (a violation of frequently discussed house rules). I saw his door was closed, and tried ringing him on his phone several times, and got no answer. I yelled at the bottom of the stairs for him, and still no answer. I went to the top of the stairs and banged on the door, and still no answer. I opened the door to find them mid-act, some 20 minutes after walking in the door. The girl left and we had a long talk about why the behavior was inappropriate. Cleaning his room a few days later, I found a wastebasket full of used condoms, indicating the behavior was ongoing, even while I was "reminding" him about the rules of the house. I feel that my trust in him has been betrayed, and I have told him such.... My question is as follows: I have told him the young lady is not welcome into our home until the three of us have a chat. Part of me says to simply say to both of them -- "These are the house rules -- obey them" and let them be, but part of me feels the need to tell them the impact their behavior had on my relationship with the teen in my house, and particularly around why their behavior of walking past me and being mid-act in 20 minutes was particularly appalling. Am I better off just setting the rules to them jointly going forward -- or do you think a more in-depth discussion of their behavior is warranted? Part of me almost feels that the more in-depth session is more for my benefit than theirs...
Ok, let me see what your situation is, will only be a moment.
First of all...What a great man and parent you are.
Second of all, actually no, the more in depth conversation benefits you and him, but not the young lady.
I would have a conversation with him first, alone and let him understand that the absolute disrespect of your rules was hurtful.
That you need him to understand that your job is hard and you are only trying to protect him. And to have relations in your parents home while they are present is disrespectful, period.
He seems to be very comfortable with you and the line somewhere may have become blurred with discipline, but you seem to be on the right track.
I believe that after you speak with him, you request a meeting between all three of you and tell them you will answer any questions they have but they need to follow house rules.
The reason the in depth should stay personal is because it is absolutely a parenting and learning moment for you.
So use this as a way to tell him the boundaries that you will allow in the respect sector.
But, for her..These are the rules. Respect them. Or do not come over.
The fact that you are here asking this means that you put so much thought into parenting him. And, sad to say, this is just more parenting while he transitions into a man. But, this will be a lesson that he will carry later in life. Respect is important.
Thank you so much -- I have already had an in-depth discussion with him, and he has written (and delivered) a letter of apology to me that I feel was heartfelt and genuine. We are now at the point where the young lady needs to join us for a chat, so thanks for affirming this. She is a nice young lady and I like her, and I am hoping to provide a firm, yet supportive environment for this talk. I should have pointed out that that they became intimate within a few weeks of their relationship, and I walked in on them at about the 1 month point of their relationship. The young lady comes from a very religious household and has very strict parents, so part of me feels that she is acting out against her parents with this behavior (my sense is that she was actually the aggressor in the intimacy area). ONE MORE QUESTION: After the discussion with both of them, do you think I should trust them upstairs in his room again? How about when I am not at home? I do some traveling, but work from home most of the time...
No, The rules should always be with this age group..No Closed Doors
It is the most common practice. He should not be allowed to have her in her room. There are so many things that can happen and even though he will practice this anyway. You do not want to make it easy. You have to let him know how you feel and with her not being able to talk to her parents. Contraceptive should be discussed with him again.
You want to have boundaries, it is so important. And a letter of apology from a 17 year old, great job!
You have already done what I would have suggested, just stick to your gun. Support their relationship in other ways..Have dinners, include her in family activities, there are many ways to show your support without letting your boundary down with the closed door policy.
Keep an open line of communication with the him and her when possible. Let them feel safe but not so safe that something like this happens again. I hope that this helps. Let me know if you need anything else. Good luck with your adventure but you seem to really be on the right track.
Thanks for your input. I appreciate it very much. I have a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology, but it has been helpful to chat with someone of your background...
well, that is great! I am actually getting my Ph. D in Counseling with a focus on children development. So thank you!
OK -- you have been so helpful that I DO have one more question. I don't know how this service works, so if I need to deposit more $'s, let me know...
As mentioned, the teen (Jay) will be 18 in September, and just graduated high school. He has yet to finalize his college plans, but I am hoping that he will attend college locally for at least his first year. This is my desire for several reasons -- first, there is an issue of cost, and secondly, I do not feel he is ready yet to be on his own. I am sensitive to the fact that me clamping-down on his behavior with his GF probably makes living here less desirable. Given this (and the fact that times have changed), I have considered telling him that if he gets enrolled in college, makes good grades, gets a job and starts taking on the responsibilities of being an adult, that I would then consider revising the policy on female guests (assuming they were 18+ and there was a stable relationship present). This change would not automatically happen on his 18th birthday or anything, but would instead be something that was granted after his first semester in college. Any thoughts on this? Again, this is very different from how I was raised -- I lived at home until I finished my M.S. degree at age 24, and would never have dreamed of having a GF overnight at their house. What do you think?
OK -- it appears you are offline -- thanks again, and talk to you later....