Thank you to Paula for allowing me to use her blog for a bit of a vent. My family read my blog and, whilst I need to rant about this for a while, I’m not sure I want them to see me ranting – all will become clear.
Thank goodness for guest posting.
Who am I talking about? My 16-year old son, that’s who. He has unofficially left school although still has to return for six exams; he doesn’t have a job – part time or otherwise, his social skills appear to be deteriorating and he lives only for his X-Box. He has a college place in September but only because I gave him an ultimatum.
The lack of employment isn’t really for the want of trying. He did attempt to get a job a while back – he asked in all the local businesses and at the market in town but prior to his sixteenth birthday he was too young and since then there have been no vacancies – all eaten up by the people who will do anything since losing jobs during the recession. He got quite upset at the rejection he was receiving. He consoled himself by blasting the hell out of some virtual soldier on a live-link-up X-Box game (I’m sure you all know which one I’m on about).
He’s an average student at school although his grades have improved over the past six months and he may get better GCSE results than expected thanks to some encouragement from his teachers and some extra effort with coursework. His X-Box gaming is the only thing he excels at. He has a gadget that wires up the X-Box to the computer so that he can record his “matches” – he then edits them and uploads the clips of impressive moves to YouTube. To be honest, that takes some intelligence – and that comes naturally – but ask him to write it down or explain it in layman’s terms and he will struggle. He hates using the telephone. He had to phone college to ask about his grant and we had to coach him through what he would have to ask and how to write the information down in note form.
I’m trying not to be negative about him and I completely understand “normal” teenage behaviour but he appears to be emotionally immature sometimes – I find that he gets upset very easily, he doesn’t seem to care about general hygiene without being constantly reminded yet he has a wicked sense of humour, a non-threatening demeanour and is liked immensely by everyone who meets him. He has also had a couple of personal and emotional setbacks in the past twelve months – getting knocked off his bike by a drunk driver and being physically assaulted by a teacher at school – I think this may be where the problems started but some of that has been tackled and some is still being sorted out.
He should be out getting lashed and chatting up girls. I should be sat up checking my watch every five minutes at midnight waiting for him to come home from a pub or nightclub somewhere. Instead, I can hear him swearing at some idiot on his own team who has just “killed” him in his game. I am still dishing out “pocket money” to him so that he can just go into town with his mates on a Saturday afternoon and I’m constantly topping his phone up with e-Vouchers.
I want to shake him madly and tell him to pull himself together. I want to rant at him that he needs to get with the real world and sort himself out – take some responsibility. I mentioned up there that he is only going to college because of an ultimatum that I set. Well, he seemed to think that he could take a “gap year” after he finishes school, waiting for an opportunity to drop into his lap. He soon changed his mind when I reminded him that I would expect to be paid board money from the 1st of September as Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits would cease for him. I explained that I would require the equivalent each week or month – whichever was the easiest for him. Was that fair? Should I expect him to understand about “real life” at this age? The course he is doing is something that he is interested in – Motor Mechanics – but I am struggling to see how he will cope with “the big boys” and I worry about him – all 6 foot 3 inches of him.
I’m at the end of the line. What can I do? Should I be trying harder? Should I leave him alone to make his own mistakes? Should I be more concerned about the X-Box ‘addiction’? I’ve battled the teenage years once before and realise that the “full on” parent approach doesn’t necessarily work, yet it seems that the laid back approach does neither me nor him any favours.
Is it actually true that there is no happy medium? Should I have used the same style of parenting for each of my children? How does that work when they are so individual anyway and have been raised to not be afraid of expressing their personality or opinion?
In short am I taking this too seriously or not seriously enough?
Or am I to be reminded of this quiet, gentle boy when I’m kicking off in three months about his anti-social behaviour please? I just don’t think he’s very happy at the moment….