Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I am not ready for this stage...

Parenting a young adult will about kill me.

Yeah, I know. Carrie, you always talk about not having a bad attitude...well blah, blah, blah. Sorry, I should not be directing frustrations at you.

I have a Firstborn/highschool graduate/young adult (now referred to as YA) who hasn't quite figured the important things in life. Like letting your parents know when you will be home, or at least coming home before or at your curfew. He thinks that now he is a YA, he shouldn't have a curfew. Too bad, so sad, my house my rules. And, yes, consequences are fair.

Nor does he think that helping out at home is nearly important as helping the cute neighbor two doors down. Yesterday, he needed to be home, preparing to leave for a competition today. I called him three times to get home and get his stuff done. Nope. He felt it was more important to help the neighbors and then go out to dinner with them. This anywhere-but-home attitude has been a recurring theme, happening daily.

To top it off, he missed his ride to the airport this morning and fully expected Mr. Wonderful to come save him........and he didn't know the time the plane left nor the airline he was flying on. We assume he made it to California because he hasn't called since he left the airport. In the meantime, he apparently expects me to finish his laundry, wash his sheets, make his bed since he left it sitting in the laundry (except for what he dumped in the hall just outside his bedroom door) and knowing that I am trying to get ready for guests tomorrow.

He gave us no itinerary because apparently YA's don't need one. At least their parents don't need to know about it.

How you get through to a YA that there are still certain rules and courtesies that must be adhered to? That family members deserve love and respect as much as friends do? That being part of a family means working together, helping out, and making an effort to get along? That family comes first? Sitting him down and trying to explain only fell on deaf ears.

I always thought the hard challenges in my life would circulate between The Love Magnet's Down syndrome, Thirdborn's learning disabilities, and stress such as the current typical balance-school-and-mommyhood. But at this time the hardest challenge of my life is navigating the uncharted waters of Firstborn's YA-hood. Nothing I say or think or do carries any significance.

Praying for help/knowledge/wisdom/patience/sanity is my only recourse.

5 comments:

My name is Sarah said...

this is joyce. oh so right there with you. i feel your pain. hey i feel my own pain. daily. i've so learned to bite my tongue and realize this too shall pass. it's the trials and errors that teach best i guess.

Anna said...

Oh man Carrie. Well YA-hood was not that long ago for me. I guess you just have to be really direct and come up with consequences. If he doesn't come home by curfew (or text/call for an extension) than you take away the keys to his car for a week or whatever. I guess he just has to understand that "free room and board" at mom and dad's house comes with contributing to the household (chores, etc..) and keeping family rules (like curfew). If he wants full freedom/autonomy then he needs to get roommates and pay the $300+food+electricity+everything else that comes with it.

Anyway I don't mean to tell you what to do, I obviously haven't parented a YA! But I was one not that long ago...it's a tricky balance figuring out what independence means for you -- he just needs a reminder that while yous till provide he needs to respect your rules.

Ugh....good luck is what I really mean to say.

Still sad I couldn't make it to Nate's wedding reception and see you :(

Leah S. said...

Here is what I did with my boys. (who are now 25, 24, 22, 22.) Curfews: Part of the purpose of curfews is not only for the person's safety, and for respect of the rest of the family, but also to teach how to be on time when it's time to have a J.O.B. Does he have a job? Is he on time for it? If so, why does he have more respect for his employer than he does for his parents? His employer pays him, you "pay" him with a place to live! (I'm not asking YOU this, by the way, these are questions for you to use with him. LOL) So, in the workplace, when you are late you are usually docked pay. You can't "dock" his place to live, but you can change his curfew, and HE will be setting his own curfew! For every 5 minutes late, his curfew will be HALF HOUR earlier the next time. If he doesn't want to adhere to that policy that he sets himself, there is a door and suitcases in the basement. Living with your parents is EASY compared to paying rent!

As far as being responsible to the family, I established a calendar. (learned this from MY mom who had trouble keeping me home when we were supposed to be planning MY wedding!) On the calendar I mark green, yellow and red days. Green days the boys were free of chores that I assigned them. Yellow days they had things to do for me, and once those things were done, their schedule was open. Red days were MINE. Those were the days they were not able to make plans outside the house because there were things they needed to get done for me. (reminding them that those days were their form of rent for living at home!) I tried to have the calendar set by Sunday night. Then I would explain what responsibilities needed to be met on the yellow and red days so they knew what was ahead. When they could see the green days on the calendar, this helped them see that I'm not CONSTANTLY nagging them, and they DO have free time. It also prevented me from constantly nagging. This helped IMMENSELY!

Then there is THE most difficult thing EVER. Had to do it with two of mine. Sometimes young adults make things difficult ON PURPOSE because they really want to move out, but...and I swear my two thought this way....they want the parent to push them out instead of them doing it themselves. That way they can feel justified when they're ticked off at us. LOL So I told them if you cannot follow the house rules. ALL of them, you cannot live here. We love you, but we also love peace in our house. Our job is to teach you to be responsible because you will have to hold a job. THIS is your job right now. But if you feel you can do better on your own, you are free to make that choice. The choice is 100% your own. We are not angry with you, and we will not make the decision for you. But if you do decide you'd like to move out on your own, please come talk to us instead of putting us and the rest of the family through hell. That is called mutual respect.

Matthew said...

I vote for random beatings, preferably from his uncles. Yes, I am volunteering.

Melissa said...

My oldest is a senior this next year and then I will be in your boat....I loved all the advice you got, and I plan to use it. Keep us posted on how things work for you, so I can learn too. :) Good luck. Take it one day at a time.