April 23, 2010

Who's In Charge Here? If it were my house - it would be ME!

I know I've mentioned this before; but . . . .seriously?  How far is too far when you want to go discipline someone else's kid before the law gets involved?  Can I lay into this kid just a little without any consequences?

My co-worker's issues with her son have not abated at all.   If anything, they've gotten worse.  I have told her, repeatedly, to be firm.  To be strict.  To be consistent.  And repeatedly, she does none of the above.

Today I heard her talking to another colleague (who is also a personal friend) about some of the issues.  He and his wife have successfully raised two children who are know healthy, happy productive (adult) members of society.  He has given her the same advice I have.  Repeatedly.

We discussed it later.  He is concerned.  As am I.  We have concluded that her son intimidates her.  I seriously do not think the kid would ever hurt her - but because he has figured this out he uses it to his advantage. 

Her response continually is, "Well, I can't make him do xyz."  "There is nothing I can withhold from him."  etc.

My heart hurts for her.  She is a really nice person - just one with no backbone.  She has mentioned to me before, upon receiving advice, that she doesn't have a big husband to back her up like I do.  True.  And the ex is a horrible parent who lives far away anyway, so he's no help.  But to be honest, I don't think you need to have a big husband to back you up against your own son.  You shouldn't need a big husband to back you up, period.

But I have told her that she does have leverage.  She just has to be willing to do it.  She claims that he "needs nothing from her."  Ahh, but he does.  She cooks for him.  She drives for him.  She shells out money to him.  There are many little ways that he "needs" her.  I have informed her that by law, the only things she must do for him is provide food & shelter.  There is no law that says she must drive him where he wants to go, cook the food that is provided or give him money.

She can inform him "there's the fridge - have at it."  She can inform him she's not driving him anywhere or giving him money.  And she can walk out when he begins to have a fit about it.  She does not have to listen to him.  She can begin to get a life for herself - instead of being available for his every beck and call.

Until she DEMANDS the respect that she deserves as a parent - hell, as a human - she will never get respect from this kid.

Luckily (if there is a lucky side to all this) he doesn't seem to be involved in drinking or drugs - then it would probably be a different set of issues (and seriously?  Can you imagine what a nightmare that would be?  If she can't handle a "straight" kid just how would she handle a totally out of control kid?).

But what truly worries me is what kind of adult is this kid going to turn out to be?  He has no respect for authority - that goes over real well in the workplace.  He believes he is entitled to whatever he wants, when he wants it.  I have a feeling he is going to end up living with her - mooching off her well into adulthood - because why should he leave? 

At this point, as I've mentioned, all I can do is listen.  And repeat the same advice and hope she heeds it.

In the past year, she has aged tremendously.  And I know it's not from work stress.  It's home-life stress. 

I realize that raising teenagers is no picnic - but it shouldn't be like this. 

Man-Child gives me grief and gray hair, but after listening to her I come home and hug him.  Because he is a good kid - who gives people, especially his mother, the respect they deserve.  Because he knows that he isn't in charge here.

Sorry to have dragged y'all into this - but after listening - and becoming outraged - I just had to vent a little.


  1. Thanks for dropping bye! Some people are just born to be a burden on society. I'll keep your friend in my prayers.

  2. When I was growing up, I respected the adults around me or I suffered the consequences. She's really doing him no favours by letting him get away with everything. Once he gets out into the "real" world, he'll get a shocking surprise.

  3. Reading between the lines, do you think this woman wants her son to 'need' her? Hence her reluctance to enforce any of the good advice given to her. It sounds like maybe (only maybe, as I could be reading it all wrong) she's scared, to be tough, in charge, laying down the law, refusing to wait on him, so on, because she feels he won't 'love' or 'like' her any more? I think, sadly, quite a few mums think like that.

  4. I wish that there was an easy button for these kinds of situations, you know?

    i have my own battle with a friend who doesn't listen - but its not her son who is the issue because she doesn't have kids, it's her boyfriend.

  5. There are many parent in the same situation. One of my own said... who wouldn't do that, as long as it works. As long as the teen keeps getting his way, what's the motivation to change? Maybe if she can rationalize it, in a different way, she'll finally get it.

  6. Yipes. I hope it works out with your friend. Teenagers are scary but they definately need boundaries.

  7. WOW- so frustratng for you, and sad for her. My boys, only 4 and 6, can still be buggers, but i al always- well, mostly- consistent. When I count to three, that's it- no second chances. When I threaten, I carry though. That's all I can do for now, and hope the mouthy-but-still-only-6 phase changes...

  8. That poor woman! Trouble is teenagers need to know where their boundaries are and should never dominate the home and she's doing him no favours by allowing him to behave like that.

    Your last paragraph is brilliant...absolutely brilliant!

  9. Wow, honey....my heart hurts for her. I know what she means about not being able to physically make him do something but she doesn't seem to think she has any power at all.

    She needs to realize that teens are just like toddlers...they really DO need boundaries and will respect them if they're forced to! I know this from personal experience! Good luck to her...you're a good friend to care so deeply about this.

  10. I know how you feel. My 2 nephews are just strange and it's driving my sister in law crazy..not to metion her weird husband!


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