Question: I am a working mom and my son is the only child, now 19 years old. I always had in mind a correct upbringing; due to the divorce and being raised by a single mom. This was the reason I feared, that he was “at risk”, and would be at a higher risk than youth who live with 2 parents. The weekends or a day off from work were to give my son quality time, family principles etc. Trouble started: wants a girlfriend and dad approves, wants a car dad provides. I was clear that girls were for a later age along with marriage until accomplishment of education to support himself. I, mom, remains firm with those expectations, but I learned that he tries to meet new people, away from family, and empowers him. He gets mad and tells me to to get a life, wants to move out, but can’t hold a job for more than a year, nor do I see him studying and loves the night life. What is happening to him? Is this normal for a young man? R.
Answer: Dear R.: I honestly don’t think there’s a “normal,” especially where teens are concerned. That said…experimentation is usually a factor when becoming an adult and manipulation and rebellion are often rampant.
We would all like to teach our children our own values yet our teaching can only go so far. Being receptive and respectful may go out the window when hormones come along. When the smoke clears, each of us has to decide what we believe and it may or may not reflect our parent’s views.
At nineteen your son thinks he’s is an adult and you know he’s not. It’s hard to let go especially when you see him making choices you know are dangerous or self-defeating. However, attempting to control him may drive him farther away.
My suggestion would be that you go to a counselor about this to get some perspective. Your son probably won’t be interested in such a course of action but having an advocate might help you to navigate through these muddy waters. Blessings, Luise