Thursday, June 07, 2007

My Eldest

I don't often talk about A on here. He's going to be 19 on the 4th of July and, right now, is driving me to distraction.

A has lived with his dad since the 7th grade. We were living in Worcester and I didn't want A going to middle school or high school there. His dad's town had a much better school system, so we agreed he'd stay there during the week and I'd take him on weekends. When TCBIM and I moved to the same town, we were able to see A more frequently. It was really nice.

Over the years, A's dad has done a lot, financially, for A that I didn't think was a good idea. A had a senior class trip to England that was going to cost around $2000. I told Alex I could contribute $500, but only if he also put in some money. He said he would, but he never got a job to earn the money. Because he didn't keep up his end of the deal, I didn't give him the money. His dad then took out an equity loan to pay for the trip.

My sister and I found a car for A. It was a little beater of a car - an old Nissan or Toyota - something small, inexpensive and cheap. The deal was that A had to get his license and a job to contribute to the cost of car insurance. He did neither, so we wound up selling the car to someone else.

Various things like this have happened over the years. A has never been willing to pull his own weight. He seems to think that if he just ignores his obligation, his dad or I will step in to bail him out. Well, I don't have the money to do that. Neither does his dad, but his dad has stepped in anyway.

Fast forward - A has had a couple of jobs. Currently he's working in a warehouse, 3rd shift. He was going to college - my mother helped him apply and helped him get financial aid. It was only community college, but still, it was something. But A decided it wasn't for him after only one semester. Thus the warehouse job.

A and his dad had a big blowout a few weeks back. A and his underage girlfriend were in A's room. His dad went off on them - it wasn't the first time A had been told that this wasn't acceptable behaviour - so A took off. Since then, he's been staying with his girlfriend and her parents. In their SHED!

And now he has strep throat and mono, probably from not getting enough sleep and from sleeping in a damned shed.

Honestly, who puts a kid up in their shed? Why didn't her parents call one of us? What has he told them that they think living in their shed is better than living with one of his parents??

This is just one in a string of shit that A has done. I talk to him, his dad talks to him, but he won't listen. He tells us what we want to hear and then does what he wants anyway. And he's pissed at everyone because we aren't buying him a $10,000 car and subsidizing an apartment for him. I don't know where he got the idea that we had this kind of money to spend, but I know he thinks he's entitled.

It's so frustrating. I love him, but right now, I'd like to paddle his ass.


Life As I Know It said...

I really have no words. I am dreading the teenage years.
Sounds to me like your doing the absolute right thing by not bailing him out and by making him work/contribute for things he wants. Our job, as parents, is to make them independent in the world.
He will get there...he's got a mom who loves him.
Hang in there!

OhTheJoys said...

Ouch. That sounds hard, Julie.

Can you keep mine small for me?

Shannon said...

Tough love!!

He's 19 and an adult...a young one, but an adult nonetheless.

Until he's willing to help himself, I don't see why you should shoulder him while he does nothing.

I can see supplementing his income if he were actually working or going to school, but he's got to learn to pull his own weight.

That's how I'd do it with my kids. Check back in 12 yrs to see how it went ;)

Major Bedhead said...

OTJ - I wish.

Shannon - I know it's what I need to keep doing and I think even if I had the money to give him, I wouldn't. It's just hard watching him behave like a butthead.

Shannon said...

Yeah, I hear you. That's the tough thing that comes with motherhood...watching your kid trying to keep his head above water.

Mama bird kicking the baby bird out of the nest so that it can fly on it's own.

He'll be OK. I know you wouldn't let him get into too deep trouble.

My stepbrother was the exact same way as A. Now he's an undercover agent for Homeland Security. He found his niche.

A will find his....I'm sure it sucks for you to have to witness his struggle in the meantime.

Mom O Matic said...

Just open up "Customize" and add an object to your column. Does that make sense? You can email me if you need more help.

Lara said...

maybe i should add this to my thursday thirteen list of why i'm glad not to be a mom yet. i think i really *would* paddle his ass...

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I don't think 19 is too old to have one's a*s paddled. Unless he's significantly bigger than you, then have his dad around as a back-up.

Angewl said...

{{hugs}} I know some of what you are going through. So, I have no advice, just some hugs for you.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, there were plenty of kids around me when I was that age that felt the same way. Hell, I even felt that way, and I was fairly responsible and went to college and didn't flunk out drinking myself to death.

Hopefully it's just the age. You're teaching him far more about self-sufficiency by holding out on helping him with his every whim than you could be if you just gave in. I'm proud of you for being so strong. Hang in there.

There are two sides to tough love - the tough front you have to put on to show the one you love that you mean business, and the quieter tough that goes on in your heart as you watch the one you love struggle to learn the hard lesson. But you're a tough cookie anyway and I think you'll be okay (and so will A, after he learns a little perspective).

kittenpie said...

That is frustrating. And, as you say, how irresponsible to let a kid stay in your shed. Not only is that horrible for the other parents, but what are you telling your daughter, exactly?