Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Politeness
10 10 10
Comment: Thank you so much for your input. You are right, I shouldn’t feel bad about calling the other parents. I do now have all the phone numbers from my caller ID and started a list. I will listen more often and that is very important.
Subject: 9 year old boy
Question: I have a 9 yr old son who is acting like a teen. He has lots of friends in the neighborhood including a girlfriend, all the same age and school. We have a rule that he is supposed to let us know where he is going, but it seems he always takes off and I don’t know which parent to call. I hate to be calling around for him.
On evening he was supposed to be home at 7:30 pm, 8pm came and I had to call his girlfriends mom, she told me that the girl was supposed to be home as well at 7:30pm. I was scared for a moment, I went to get into my car and he was walking down the street with his girlfriend. I grounded him no friends for a day or girl for that matter. This seems to work. BUT last night, he came home and had grass on his back.
I asked him why and he said he was laying in the grass. He had been hanging with his girlfriend. I asked exactly what was going on and he then said he was laying down because he was bored and his girl was up the street. This morning, I opened the bathroom door while he was supposed to be brushing his teeth, he was putting my husbands cologne on.
I took it away from him but he insisted that he is a 4th grader old enough. The other issue is having to tell him to do something 5 times then finally having to yell at him. It is frustrating. He is always saying to me “mom, listen”, and i have to say, i don’t have to listen I am the mother.
Answer: Dear Kelley:
First of all let’s get it straight. He is the child you are the adult.
Next, you do need to listen and I don’t know what rule book you were reading when it was decided parents don’t have to listen. LISTENING is the secret to gaining control in this relationship back. The person who does the most listening in any relationship is the person who has the most control over the relationship.
While he is only 9 and is most likely not sexually active he is certainly showing an early interest in girls. When you find yourself feeling like you hate doing this or that think forward to how you would feel becoming an unexpected grandmother and raising your grandchild. This should bring a perspective on how awful it is to call around and find him.
Next, not knowing which parents to call is an easy fix. Call ALL of them. Track him down when he is not where he says he is going to be and set some rules you will live by. (Notice I said you will live by because parents are the key to having the rules enforced. Rules do not work if you do not enforce them.)
You are right for only grounding for day. Sometimes parents over-react and then pound the point in the ground by becoming too punitive.
Listen to him. Find out what his day is like and how he spends his time and with whom he spends his time. Next, get a list of those parents and all of their contact numbers. If you feel like the odd parent out then ask them why they do not know the people their children are spending time with as predators are often people you know , people you trust and sometimes even people you love. Not knowing or contacting other parents is just not good parenting. At least you have numbers and parents to call and feel good about this when you call other parents!
Lastly, you are responsible for teaching other people how you will and will not be treated and this includes your son. You are also his role model for how he interacts with women (in the future) in his life. So when you expect respect now he will be attracted later on in life, to women who also expect respect. Your training with him has only begun. The teen years are an excellent training ground for his relationships. He is very lucky to have a mom who cares so much about his behavior. Keep up the good work! Trust yourself more.
M Kay Keller