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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Consulting Parent

I believe there comes a point when you are no longer in charge of every decision your child makes about his or her life. You become the consultant, not the executive in charge.  When you arrive at this crossroads, you can only try to guide the child in making the most beneficial choice for his or her life.
You're only deluding yourself if you think you're in control. -Confessions Of An Aspergers Mom -Facebook Status, 3/25/14

So when you find your 15 year-old kid looking at inappropriate videos on the internet, no not sexual in nature, this time.  Nevertheless, they are non-productive for his life, with loads of explicit language and gratuitous violence. You can go the route of forbidding him to watch these videos.  You can take away privileges for a time.  Take away the phone, the computer, the game system. Sooner or later, he will find his way back to the filth and ignorance if he really wants to.  So how do you handle the situation? 

Well, I’ve been to this rodeo before with my now 25 year-old son.  I never allowed guns in my home.  He made them out of legos or played with them when he went to his birth-mother's house. I didn’t buy violent video games.  He played them when he went to visit friends or relatives. When we found that he was looking at videos of an inappropriate nature, we took away the computer. We grounded him from driving the car and so on.  We put the computer out in the family room, put on parental controls, etc.  

Did this stop him from finding a way to watch them again sooner or later? Absolutely, not.  

When I was a teen, my mother kept a very tight reign on me.  It never kept me from doing one.single. thing. I really wanted to do.  I had the will.  I found a way. Instead of spending all of her time, forbidding me to this or that, I would have been better served, if she spent her time teaching me how not to give myself away to the lowest bidder, just because I wanted attention. And by lowest bidder I mean guys who didn’t deserve my attention or my love.  I would have been better served by being guided into making better decisions for myself.  She did the best she could, bless her heart.  Thankfully, I didn’t turn out too bad.  I finally figured things out …my way. 

In this case of Blue, my now 15 year-old son, I think the lesson lies in helping him figure out what kind of person he wants to be.  Do you want to immerse yourself in language that will have you constantly thinking negative thoughts?  I realize you are going to hear foul language out in the world, especially, on the high school campus.  But do you want to have that language so deeply in your psyche that it’s stuck in your head all of the time.  Then you end up getting yourself into trouble by using it at the inappropriate time. You do know you have issues with anger.  When you immerse yourself in this language, you’re not going to take the time to think when you’re angry.  You’re just going to let words fly out of your mouth and then deal with the consequences. 

Yesterday I heard you calling your brother a prick.  Do you even know what that means? No.  You don’t. I asked you what it meant and you thought it meant stabbing someone with something.  Um…No. That would be using the word as a verb.  When you call someone a prick, you’re using it as a noun…And not a very nice one.  Certainly not one you want to be using in front of your mother, or your grandmother.  Do you want to be viewed as someone who is disrespectful or do you want others to think that you’re intelligent enough to come up with better vocabulary with which to express yourself? 

When my brother was your age, he often found himself in all kinds of trouble, but he NEVER used certain language in front of my mother or grandmother.  He had too much respect for them.  

No. Looking at these videos does not make you a bad person.  I know all of your friends are looking at this crap too.  One person sees it.  He shows it to you.  You show it to another friend.  You are all sucked into believing this is good entertainment.  What I would like you to think about is what else could you be doing with your time that would make you into the person that you would like to be? 

You’re not alone son.  I have different groups of friends, some who lead me to do doing better things with my life, and others who are counter-productive.  Don’t get me wrong, I still like many from the counter productive group.  But after a while, I find myself thinking …is this what I want to do with my life?  Is this the person that I want to be?  If not, then I will find myself moving in another more positive direction.  If those friends would like to come with me, they are welcome.  If not, that’s o.k., but I may not have as much time to give you, because I am moving forward in my life. 

I pray son, that you will make good choices for yourself.  I will be here to support those good decisions when you make them. 

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I state above that I am not the expert Mom with all of the answers.  Do you have good solutions to helping our teenagers make better decisions for themselves? I value your input, even if I don’t agree with it. Comment below.