Originally Posted by robin4kids
We were told by of 13 y/o son that we are the strictest parents and he hates us for it
My dh is proud of this new label. I on the other hand hate it. I am not saying that I want to give in to my ds's demands, but I wish our friends would stop giving in to their kids' demands.
We don't feel like we are THAT strict. We let ds stay home by himself while we go to the store. He sometimes watches his younger siblings for short times and we pay him. We live in the city, but let him take walks by himself. The things we just won't give in to are movies and shows and video games we find inappropriate for a boy his age. We limit the tv he can watch and only allow hand held games in our house. (these can only be played on the weekends) Oh and no cell phone or face book page. He has an email account, which we monitor.
I dunno'. I'm probably projecting a lot of my own childhood onto this, but. . .
You sound like pretty uptight, authoritative parents to me. The kind who drive a wedge between themselves and their child. The kind who have a suffering relationship years afterwards.
It's so nice to hear that you "let him" do fun stuff like stay home without a parent while you go to the store or to babysit his siblings. Wow! That's awesome.
I hope this doesn't sound overly harsh, but the things you allow him to do seemed pretty clearly divided as "ho-hum" versus all the fun stuff you don't allow him to do, or allow with many restrictions.
Here's a quick summary of my growing up. Maybe you'll see some parallels.
- Introverted, polite, straight-A student.
- Oldest in family = lots of jobs and responsibility on the farm, "breaking ground" with parents regarding social requests.
- Never ever drank a drop of alcohol as a teen. Never tried cigarettes or any drugs. Ever.
- Wanted to do really insane stuff like attend the occasional party, or maybe once or twice in my life go in to the town's theatre to see the movie and hang-out.
- Stonewalled at every turn: "Oh, it's not you we don't trust, it's the other people." and "You can go to parties when you are 18-19 and live on your own". Seriously?! Even at the time, I knew I probably would be far less interested in parties by age 18-19.
- Everything was a fight, all the time. Everything was about control. I felt like their possession.
- I did not live at home (by mutual consent) during my Grade 12 year.
- I spent many teenage years fantasizing, planning, and expecting that once graduated I would establish in a distant city, find a partner there, and literally never have contact with my immediate family again.
- It is not an exaggeration when I say that the only reason this did not play out is that I married a local.
- Over the last 8-10 years we have come around to a semi-uncomfortable truce. But I could never say that I "love" my parents. I still think they were stupid and wrong in so many, many ways - even more-so now that I am a parent. I am in my mid-30s and the feelings of isolation and hate are burned in my memory forever.
I think a lot of this variety of "strict" parents live in some sort of disillusion that they will in future be thanked by a loving child who now "gets it" and holds them on a pedestal for taking the "high ground" and giving the "tough love".
Some of your rules also reminded me of an aunt/uncle and their two boys. When kids in our family lusted after joining other seemingly-happy families, that was the only relative where we thought, "Oh, never them
!" Their son cut off all contact for about 10 years as a young adult. It is due only to his brother's marriage that he is back in their lives at all.
Your comments about wishing your friends would stop giving in to their kids demands and your husband being proud of the new title are really telling to me. I really see a lot of the same us-them attitude I saw in my own parents (hopefully not the airs of superiority that went along with it at our house). You may imagine that I am a loosey-goosey, permissive parent in contrast. Certainly, I am not. But it just looks to me like the things you are banning are almost for no other purpose than being controlling and mean. It's not like your son is skipping school, getting drunk regularly, vandalizing property, stealing cars, and getting girls knocked up. Sounds to me like his desires are extremely reasonable.
I am sure you are distraught about the situation and I hope my comments haven't been hurtful. But I really think you are setting the stage to drive your son away for decades, if not permanently. I wish you good luck in establishing more common ground with your son.