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We are the strictest parents?! - Page 3

post #41 of 119
I think you are being very strict with your 13 year old.

He will rebel in every way he can if you do not give him space and let him set some of his own boundaries.

If you were my parent I would freak out too.

Not long ago we were living more uncivilized lives and 13 year old boys were certainly exposed to sex, violence, birth, death, all that good stuff. Violence is important for boys it helps them connect with their warrior self.

Your son will probably be trying drugs and having sex in the next few years anyways, are you sure you want to alienate him so much right now? because chances are he won't come to you when he needs advising.
post #42 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by robin4kids View Post
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.
post #43 of 119
I could have written several of the last posts. My parents NEVER trusted me to make my own decisions, and tried to control everything I did. They "accidentally" opened letters and diaries (and read them). They "cleaned" my room and confronted me with the evidence of my wrongdoing (a candy wrapper). Once I even caught my mother going through my purse. She insisted that she could, because I was just a child and I lived in her home. I can't begin to describe what it was like growing up constantly under suspicion - and I was a good kid!

I had no friends outside of school hours because I wasn't allowed to see movies that weren't rated G until I was 15! years old, and my curfew was 10PM until I was a junior in high school. Friends eventually stopped asking me to do anything, because it was hurtful to both of us when I had to say no. The issue was that my parents refused to believe that I wasn't 10 anymore, and never gave me any chance to explore. I entered the adult world extremely naive, and have the lumps to prove it.

For my own children, we worked on a basis of trust from the get-go. At 13 they had myspace pages, but our computer was in the dining room, where anyone could walk by and glance at it. They were allowed out one evening each weekend - usually to a basketball game or a movie, and then a walk across the street to McDonald's with a group of friends. They had cell phones at 14, and knew the limits on them. They answered every time I called. They had no interest in video games. If they wanted to see an R rated movie, my husband took them and any of their friends whose parents gave permission. We did not show questionable DVD's at home if other kids were there. Neither of my kids ever acted out or was frightened about something they had seen. I have never read their e-mails, but I would imagine there was lots of grousing about how WE were the strictest parents in town!
post #44 of 119
i have to say that I grew up with a mother who was "strict" and "controlling" about everything.

I started lying very young, and by the time I was 13??? geez

the average 13 year old girl in 1993 was "trying" pot, drinking at their friends house, and gettin felt up by other 13 year old boys.... in a pretty "well-off" community in a large city.

now? I have 21 year old niece and nephew and an 18 year old nephew... and a 13 year old niece... and a 11 year old nephew.... and I can tell you- that your son probably does dislike you quite a bit.

the fact that you are still choosing his movies and video games doesnt speak at all about him or his needs... it speaks to your insecurities.

You raised him, at this age- he is going to make the decisions that he is going to make... he will figure out a way to make them regardless of your interventions. Let him become a man. Let him choose for himself. YOu know why he wouldnt admit he was scared at hte movie IT???? BECAUSE HE WAS TRYING TO PROVE TO YOU HE COULD HANDLE IT!

If he were learning to trust his own instincts- he mightve turned it off. But you have him on such a short leash~ do you think he would admit fear so you could say I told you so and continue to limit and ban his exposure?


LIke I said, my mother probably couldve written your post... including the "why do other parents give in" bit.

Im 28, have two children and live 2500 miles away from her and havent spoken with her in a year.

Because- she never stopped being strict. But I became an adult... and then she COULDNT control me anymore.

You do not want this relationship with your son.

Honor his emotions, honor his privacy.

tell him your fears. be honest and open.

At 13..... I was an honor student, I was never home past curfew, I wasnt allowed to watch tv anywhere but in the main living room, I read books that my mom suggested, discussed politics with my stepdads friends at their fancy parties.... I was a really really "good kid".... I was ALSO smoking pot, drinking every second I was able and making out with guys on the back of the bus on the way home...


just try to be easier on your son, and your self. Im sure you did a good job raising him- it is time to see how he handles himself, no?
post #45 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by robin4kids View Post
I think what parents need to remember now is that when they were 13, there was not the same level of technology. Movies were not as graphic. There was no facebook, or email. So yes we could all sit back and let our kids watch whatever they want, play whatever game they pleased.
The movie you mention, IT, was on TV when I was your son's age. Movies were every bit as graphic as they are now. True enough about the Facebook/cellphones, etc, but video games, music, and television weren't all cotton candy sweet and fluffy.

Yeah, kids will always use the "so-and-so's mom lets him..." excuse, but so will parents always lean on the "things aren't the way they used to be" nonsense. The world has NEVER been a safe place, and it never will be.


Quote:
The worst that could happen is he could decide to watch every movie we forbid.

No, the worst thing is that he will rebel, turn on you, turn on your values, and take off from your house like a bat out of hell years before he's ready. You don't come across as strict, to me. You come across as smothering. I actually said the words OH MY GOD out loud while reading your OP. You said that you leave him alone when you go to the store, as evidence that you're not over-protective? I'm not trying to attack you, but that just blows me away.

Children NEED some independence in order to develop identity. You have two duties as a mother: to help your child to develop into his best self, and to keep him safe while he's doing so. The older the child gets, the more the scale needs to tip in the direction of helping to foster that identity. As hard as it is, you can't protect him like a baby anymore. If he only gets a few minutes to himself here and there, he's going to be forced to shove you away, and if you fight to hold him tight, you're going to have some seriously miserable years ahead of you... and the relationship might never recover.

By all means, limit his technology... but give him some space! At 13, does a guy really need Mommy hovering about while he watches a movie, measuring his reactions? And when his friend was over, no less? How mortifying.
post #46 of 119
Wow. I think many of you are giving the OP some pretty harsh predictions. I don't think giving thoughtful, evolving boundaries means that your child will grow up alienated from you. My oldest dd and I talk frequently about what she wants and what I feel she's ready for. Things are negotionable...I totally recognize that she's maturing and is becoming ready for more independence. I do reserve the right to read her email. I haven't in over a year, but I retain the password. She's still a child, learning to navigate the internet and all of its implications. She hasn't needed a cell phone yet, nor could we afford one for her. Now that she's walking and riding her bike to friends' homes, I'm ready to invest in one for emergency use only. If she chooses to need more minutes or texting in the future, she can pay for that from a part-time job. I pass no judgement on other parents' decisions but I also hope that they respect mine. FWIW, I grew up with FAR stricter parents than my husband and I are, and while I did have the normal teenaged angst for awhile, I grew up to have a loving relationship with both of my parents. I respect that they did what they thought was best, even if it wasn't 100% what I would choose as a parent myself.
post #47 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
Ummm. But there's ample programs, free and not, that will screen email and 'net access for inappropriate content. So it's not necessary to hover.
Honestly, I have found that honest and frank technology education has been invaluable. I have taught my kids about internet predators, what cyber bullying is and now this whole thing with child porn charges when kids send naked pix of themselves via cell phones.
Technology is a reality for kids. I feel it's best to utilize it in a positive way rather than shun or over regulate. Eventually, a kid has got to self-regulate.
Also, with facebook, I ask my kids to make sure they would be OK with their beloved grandma and grandpa reading what they post.
post #48 of 119
OP....I doubt you are the strictest parent in the world.

My son says that about me on occasion (ususally to his friends - I think they like to one up each other about who has the strictest parents) and I am so not the strictest, lol.

I think many families have their limits. There are things I limit that I know other parents do not - and vice versa. I remind myself of the things he does have a fair bit of freedom with when he sings the "you are strict" song.

I don't dismiss what he say and I do try to think critically and objectively about what he wants - but I don't feel guilt over reasonable boundaries.

As per IM - whether I would allow it would depend on other factors. Does he have issues with bullying? Does he have a good head on his shoulders? If the answers are no to bullying and yes to "good head on his shoulders" - I would probably allow it (and yes, he could do it anyways at a friend or the library). He is going to do it eventually - it might be a good opportunty for you to offer guidance in safe internet practices.

Kathy
post #49 of 119
Also, I just wanted to come back here an add one more anecdote. We lived out in the middle of nowhere. The school bus came along and I had to cross the street to get to it. I was maybe 12? My mom didn't want to let me cross the street so she had them come around and make a loop so I could get on at our side of the street. Mind you, this street was flat, good visibility in both directions, a country lane. A car came maybe every half an hour. I didn't have headphones or anything on. You think I could scurry across, right? No. The bus had to make a two mile detour to come around, and every day we would be late for school (the entire bus) and the twitchy bus driver always blamed it on me, on the "baby whose mommy won't let him cross the street by herself." And there was no END to the bullying I got for that. The eighth graders were all SO mad because every day they would get a lunch detention (school policy) - it was ridiculous. I used to get so nervous that I would start throwing up on the bus in the mornings - yup, more bullying ensued. It was nightmarish. And when I begged, pleaded, cried to my mother to LET me CROSS the dang street... She laughed at me and said she was the mother and I was just the kid. That she "knew" I was lost in my own world (her words) and I couldn't be trusted to LOOK to see if there was a car coming. OMG. You could HEAR a car half a mile away there! But, no.. apparently I was too lost in my own world. She "knew" this about me. Yeah right.

I also had my privacy invaded constantly etc, like the previous posters... journals read, purses rummaged through, room "cleaned" - and I never did anything "bad" even in secret. It was just, ugh. Come on.
post #50 of 119
Just pointing out...I think there's a huge difference between reserving the right to monitor your young teen's (we are talking a 13-year-old here, not an 18-year-old) internet usage and rummaging through purses and reading journals. Further, I would hope that any reasonable parent would hear a child's plea of avoiding bullying and work for a solution satisfying to all. Again, deciding that your child isn't quite ready for the responsibility of Facebook isn't really comparable to not allowing a middle schooler to cross the street.
post #51 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChampagneBlossom View Post
My mom would accuse me of doing drugs when I never had, of having sex, of drinking... she had "proof" of all these things but it was ridiculous because I never did them!
Been there, experienced that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldingoddess View Post
I think you are being very strict with your 13 year old.

He will rebel in every way he can if you do not give him space and let him set some of his own boundaries.

If you were my parent I would freak out too.

Not long ago we were living more uncivilized lives and 13 year old boys were certainly exposed to sex, violence, birth, death, all that good stuff. Violence is important for boys it helps them connect with their warrior self.

Your son will probably be trying drugs and having sex in the next few years anyways, are you sure you want to alienate him so much right now? because chances are he won't come to you when he needs advising.
Agreed that it's important for boys to connect with their 'warrior self'. I like that term.

But I strenuously disagree that anyone's son will 'probably' be trying drugs and having sex in the next few years anyway.
post #52 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
If he were writing letters to someone would you read the ones he sent and received? Do you pick up the phone so you can listen to what is happening on the other end of his phone calls? Do you sit with him and his friends so you can hear what they are talking about when they are around?

It sounds like he might need a little privacy.
My mother did all of the above up to when I left home at 18. Our relationship has never recovered from it. I will NEVER violate my daughters' privacy in that way under the guise of "protecting" them.
post #53 of 119
I have to agree that things seem rather strict. I don't parent that way. And it certainly is possible that being so strict will drive (or has already driven) a wedge into the relationship. I hope that doesn't happen, though, because you, OP, sound like a loving, caring parent who wants what is best for your kids.

FWIW, my kids also tell me I am much too strict. My 15 yo daughter has no curfew, schools herself at home, has unlimited internet access (unsupervised), her own cell phone with no restrictions, doesn't have to do chores if she doesn't want to, watches whatever she wants on TV, cuts and dyes her own hair whatever way she wants, pierced her own lip, eats what she wants to when she wants to eat it, etc etc. and she STILL tells me I'm too strict.
post #54 of 119
I think some of the responses I've read are ridiculous. Having moral values and parenting principles does NOT make you authoritative and does NOT mean your child will grow up to rebel against you, become a heroin addict and live in a cardboard box.

My parents were an interesting combination of overbearingly strict and ridiculously lenient. By the time I was 15 I had come across things online that damaged me for life. Having been allowed to choose my own films from about 11 on, I often chose dark comedies that I enjoy to this day. Whether they were approprite is something I'm still figuring out. I also chose scary and violent films that I watched with my friends and was and still am traumatized by the content. Our grandparents NEVER watched those kinds of films, why are they so prevalent now? Who NEEDS to watch people being sawed to bits or forced to amputate their legs or children being brutally killed? No one. And for sure not impressionable 13 year olds.

My two cents from having two 13-year-old siblings is that internet culture is prevalent and your child will likely sneak online. Knowing that their parent cares enough to set boundaries and ATTEMPT to enforce them is enough to help them not feel completely vulnerable though, typically. My parents giving me unquestioned internet access for unlimited amounts of time made me great at first and then, when I was damaged, it made me feel like they didn't care enough to protect me when I was hurt so badly. That wasn't true and I know now that they just had no idea what I could find out there.

People are talking about listening in on phone calls and reading notes and letters from friends which I think is extreme and almost never necessary but that is not what you were talking about in the original post. Everything that you mentioned, OP, seems 100% reasonable to me, a very recent teenager.
post #55 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by robin4kids View Post
I think what parents need to remember now is that when they were 13, there was not the same level of technology. Movies were not as graphic. There was no facebook, or email. So yes we could all sit back and let our kids watch whatever they want, play whatever game they pleased.I however am confident that my children will try their best when they are on their own to make the best decisions, but I know there will be some mistakes. I think it is our job as adults to shield our kids till they are mature enough to handle things on their own.
When were you 13?

The year I was 13, IT (referenced above) was released on television. And I watched it, while I was babysitting. I was 13 in 1990, and I remember some quite graphic television and movies being available. What I remember about IT was that I found the movie so disjointed that I went and took the book out from the library to figure out the movie. I don't think that either watching IT or reading the book scarred me in any way.

No, there was no facebook or email. There were BBSs, which I was on . . . with my extremely slow modem . . . and in some ways there was fewer protection for kids on BBSs than on the Internet nowadays.
post #56 of 119
The more I think about it the more I am convinced it is not the rules (or lack of them per se) that is important - it is the intent, and relationships.

You may think it is Ok for most 13 year olds to watch Saw - I may not.

Last time I checked there was no rule book on who is right in these situations(and if you have one, can you loan it to me, please!?!)

What I do think matter is that you parent intentionally.

EX: let child watch saw because you genuinely believe a 13 year is capable of handling it, watch it with them, ask them about it, help them determine if this is something they find entertaining versus let them watch it because you can't be botherred parenting them

ex: do not let child watch saw. Explain reasons as much as necessary. Let them know you love them, you get that they do not agree with you, but the decision is coming from a place of concern. Offer alternatives to Saw. Talk about when and under what circumstances Saw might be allowed. versus do not let the watch Saw "because it is my house and I said so". Come off as controlling.

I think if adult children understand that parents had their best intentions growing up and made informed decsions to the best of ability, even if they made mistakes, they will forgive us
post #57 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
The more I think about it the more I am convinced it is not the rules (or lack of them per se) that is important - it is the intent, and relationships.

You may think it is Ok for most 13 year olds to watch Saw - I may not.

Last time I checked there was no rule book on who is right in these situations(and if you have one, can you loan it to me, please!?!)

What I do think matter is that you parent intentionally.

EX: let child watch saw because you genuinely believe a 13 year is capable of handling it, watch it with them, ask them about it, help them determine if this is something they find entertaining versus let them watch it because you can't be botherred parenting them

ex: do not let child watch saw. Explain reasons as much as necessary. Let them know you love them, you get that they do not agree with you, but the decision is coming from a place of concern. Offer alternatives to Saw. Talk about when and under what circumstances Saw might be allowed. versus do not let the watch Saw "because it is my house and I said so". Come off as controlling.

I think if adult children understand that parents had their best intentions growing up and made informed decsions to the best of ability, even if they made mistakes, they will forgive us
I love your post, I was just thinking something along the same lines, but just could not figure out how to word it thanks!

But also it’s about power and control, it’s hard for us to let it go, and it’s what they need for a smooth transition.
post #58 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie2 View Post
I love your post, I was just thinking something along the same lines, but just could not figure out how to word it thanks!

But also it’s about power and control, it’s hard for us to let it go, and it’s what they need for a smooth transition.
They do need us to let go. It is the ultimate goal after all - happy, healthy self-functioning adults.

I try to slowly let go. I do not think we do anyone any favours (and I am not saying anyone in specific is doing this) by letting go all at once when they turn 18. It is also important to listen to kids when they say they can handle more - it helps them to build confidence, and I think most of them thrive in knowing we trust them.

kathy
post #59 of 119
Good post, Kathy.
post #60 of 119
First I want to give a hug to the op b/c dang this is hard and there are some really intense responses.

I was raised very similarly to how you are raising your son and wow those were tough years. The thing that killed me was that I was a good kid! Then I became so angry with them and I felt so alienated from my peer group that i did start lying and then the cycle started. My friends who could sleep out wanted to go home to sleep in their own beds. All I wanted to do was stay out and party. I felt like I was missing out to the 'enth degree and I felt tortured. Yes that can be normal teenage feelings was that when I told my parents how they felt they poo-poo'd me telling me that was what being a teenager was all about. It was supposed to be full of angst. I was home last weekend and my mother just brought up how bad all of our relationships became. It got ugly....really ugly and took years and years for us to find common ground. They were just so condescending to me as a teen, like my feelings/ideas were important, valid or valuable b/c I was a kid and they were the parents. It was very disempowering. I am not saying this is what you are doing, but maybe you can move forward with an awareness of keeping respectful of his needs as he grows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
Can I make a few gentle suggestions? My two oldest kids are 18 and 15, and I remember having the same feelings as you describe here, and the same conversations. If I were to look back and do things a little differently (which I can do with The Littles) it'd be to do this:

Sit down and encourage your son to talk about this while you listen. Really listen. He's 13. He wants to feel like 'being a teenager' really matters for something. He wants to feel like he has some control over his life. So REALLY listen to him. Don't just pacify his frustration while you wait to justify your rules and restrictions, but take a few notes on what he is saying and wanting to change. Let him know you'll look over and consider his ideas. Then give it some genuine thought and a few days to chew it over. You might find that he's not wanting things that are totally unreasonable. Maybe he wants a later bedtime. Would it kill either you or him to allow it to be moved a bit? Probably not. Maybe he wants more freedom with media choices. What would be the harm in installing some protective software that blocks inappropriate (sex/violence) sites and backing off on the reading of the email? ITA w/the pp...I doubt you listen in on his phone calls, this is the same concept. As for Facebook, it's genuinely something TONS of 13yos have and use to communicate with one another, so what good is it accomplishing to forbid that specific thing? As for the cell phone, would you consider it if he pays for it himself?

I do understand and totally get the concept of wanting to shield them from the unpleasantness of this world. But he's growing up, and the fact that he's complaining means he's frustrated with the current state of things. I'm not suggesting you just wipe out all of your rules, but consider involving him in the process of making them. Getting him on board as a team player in the family NOW, as opposed to just a cast member, will pay dividends later down the road as he 'grows into' his personality and ambitions.

HTH mama, these teens are an adventure!
You sound like the best mom!

Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post
I just saw this from teh main page, and I wanted to say that this is NOT the worst that could happen. I didnt' read all teh replies, but I grew up with parents who were similarly strict (more so than you, i think but similar) and it alienated me from my peers. To this day I cannot name 5 peoplle from my childhood with whom i am close. When they went to the movies, I had to stay home because the movie was pg-13, or it ended at 9 PM, or or or. It was very frustrating and led to a lot of resentment on my part.

I am not saying to just let your ds do whateve eh wants, but rather to please listen to what he is saying and take him seriosuly. i know psoters here say that every kid uses the "so and so's mom lets him" line and that is true, but it could be that your ds feels left out because more and more, your restrictions are holding him back socially. Those restrictions,and constant monitoring and general "babying" for lack of a better word, left me feeling helpless and trapped, and I did indeed run out the door without looking back when I turned 18. i was married to an abuser by 19 and am STILL reeling from THAT decision.

Please don't ignore your ds, is all I'm saying. Give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he can ahndle (not compeltely, but just a little) It can feel overwhelming an smothering to have a parent who CONSTANTLY keeps tabs on everything you do and is stillholdingall teh control as a teenager.
I really identified with your post.
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