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#1 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday, I reminded my 15-year-old son his dad was not going to be home until late. I then asked him if he had swim practice. I reminded him I needed to know so I could arrange a ride.

He said no swim practice.

But He did have a swim meeting -- he didn't tell me that.

Since I did not know, he had a meeting and could not ride the bus home. I did not find him a ride. I work from 1-10 pm and we have only one car. Therefore, there is no way I could have just left and got him. I was working and could not find him a ride. Even at that, our back up rides need more than 5 minutes notice in non-emergencies.

He is 15, not 5. He ended up walking 5 miles home.

He is still grumbling. I do not feel sorry. If he would have told me in the morning he would needed a ride I could have arranged one.

His argument is I asked if he had a swim practice. He did not have a practice, he had a meeting and those are two different things.

My opinion if he wants to ignore part of the conversation and not put two and two together he is going to miss many things. This time he missed a ride and had to walk. Next time?? Who knows but he really needs to pay attention. I could see it if I had not told him that he dad was not going to be able to pick him up. I could see it if I had not mention I would need to arrange for a ride.

********

Actually, this paying attention thing is on my last nerve. Our friends move the Halloween party from one home to the next. This year was our turn. This was decided last Halloween (we are new to the group). We had talked about, planned, ET for a year. Three days before he had no clue, it was as if we mentioned the party for the first time. We know we have discussed it with him and around him. He just did not pay attention.
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#2 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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I probably would, but I am Canadian, and it is just what we do! But I wouldn't do it in a way that puts the responsibility on you, just in a way that validates his feelings of frustration.

"I'm sorry that you had to walk home last night, but you know that I can't arrange rides for you at the last minute when I am working and Dad isn't home. What can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again?"

And then work together to find an answer. He isn't 5, but he isn't 35 either. Responsibility and organization are learned behaviours, and I don't think most 15-year-old boys are experts in either. Is there a schedule printed in advance? Can he get one from his coach? Do you have a big calendar where you can write down where everyone has to be?

I think that once he gets passed his anger this will be a good learning experience for him.

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#3 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The schedule that is printed is not correct. That is why I asked him.

This is the end of the season. They have had to do some schedule change because of pool issues.

I like how you said to validate his feelings. I will admit I have not done that. I am really annoyed with him right now.
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#4 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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And then work together to find an answer. He isn't 5, but he isn't 35 either. Responsibility and organization are learned behaviours, and I don't think most 15-year-old boys are experts in either. Is there a schedule printed in advance? Can he get one from his coach? Do you have a big calendar where you can write down where everyone has to be?

I think that once he gets passed his anger this will be a good learning experience for him.
This.

Has he always been this "black and white" kind of person? Or is his literal thinking something new?

I still don't think it's something I would "apologize" for...he is 15 afterall.
IMO, I don't think you own any fault on this one.

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#5 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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Does he have a planner? He is old enough to keep track of practices, appts, meetings, etc. in a planner. Then when you ask him if he has anything after school, he can look in it and tell you what's going on.

I would apologize that he feels hurt by the situtaion but ask him to acknowledge what he could have done differently and remind him that he old enough to handle the responsibility of letting you know when he will need a ride home regardless of the semantics of the question you ask when trying to determine what he is doing after school.

A big wall calendar might help too, as the PP suggested. We don't have teens- just me, my partner, and a small child, but we keep track of appointments, social engagements, chores etc. on dry-erase boards where everyone has access to them.
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#6 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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personally I hate apologies with a "but" in it. To *me* that indicates that a person is not truly sorry for their actions but instead want to push it on you.

He is pissed becuase deep down he knows it is his fault he had to walk home. So I do like the idea of validating his feelings.

I would ackowledge his anger and then let it go.

(oh and I would be uber annoyed too!)

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#7 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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"I'm sorry you didn't think things through.. that must suck" Probably isn't the apology he was hoping for.
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#8 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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No, I wouldn't apologize. Five miles isn't a bad walk, in any case, unless it's through a dangerous area. He'll think next time.

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#9 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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I've walked 5miles home before when I've made a mistake. And, I didn't make that mistake again!!

I would let it go, he'll get over it pretty soon.
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#10 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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Dealing with grumpy teens isn't fun, is it?

I agree with everyone who says you should validate his feelings, but I wouldn't apologize. You tried to avoid the problem, asked him directly about his schedule and reminded him that a ride might need to be arranged.

You shouldn't apologize for working, or having one car, or not being able to read his mind (even if you are a mom and it's expected, lol!). Having to walk home is a natural consequence of not being organized and not paying attention.

It's a learning opportunity. Agree with him that it's too bad there was a communication problem. Talk to him about how to avoid it in the future. Ask him to come up with some solutions.

Hopefully, the memory of the 5 mile walk will motivate him to take a little more responsibility for communication and organization. If you assume that responsibility instead, you're cheating him of a growth experience.

Good luck (as mom to 2 teens, I have a lot of sympathy)!
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#11 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
Yesterday, I reminded my 15-year-old son his dad was not going to be home until late. I then asked him if he had swim practice. I reminded him I needed to know so I could arrange a ride.

He said no swim practice.

But He did have a swim meeting -- he didn't tell me that.

Since I did not know, he had a meeting and could not ride the bus home. I did not find him a ride. I work from 1-10 pm and we have only one car. Therefore, there is no way I could have just left and got him. I was working and could not find him a ride. Even at that, our back up rides need more than 5 minutes notice in non-emergencies.

He is 15, not 5. He ended up walking 5 miles home.

He is still grumbling. I do not feel sorry. If he would have told me in the morning he would needed a ride I could have arranged one.

His argument is I asked if he had a swim practice. He did not have a practice, he had a meeting and those are two different things.

My opinion if he wants to ignore part of the conversation and not put two and two together he is going to miss many things. This time he missed a ride and had to walk. Next time?? Who knows but he really needs to pay attention. I could see it if I had not told him that he dad was not going to be able to pick him up. I could see it if I had not mention I would need to arrange for a ride.

********

Actually, this paying attention thing is on my last nerve. Our friends move the Halloween party from one home to the next. This year was our turn. This was decided last Halloween (we are new to the group). We had talked about, planned, ET for a year. Three days before he had no clue, it was as if we mentioned the party for the first time. We know we have discussed it with him and around him. He just did not pay attention.
I don't see what you would apologize for:
"I'm sorry I didn't read your mind and arrange a ride for you..."
His needing to walk home was his own fault. At 15 he is perfectly aware enough to know what you meant when asking him about practice.
My mom used to get so mad at me for stuff like this. It taught me to "anticipate" consequences of my carelessness. It also taught me that I have to start relying on myself a bit instead of expecting my mom to arrange and fix everything for me.
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#12 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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I would say "I'm sorry you had to walk. I don't like it either. What can we do to make sure it doesn't happen again". You are not saying that you're sorry you didn't pick him up, and you are not saying "it stinks to be you", you are saying you don't like this situation either and are willing to help find a solution.

My daughter, and my husband too, have ADD. I can't punish them for something they really can't help. Is it possible that his inattention is not selective?
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#13 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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#14 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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I don't think it's fair for him to displace his anger on you. I would not apologize and instead emphasize it was his responsibility to communicate his schedule which he failed to do.

Validating feelings is fine, but the displacement and projection onto you would bug me. People who displace and project are sometimes not very good friends or partners and I, personally, would want to nip that dynamic in the bud.

I used to tutor a kid who was brilliant but had terrible dyslexia and didn't want to do the work to compensate for it. Every single one of his mistakes, he blamed on me. I was just a 'dumb tutor'. I had to bite my tongue and refrain from saying 'in corporate America I chewed up and spit out people like you. The only reason you're getting away with this behavior is because I'm just a tutor and you're just a kid, but try this crap when you're 18 and working for me to see how far it gets you.' It was unpleasant to work with him and he would become upset when I politely showed him how he made the mistake.

ETA: My student behaved the same way with their mom. She actually apologized and took responsibility for things like forgetting her kid's workbook in the other room. And he would yell at her and blame her for things he should be able to handle himself. It was ugly.

Anyway, you know your kid, so take all this with a grain of salt, but in summary, no apology and some frank discussion of how it's not healthy to evade personal responsibility by blaming everyone around you.

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#15 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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I agree that I don't think there is anything for you to apologize for. I think a 15 year old is able to start taking responsibility for some of these things. You asked him if he would need for you to arrange a ride and he said no. It sucks that he had to walk (I remember a few times as a teen where I would have to find public transportation to get home because of the same thing), but hopefully it'll be a learning experience.

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#16 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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Lots of good advice here! I'll just add that I don't think you should phrase it as "What should we do to keep this from happening again?" but rather, "What can you do?" Seems like splitting hairs but it really does make a difference. This is a great opportunity to help him enable himself.

And don't over-think it.

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#17 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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I wouldn't apologize, but I would express to him that I understand his feelings and frustration. He is old enough to take responsibility, and you are not at fault.

I like the idea of discussing how the two of you can prevent this from happening again.. He is 15- this is a good lesson to learn, even if he doesn't get it

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#18 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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Wow. I really have sympathy on both sides for this. On the one hand, yes, I feel like a 15yo is old enough to keep track of his own schedule and let you know when he needs a ride--you should not have to read his mind that he'd need a ride. On the other hand, he's right, you didn't ask "Will you need a ride home?" but "Do you have practice?"--he should not have to read your mind that you were asking if he needed a ride.

Now, if he's "playing dumb" to get you to take responsibility for something he's plenty old enough for, that's one thing, but if he really did hear your words, interpret them literally and answer honestly ... it might be worth apologizing for your own lack of clarity. I wouldn't personally apologize that he had to walk home, though, as he knew he wouldn't have a ride and didn't ask for one.

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#19 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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"I'm sorry you didn't think things through.. that must suck" Probably isn't the apology he was hoping for.
That's the apology he deserves.
He's old enough to know what you were asking--did he need a ride.

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#20 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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Wow. I really have sympathy on both sides for this. On the one hand, yes, I feel like a 15yo is old enough to keep track of his own schedule and let you know when he needs a ride--you should not have to read his mind that he'd need a ride. On the other hand, he's right, you didn't ask "Will you need a ride home?" but "Do you have practice?"--he should not have to read your mind that you were asking if he needed a ride.
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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
Yesterday, I reminded my 15-year-old son his dad was not going to be home until late. I then asked him if he had swim practice. I reminded him I needed to know so I could arrange a ride.
OP: No. I wouldn't apologize. That's so completely ridiculous. The fact that he's upset with you would really bother me if he weren't 15. However, I do know that kind of totally bizarre reaction is fairly common at that age, and he'll probably outgrow it.

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#21 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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"I'm sorry you didn't think things through.. that must suck" Probably isn't the apology he was hoping for.
Yeah that's probably akin to any apology he'd get over here. If you HADN'T pointed out that you would need to arrange a ride home for him if he had after school activities it would be different and I could actually grant him some leeway on this one. But, well, you did point it out and he spaced it and that really must suck for him.
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#22 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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My son is only twelve and is starting to do things like that. I can ask him a question but since I didn't ask him in a particular way then I may not get the right answer. I don't think you have anything to apologize for and it will probably make him think it through next time.
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#23 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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Any chance of a "I'm sorry we had a miscommunication and that meant you had no ride. Let's try to figure out how we can keep this from happening again." kind of talk?
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#24 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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I wouldn't apologize, but I would express to him that I understand his feelings and frustration. He is old enough to take responsibility, and you are not at fault.

I like the idea of discussing how the two of you can prevent this from happening again.. He is 15- this is a good lesson to learn, even if he doesn't get it
That exactly.
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#25 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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He's 15, why can't he arrange his own ride home? Was there nobody on the team he could have asked to give him a ride?
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#26 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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He didn't tell you that he needed a ride.

He didn't take the initiative and tell his friends that he needed a ride.

He walked 5 miles home.

5 miles isn't gonna kill a kid on swim team. It might even help with his endurance .

He suffered the natural consequence of his failure to communicate with you.

That being said, I would say that I was sorry he had to walk home, and work with him on a plan for him to communicate his schedule better so you can avoid this.

Have y'all tried something like Google Calendar? It's what dh and I use to keep our schedules in order. I have one for work (that dh can see, so that he doesn't ask me to do things during times when I teach), and we have one for the family. Dh also has a work one, that he doesn't share with me because 99% of the time it's irrelevant. When dh has a meeting that will impact me, he puts it in the family calendar. (Each person's calendar is a different color too, which helps.)

I like it because if dh puts his meetings in the calendar, then I know to be home. If he forgets, then he's responsible for organizing child care. You could work out something with your son. If the event is in the calendar at least 48 hours in advance, you'll work out transportation. If it's not, that's his job.

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#27 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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I'd laugh in his face. And then apologize for that as in "I'm sorry it was mean to laugh, but seriously dude, I ASKED if you had practice, get over it."
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#28 of 50 Old 11-04-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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Dealing with grumpy teens isn't fun, is it?

I agree with everyone who says you should validate his feelings, but I wouldn't apologize. You tried to avoid the problem, asked him directly about his schedule and reminded him that a ride might need to be arranged.

You shouldn't apologize for working, or having one car, or not being able to read his mind (even if you are a mom and it's expected, lol!). Having to walk home is a natural consequence of not being organized and not paying attention.

It's a learning opportunity. Agree with him that it's too bad there was a communication problem. Talk to him about how to avoid it in the future. Ask him to come up with some solutions.

Hopefully, the memory of the 5 mile walk will motivate him to take a little more responsibility for communication and organization. If you assume that responsibility instead, you're cheating him of a growth experience.

Good luck (as mom to 2 teens, I have a lot of sympathy)!

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#29 of 50 Old 11-05-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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heck no I would not apologize. I would also tell my kid to stop whining and carrying on and that if they want to be in afterschool activities it is their job to get it all together and keep it organized. honestly if my kids talked to me like that it would be the end of that activity. You shouldn't have to ask him if he needs a ride nor should you have to play guessing games or go though a list of possible reasons he may need a ride. It is his responsibility to come to you and say "I have this tonight, how can I get there and back? Can you help me figure something out?" and the whole blaming you for his failings is definitely something I would address if it were my kid. he is 15. not five. Not that I would accept that sort of whining and not taking responsibility from my 5 year old either.

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#30 of 50 Old 11-05-2009, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

His argument is I asked if he had a swim practice. He did not have a practice, he had a meeting and those are two different things.
When my kid says stuff like this, generally what's going on is that she knows she screwed up and is feeling stupid about it, and is irrationally blaming me because she is trying to hold on to her own shreds of self-esteem. It's hard to be a teen sometimes, because making stupid mistakes than an adult would sort of shrug off can feel really huge, and admitting one's own stupidity also feels huge.

So, yeah. I wouldn't apologize, but I would be sympathetic. If my kid was really locked into wanting me to apologize and admit that I was wrong I would disengage from that by sort of restating that I don't feel that it was my responsibility to prevent the situation but I realize that this was a tough afternoon for her and I wish things had worked out differently. My kid would get over it in a day or so, usually, and then a few days later I might bring up ways of preventing future issues, but I'd wait until this was less fresh.

 
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