April 17, 2008,
A.J. asks from Columbus, OH on April 13, 2008
Need Advice 17Yr. Old Son W/ Girlfriend
I'm having a very hard time with my 17 year old son, Steven. He's had the same girlfriend, Chasity, for over 2 years!! This in itself, is too much for me, because he's much too serious, to be so young.
My son, before meeting her, played all sports and had his future sights on going into the Marines, when he graduated.
Now.... He plays no sports and says the service is not for him. He wants to be with her constantly, which I know is normal, when you think your in love.
I have talked to him several times about his future and have accepted that this may even lead to marriage. I have explained to him that without a college education or some kind of training, getting a good job to raise a family is impossible. He just doesn't take anything I say to heart. I'm sooo worried about him.
Now... A little bit about her.... She's sooo weird! She doesn't talk to anyone. She comes over and sits in his room, and doesn't speak to anyone but Steven. I understand that she is shy, but after over 2 years, she's still this way! I know she is bossy with him as well. My daughter has told me some of the things she hears her tell my son. Steven also told my mom that Chasity isn't able to work, because she has severe problems with the public! On that note, her family is as weird as she is. I have helped her mom out tremendously over the past year, because she's a single mother, with 3 kids. We let them live in one of our houses for over 4 months, rent free. Not even a thank you from her! I have let Chasity live with us for a few months as well, when they had no where to go. Everyone... even his friends, talk about how weird she is. But, it doesn't faze him.
A marine came and spoke with Steven a few months ago. I thought this would maybe get him thinking again... It did nothing.
They are very good kids. He met her at church and they go to church twice a week together. But, this is not the problem. I know I could possibly have it worse with some dingy little girl. But, at this point, I would almost prefer this...
He will be 18 in December, and I'm really terrified. Seems when a boy turns 18, they think they're free, from all the men I've spoke to. I have told Steven many times that until he graduates, he will stay home. But, that doesn't change the fact that I am losing the control.
I'm sorry if I sound flighty. I'm just trying to get in as much information as possible, and would love any advice!
N.S. answers from Columbus on April 13, 2008
This is a tough situation. My hubby has 3 boys from a previous marriage. Two of them are grown and live on their own. Both lived with us when they were your son's age. I think you will have to re-think this situation b/c you are going to loose control over this situation sooner or later. You don't mention whether you go to church or not or what your believes are in that aspect but if you are a Christian, I would first of all get on my hands and knees and pray for Steven and his girlfriend. I would ask for wisdom h/t handle this situation. I believe that you need to come up with a plan to coax your son's girlfriend out of her shell and not look at her as weird. You don't know what hard times or trauma she has been through in her life that she would be so terrified of other people. I would also recommend that at this point you try to prepare your son for the "real world" by guiding him. How does your son learn? By hearing, seeing or doing it himself? Start teaching him about finances in a practical way. Get work books or some type of tools that would make sense to him. If your son and his girlfriend are going to church together then teach them how to pray together and how to do devotions together. Teach them h/t communicate with each other. Start investing in their foundation. Because if this relationship will lead to marriage, then give them tools for a good foundation now. Start to take a serious interest in her. Find out who she really is. There is nothing wrong with you asking her and Steven to have some ice cream with you after dinner. Just you and the two of them b/c maybe she doesn't want to hang out with the rest of your family. If Steven is not fazed by what other people say, then neither should you be. Find out what he sees in her. There is a diamond in everybody, we just have to dig for it sometimes. I can also tell you that my husband's boys - to this day - love it when their dad and I do things together. They love the "community". Maybe you, your husband, your son and his girlfriend could go out to dinner some time or to a movie or bowling or something. I have the hunch that when you start to support your son in this relationship with his girlfriend and you start to be interest in her (not in helping her), your son will open up more to you and maybe start to receive the things you have to say. Most of all though (and I wrote this before), start praying for the two of them and ask God for wisdom h/t handle this situation.
J.C. answers from Fort Wayne on April 14, 2008
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do. The more you try to give him advice, the more he's going to shut you out. Since he's almost 18, he probably feels like he is old enough to make his own decisions about everything, and doesn't look at it as you being wiser than he. My brother was absolutely nuts with partying at that age, and no matter what we tried to do, he just blew us off. He joined the army to have a purpose in life, and after deciding he wanted out, he, in his lost mind, "staged" a suicide attempt. They let him out after a psych evaluation, and then he decided the best thing for him would be to sell everything he owned, drive out west with his pitbull, and find someone to let him live off his land for a year because he wanted to "escape" from society for awhile. The reason I'm bringing these things up to you is because even when he was throwing these completely OFF THE WALL things out there at us, there was still nothing at all that we could do. Believe me, I tried. The only person who didn't have the personality type to fight his weird ideas was my mother. And I'll tell you what, for years and years, he really counted on her because she always stood by him. I would get so mad at her, but in the end, her getting mad wouldn't have made a distance, and throughout the whole thing, she was always his constant in his life. As far as me, our sister, and our dad go though, he thought he had all the answers, and wasn't about to let anyone have a say in his life. Guys are just different than girls. They mature a lot later for the most part, but yet get all of the adult freedom at the same time as girls. So, it's kinda like a little kid in a candy store with no adults around. As hard as it was for us, we just had to let him go. We just prayed that he would grow up soon, and realize that what he was doing with his life was totally absurd. He's now 29, and just got married for the second time, has a second child on the way, and his wife is wonderful (a very pleasant surprise to all of us)! My brother still has things about him that prove he's got the maturity level of an 18 year old, but atleast he has a good life now. Even now, 10 years after the weird army and out west thing, I still don't hold my breath with him. I mean, he's still messing up his life all the time. I mean only a year ago, he had a girl knocked up, 9 years younger than him (his current wife now though) before he was even divorced! As a matter of fact, he asked her to marry him while he was still married. Now, don't get scared, there were drugs involved with my brother's downward spiral, but atleast you get the picture of how much you really cannot help them. They really do need to learn everything on their own, including those mistakes that you see coming like a freight train. If your son and his girlfriend are not meant to be together, he will figure that out. The best you can do is always be there for him when he needs you. The more you lay off of him with stuff you disagree with, the more likely he is to keep you involved and to come to you when things go bad. He won't be as likely to if you are negative about stuff all along because the last thing we all want to subject ourselves to is a big "I told you so". Even if it isn't said, it's still something that he will be aware of because eventually he'll be ashamed he didn't listen to you in the first place.
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J.F. answers from Toledo on April 14, 2008
Though my kids are not nearly as old as your son, I can tell you from my own experience that the best thing you can do is to back off. I don't mean to sound harsh, so let me explain. Think back to when you were 17. Granted, times were different then, and standards of behavior were different, but the concept has remained the same. When you're 17, the last thing you want to hear is what your parents think. The more you put in you opinion on what you think he should be doing with his life at this point, the more he is going to do the exact opposite. Remember, at 17, you know everyting and your parents know nothing. He has to make the mistakes so that he can learn from them, and the best thing you can do is to be there to help pick up the pieces (if he wants your help). I know you only want whats best for you son, and that is what makes you a wonderful mother. He, on the other hand, does not see it that way. All he sees is that you are trying to control his life, which is going to make him rebel even more.
S.L. answers from Cincinnati on April 14, 2008
Hi A., I too live in Amelia, boy, can we talk. I have a 22yr old that has been with his girlfriend 3yrs. They are way to serious also, if you read mamasource postings you will see I have a problem with the girlfriend always here eating dinner anyway. I feel your pain and all I can tell you is the more you say about your sons girlfriend to him the more he will stay with her. Start setting some rules down, like they have to spend more time in the family room when she is over and not so much time in his room. Start going places with them like movies, church functions ect.. maybe you need to break the ice with her. I personally was never shy but, maybe thats what she needs.As far as 17yr old boys go you know what there thinking 24 7. Good luck and keep us posted.
D.W. answers from Jacksonville on April 14, 2008
I have a 21 year old brother who started dating his girlfriend when he was 19 and she was still in HS. My brother and I have ALWAYS been very close and I didn't like her AT ALL.
Her family things were always WAY more important and when she did come around she didn't socialize much with us.
My brother knew I didn't like her and after they had been dating for a while, not many people in my family did either.
My brother joined the Marines about a year after they started dating and she tried her hardest to keep him from it.
I, personally, prayed and prayed and prayed that he would come to his senses and get rid of her! Her family has lots of money and she has never had to work...she's 18 now.
My brother's life is 235435X better since he's joined the Marines. He's met SO many new people and he's now going to be working on the presidents helicopter for the next 3 years!
After he found out this news (about 2 month ago) his gf started talking about marriage. That's when it hit him!! He broke up with her for the 10th (seemed like) and FINAL time (hopefully).
I say, just give your son time. my family thought we were gonna be stuck with her.
Since your son was once interested in the military, try to encourage it. The military is GREAT. My husband is in the Navy and there are SO many opportunities including schooling, especially for a single guy!
Praying and waiting worked for us! Good luck!
C.S. answers from Columbus on April 14, 2008
Talk to him. Ask him what kind of person he sees himself with. Maybe he will come to his own conclusion that he wants more. Sounds like he is trying to nurture her, which makes him a nice person, but doesn't obligate him to care for her indefinitely. Is there any way to get him around other girls, maybe through a summer program of some sort? He is still young enough to take classes to gain life skills.
S.J. answers from Cincinnati on April 17, 2008
I wish he could ask other kids his age about being a dad at 17. It is an awful thing to happen, the parents on both sides suffer, the kids suffer, because they are kids with a kid, and the child suffers also. My son and our families have gone though this trauma. We don't ever get to see his daughter, her name was changed, and he was taken off anything he signed at 16. It's just not good. I wouldn't suggest anyone join a service to get away. Not the way the world is today but they need to see other people and they will see its just what they think is love and it won't last. Maybe she will go on to college because then it will stop after about 4 months. But tell him to be sure and watch what he does and not trust her on birth control. Make sure he protects himself. My sons ex girlfriend said she was safe. She thought if she had a kid she would keep him forever but life is not that way. hope this helps But no matter what you say it won't be right you know.
Its best you just remind him to protect himself from fatherhood and let it go. It will take care of itself, one or the other will see life differently as time goes on. Let God do your worring for you. Trust Him to take care of it. Remember your son is responsible after you have talked to him. He know the right way and let it go but not so far to where he thinks you don't care. Be sure and tell him your telling him this because you love and care about his future. Just kind of let it ride because the more you say the more he will listen to her. But be sure and ask your son to pray to God for his future and help.
J.H. answers from Indianapolis on April 14, 2008
When I was a teenager and early out of college the more my parents told me that person wasn't for me the more I rebelled against their feelings. My best advise is communication and love. And the very best thing you can do is pray and give it to God because he is in control and wow that is one of the hardest things to do!