My only son is 15 and he seems to want to do his own thing in his own time. He is not listening to me when I say he is out too late and spending time too far away from home with goodness knows who.
My husband works away for months so I feel that I am the only influence on him at the moment. His dad is easy-going and only wants to talk about and play football when he is home. Our son loves this as he looks up to his dad. My husband says the discipline is up to me as I am the one to enforce it. I feel this is unfair as he gets to look like the hero and I am the one who spoils my son’s fun.
It’s understandable that your son wants to have some independence at this age but there is his safety and welfare to consider, not to mention your peace of mind. The key to achieving a happy medium starts with communication and both of you listening to each other.
Explain to your son you are happy he is finding his feet and are not out to ruin his fun, but there needs to be some kind of structure and boundaries. If you tell him that being mature involves respecting this, you may get a better response. It may be an idea to ask his friends round for pizza and a movie so you can meet them without appearing disapproving. Ask your husband to use some of the football time when he is at home to talk to your son about respecting his mum and the ground rules. Even though he works away, he should be united with you in what you expect as parents and back you up. Discipline is not just a there and then issue.
Our kids are 16-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. The difficulty their mother and I have come across recently is the curfew times for them. Our son wants to come in at 11.30pm at weekends and so does his sister, even though most of her friends have to be home earlier. We feel it is acceptable for him but too late for her. We realise this may come across as unfair to her and that our son will not appreciate coming home earlier. What would be a fair way to sort this out?
This can be a difficulty when you have twins of different genders. The best way to deal with it sensitively is to talk to your children and see if they are aware of where you are coming from. They may surprise you.
If they have the same circle of friends, they could come home together for added security, with a compromise on times. You may feel your daughter is more vulnerable but perhaps you should give them the same curfew of 11pm and see how that goes. If your daughter sees it as her and her brother looking out for each other, but he tells his friends and himself he’s walking his sister home at 11pm as a good deed, they may accept it and not feel hard done by.
• Pauline Nimmo is a registered family mediator and contact centre manager at Relationships Scotland, South Lanarkshire
If you are affected by any of the issues in Lifelines and require further advice, contact Relationships Scotland (www.relationships-scotland.org.uk)
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