Teenage Problems/Father son tension
Our 18 year old son will be graduating from high school in a few weeks. His father feels like our son is acting very detached and doesn't seem to appreciate how much we have given him. My husband has gone so far as to say that he doesn't feel like our son even likes him. I dont see things that way but there are times when neither one them appears to be trying very hard. My son keeps saying "I am18 and I should be able to stay out longer and have more freedoms. My husband feels like this behavior is just another way for our son to say that everything my husband has ever stood for is wrong. This tension between the two of them causes me a lot of anxiety. We have always been a close family but this tension is new and I don't think it is something that I can fix. What advice do you have? Neither one of them are very flexible in their thinking and I can see them both get defensive when they talk.
Thank you for this great question. I am sorry you are going through this. There are unique things to every conflict, but there are some general principles I can share from my experience that may help you some.
1. Your husband and son are going through a natural tension that happens when an adolescent wants to be an adult. They start flapping their wings within then nest... and soon they become beg enough that there is no longer room in the nest for them to flap without leaving. So your son wants disparately to be a man and to be viewed as such.
2. Your husband on the other hand is afraid to let your son go and make big boy mistakes with big boy consequences. He also is taking all this way too personally... this is not about him... this is about the evolution of adult freedom and responsibility.
3. The best way to help with the transition is to give more freedom with more responsibility. The more he pays his own way, the more freedom he has. The more he misuses the freedom, the less freedom he has.
Galatians 6:7–9 (AV)
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
4. Set some non negotiable house rules... ones that you and your husband follow as well...dealing with things like drugs, alcohol, and church attendance. You may also want to set a room and board fee. Give him the option to live with you as an adult, or move out as an adult... no hard feelings.
I have 4 adult children ages 19-25... I know the frustration and fear when they start to stretch their wings. My advice is to let them flap, but if it is too much... they have to flap outside of the nest... it is a natural process.
I hope that this helps you.