Thanksgiving Dilemma - Part 2

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by xsurfer, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. xsurfer

    xsurfer Parent

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    Thanks to all who replied to my first post. It seems to be the consensus if parents pay for trip home then son sleeps at home...which is of course what we think and what we want. So the real issue is that we wish this is what he wanted.

    Now, for the next issue. Let's hypothetically say that son does not like to be confined by parent's rules because parents are paying, so next time he makes sure he has his own money and can pay his own way, would any of you be bothered that your son would be coming to "town" but not staying at "home?" So, this becomes more of a family values issue and not an economic one.
     
  2. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    From your first post it sounds as if your kid is acting like a punk. He'll figure it out eventually. If he pays his way he should do what he wants to do. If he doesn't necessarily do what you wish he would (eat your turkey, spend time with his family, etc) you're going to have to learn to live with it. I liked taking trips to visit friends and going places for Spring Break, but it was nice to go home for the holidays. It was also cheaper. Give him time.
     
  3. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    marvin's right. He'll figure it out. But if he pays, he gets to do what he wants. Just be there, with your strong family values, all along. Sounds as if he needs to grow up a bit.
     
  4. GoNavyMom

    GoNavyMom Member

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    Hi,

    I am a firm believer in parental bribery and guilt.

    I would let my child know that I am hurt that he would rather stay at his girl friend's house then home.

    You know your child so you would know how far you can push an issue, before he will take it up. In this vein, I might agree that it would be fine for my child to stay at gfs house, but that he should plan to pay his own way home each and every other time he wants to come home after this time. My child would huff and puff at me and then realize how much it could potentially cost and would eventually see my way.

    Good Luck! I feel for you.

    GoNavyMom
     
  5. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    He just became an "adult". He will learn through mistakes as he is too stubborn to learn from his parents (as most teenagers are).

    If he wants to pay for his own trip next time, let him. It's nothing but words now, once he sees the hole it will leave in his wallet he will change his mind.
     
  6. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    GoNavyMom is spot on. Your son wants to see what he can get away with. Call his bluff.
     
  7. MJOmom

    MJOmom Member

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    I agree with others on this forum .... Do not be pushed around by your kid ... if he's old enough to sleep at/with a gf home, then he has the pink slip on his life, which means he pays. Will he pout or be snotty if you force the issue? Well, if he can't come home with a smile, it is time for him to be his own man .... Adult choices have consequences ... and costs ... both are his! And for his girlfriend to even want/insist he stay with her ... hmm, what does that say about either of them?
     
  8. usna2012mom

    usna2012mom Member

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    Yes this would bother me. I understand your pain. Your son does not seem to want to live by the values that you believe you have instilled in him. I would guess that they are probably there somewhere.

    Looking at this from his point of view: He is suddenly out of the house and 18 and is free to make adult decisions. Well choices have consequences. When you buy a ticket for GF to fly out, you might not have enough money left to go home for the holidays.

    I think I would tell my son that I am having trouble paying for his flight home so he can stay with GF. I would tell him that I will have to give this some thought. Let him think about it and consider the possiblility that you might not come through with the ticket.

    I would encourage you to stand by your values. He may be out of the house, but he is still learning from you.

    Good Luck.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Personally, this might seem off, but I would question the beliefs of the parents of the gf. What mother, would sit there and say, yep, bf can stay here even though the folks live 20 minutes away for a family holiday. It makes me question how they would feel if the roles were reversed. It is a big red warning sign going off in my head, and for that reason alone, I am with the others, but I have the Jersey girl in me, and I would take it a little bit further, and say to him, I am assuming we won't see you for Christmas either then? See how quickly the thought of no presents under the tree changes his mind.

    I would def feel differently if she lived in an another state and the expectation of a ring to becoming shortly, but if this is a matter of her folks are willing to be the Holiday Inn, then NO PASS.

    Bullet and I dated throughout our entire college career in 2 different states, but our hometown was the same. I never spent the night at his house for a holiday until we were engaged and to be married 6 days later. It was Xmas Eve, my family celebrates Xmas at midnight, which we were there for, his opens at 6 a.m., so we left my house at 2 a.m and went to his, but that was it. Christmas night I was back in my home!

    Eventually, he will have a mate and she may be it, but Thanksgiving is not like my Xmas experience. I would say to him. You are an adult, I am not going to demand your time, I understand that right now you want to see her more than us, but this is my line in the sand. If you are in town, you will sleep under my roof! Get up and go over at 6 a.m., come home at 1 a.m., but you will be brushing your teeth in the morning in your bathroom! You decide if it is really worth it to you to cross it. You do, than that is your choice, just don't expect me to be thrilled about it. If your DS is smart and if his gf is smart, they would both quickly realize that her stock value would drop because she also allowed him to hurt you by giving him a bed. AGAIN, that is the Jersey girl in me, and the one thing I know for sure, no child wants to be disliked by the parents of someone they love, because in the end that will be a problem, she will say your folks hate me, because as much as you will want to be loving, you will show it somehow that you are disappointed not only in him, but her for the pain she caused.

    The best thing you can do is lay it all out on how you emotionally feel. Don't hold back, and if it means knock down drag out, than so be it. AGain Jersey Mom!
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  10. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    I agree with all of this post, but this part in particular. While I can see my son in this position a year from now (he and GF have been dating for nearly 3 years now - since the middle of freshman year) - wanting to come home and spend time with her instead of us - and expecting us to pay for it, I just cannot in any way see her folks as being conducive to it! No way in the world I can imagine them allowing my son to spend the weekend there, even in the basement (they have a converted rec room), let alone sharing a bed! Both just the physical/sex side of it ("not in MY house," I can see them saying), but also from the family holiday side. I agree that if they're both 18 or so, this probably isn't for the rest of their lives, but if they can't consider your feelings now, when will they start?
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Why do they call cadets that enter with a bf or gf the 2% club? Because only 2% will end up marrying that person 4 yrs later. Not saying he won't, but I wouldn't take bets that he will!

    I am also glad that I was not the only one thinking the parents are wrong to give him shelter, when they are this young and you live in the same town. I would not contact the parents, but that Jersey Mom would let DS know I am not happy with her parents for allowing it...that's the way I play guilt, a subtle comment that will gnaw on their brain.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Nope it has nothing to do with the Marine Corps, because Bullet too would be the sledge hammer, but like you and your wife, I would hold him back and say let me handle this, and both of us would go that route.

    You have to admit, both options can work, but they work differently.

    Sledge hammer:
    My folks are horrible and said if I don't stay there they will not pay for my airline tickets for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
    Result: He stays at home and hates you.

    Gnaw:
    He calls girlfriend and asks are you sure your folks are okay, because I know my folks wouldn't be okay with you staying at our home? SHe says yes, they're fine with it. Hangs up the phone, and as he lies in bed, he keeps thinking about the fact that his folks wouldn't be, but would tell her they are, and the doubt of her folks starts creeping in.
    Result: He stays at home and realizes it is the best route. GF might hate you, but she'll get over it when he is there 18 hours out of the day.

    You need to throw the bone if he stays at home, and acknowledge her family is also celebrating T Day, so if it means, you eat earlier or later by an hour or so, or they only have dessert at your home, than so be it, because it is worth him at the table for whatever amount of time. That is the most important thing, don't lose site of that
     
  13. popeyesmom

    popeyesmom Member

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    Here is an alternative - my son's gf will be home from college as well at Thanksgiving....to solve some of the problem, we are having both families eat Thanksgiving Dinner and spend the day together. But no way, no how is he or she staying overnight at each other's homes. Momma isn't budging there! (Our families also live in the same town and are about 15 minutes apart.)
     
  14. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    Thanksgiving dinner with some odd family should be funny. A lot can happen once the wine and other happy juices get flowing in everyone's system. I don't know why these dumb kids and their girlfriends just don't go on overnight trips to a nearby city. I used the Friday/Saturday of Thanksgiving Break for that and it worked out fine.
     
  15. SteveHolt243

    SteveHolt243 Member

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    Spend a weekend off with the girlfriend in Annapolis, or a different break period. Odds are highly against her being the girlfriend by graduation anyways.
     
  16. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    As Usual I Find Myself With A Slghtly Contrary View ..

    XSurfer:

    RE: "Now, for the next issue. Let's hypothetically say that son does not like to be confined by parent's rules because parents are paying, so next time he makes sure he has his own money and can pay his own way, would any of you be bothered that your son would be coming to "town" but not staying at "home?" So, this becomes more of a family values issue and not an economic one."

    Not sure I understand how you resolved the first issue but here's my 2 cents - first I agree with the philosophy if I'm paying I have a say in this and you'll stay at our house ... and no she can't spend the night...

    On the point of what about next time - first I generally jump off each bridge when I get there but 1) yes he might indeed do that and 2) yes i'd be hurt.

    That said I'd understand, while these folks are indeed just 18 years old, they are being trained to be independent and resourceful. In a year, or two, or three they could just as easily find themselves responsible for a platoon, in a hostile environment, half a world away. So I tend to cut DS a fair amount of slack when he pushes the envelope and trys to feel his oats. As such, if at some later time he needed a hand and was willing to understand "I pay I set the limits" - then I'd still make that option avaialable - no threats or guilt trips - they wouldn't work on him anyway, but even if they did, they'd make it harder for me to maintain my preferred role of parent and refuge. While it's understandable that an 18 YO male wants to "hook up" with his GF when he's home, I don't need to know about it and my wife wouldn't want then openly say walking in the front door and going up to his room to do so. I'd think pointing out that 1) he needs to respect you and your wife as fellow adults, just as he wants you to treat him likewise; 2) as far as confronting her mother, I wouldn't do that, i would indeed invite her and GF to thanksgiving dinner with DS and your family though; 3) Just because the 2% club has a lot of historical precendent doesn't mean your DS isn't a member and the quickest way to make him determined to stay with this girl is make her a part of his rebellion against you and a symbol of him successfully leaving your nest, especially if he has some growing up to do. I watched my own sister, openly have issues with my oldest niece's (our Goddaughter) BF - that alone, in my estimation kept that relationship together for at least 6 extra months. 4) I try and make things easy for DS when he comes home, though once last year we had to have a talk and set limits during one of his breaks, when I talked to him I was realatively non-judgemental but pointed out that he wasn't respecting us (wife and I) as people, let alone as parents with his behavior (being gone overnight without telling us in advance, etc) - it worked. Personnally, in the end if the choice is him sleeping somewhere else for a night rather then even thinking about getting behind the wheel after "a couple of beers" then I just want to know where he is, so nobody is waiting up for him and we can lock the doors. That said, when he does it repeatedly for several nights, I talk to him and say, hey how about hanging out with us tonight, we haven't had any time together. To be fair, we don't do this his first night or so home as that's when he is catching up with friends, some of whom are indeed female but so far he hasn't even thought about a steady girlfriend - "Dad who has time for that crap?" -

    Sorry for the ramble - Bottom line: I try and treat him as an adult and that of course does mean if I'm paying I set the conditions. If he's paying, hey we're your parents and friends and we'd still like to see you and spend at least some time together... So in our case we stick with bribary and avoid the coercion or guilt trips ... for us that works, but everyone has to deal with this their own way.:cool:
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    What's the update xsurfer? Staying with you or the gf?
     
  18. xsurfer

    xsurfer Parent

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    Well ... either he humbled himself or just decided to succumb, but either way he said he would be staying with us so of course we bought his airfare home. As I said before, we always intended on paying for him to come home for holidays/breaks, but we always assumed he would be staying with us. In fact, as a side effect of all this drama, he and I have had some very nice long talks, and today I got a note from GF in the mail stating she understood how we feel. Hopefully, Thanksgiving will be enjoyable for all. The next hurdle will be Christmas. It will be interesting to see what he takes away from all of this and if he carries forward with consideration for his family or if he will try to do it all on his own in order to sidestep us.

    We raised him to be independent and I am thrilled that he is trying to do his own thing. He is excelling at the AFA and we could not be more proud. He is in love and I get that. I told him that GF should be a lovely "addition" to his life, but not to the exclusion of his family. I guess I just always assumed that he would WANT to come home, at least in the beginning. I thought this would be a place of refuge and comfort for him. It was a stab in the heart to think he only wanted to visit. Growing pains I guess. He is our first to leave home and this is a huge transition for us all. We're learning as we go, as you all have, and I am truly grateful for all of your opinions. I was really just trying to make sure that I was within the bounds of being reasonable. Lord help us all if good morals and respect become a thing of the past.
     
  19. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Xsurfer:

    Good to hear at least for now it is working out, best thing in your note and out of all of this is that it sounds that you are all talking these things through. As a boy who was raised to be independant, these are natural growing pains for you all, and as long as the communications remain open then I'm sure things will continue to be resolved...these are all great kids/people, but they are and always be our kids...

    Good luck!
     
  20. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I am glad you have worked things out xsurfer...

    If my sons tried to pull any of that b.s., Oh My. They could just plan on spending EVERY Thanksgiving with the gf. :mad: Luckily, my children fear me. :thumb:

    The emotions of teenagers are so strong - so unbridled - it makes every decision harder for them. Still, I think if we parents stick to our guns and make rules, the kids might be angry with us, but they are ultimately happier to live within a framework of rules and expected behaviors. They can gripe about me all they want; when they have children I'm going to tell the grandkids all about when their father told the babysitter he was allowed to use all the power tools - when he was 4.
     

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