The Parenthood Challenge

Alan is a very good dad to his two sons.  My mother actually says he is too kind a father to the detriment of the 15 year old.  Sometimes I can’t help but agree with my Mom because I can see that much of Alan’s travails now as a parent of a rebellious teen is directly a result of his and my in-laws’ overindulgence of the first grandson on their side of the family.

Of course there are other contributing factors like the fact that the child is only 50% theirs and half his genes come from another totally different set of values and traits — plus the fact that he was raised in an environment with different rules and outlooks.  But all that is true for every human being.  We are the product of two distinctly different individuals, and the combination of genes does not always result in a better product.  And to repeat what I said, you have external factors that come into play in molding the personality of any human being.

There are no hard and fast rules on parenting, and I’d like to believe that even between siblings raised by the same set of parents throughout their youth, each child turns out differently depending on their individuality.

These days I have managed to step back and just watch the father and the 15-year-old in their daily interaction.  With an additional flunking grade to the 3 previously failed, an arrogance typical of the young who think they can do no wrong and hormones raging in his 15-year-old brain, father and son have been at each other for the past couple of days.

The exchange is aggravated by the fact that the 15-year-old has been raised with no regard for the moral ascendancy a father holds over his son.  It is rather difficult to make a 15-year-old receptive to motivation when his brain is running in all directions and he has no fear in his heart for anything.  It seems that he is oblivious to the fact that high school is something he has to get over and done with if he is to take the bigger step to adulthood.  We used to peg his life’s ambition on getting to college.  With what has been happening to him of late, we have become more realistic and have decided to just set is at graduating from high school.  That, in itself, has proven to be quite a struggle for him.

As I keep saying, being a step parent does not give me parenting prerogatives.  I can only learn from their mistakes in raising this boy as I raise Angelo. 

Someone I looked up to as a Tita in a previous job kept telling me “You can only give that which you have.”  And how true this is in terms of ingraining the right values in our children.  Be it in regard to being Filipino, being respectful, nurturing an ambition in one’s heart and mind, empowering a child to believe in himself — all these are things we can only teach our children if we ourselves possess it.

I have not lost hope for the 15 year old, but at the rate he is going, I am just afraid he will realize that he ought to listen to his father much too late in his life.  That would mean losing precious time, something we can no longer have once spent.

0 thoughts on “The Parenthood Challenge

  1. So true… so true. My sister and I are 5 1/2 years apart. We were raised by basically the same person, my mother. She was five when my parents split… and I was 6 months old. We are/were very different people. We’ve each made our own choices.

    Her life has been filled with drama and constant chaos. Mine has been on the straight and narrow path that I laid out for myself. Both of us have come to the point where we didn’t think we would be where we are today. She thought she wouldn’t live to see 30… and I thought I’d be a happy stat-at-home Mommy. Neither of us are content… even though we’ve exceeded our goals.

    I’ve seen so many friends, family, and people that, as teenagers, strived to push the buttons of their parents… to do as they saw fit, not realize that the parents only wanted the best for them. There is no one answer for anyone. The only thing I can comfort you with, in regards to the 15 year old, is that all of the people that I have known that have gone through this… have come out better and understanding that they needed to clean up their act and that they were stupid at the time… Each of them had a different reason for finally cleaning up their lives.

    My sister it was having her second child… and not having my Mom to catch her. She wasn’t able to support her and invite her into the house to help her out, again… because she herself was going through a second divorce and was trying to regain herself. For the first time my sister was forced to care for two children… and learn that she was the one they depended on. For another one of my male friends, it was finally being on his own… living how he thought he wanted to live… partying and drinking all the time and then realizing that he needed money… and that he had to show up on time, etc. That no one else bent over backwards for him, like his parents did.

    This is longer than I intended. The only thing I really wanted to say is this… it sounds like you don’t like the 15 year old. Even though you add that you haven’t given up on him. Did you ever think that the 15 year old need your love as well? He sees you with his father… with your perfect son… his father’s starting anew… he may feel that he’s not worth the time since his father has this perfect family waiting in the wing. Maybe being more involved in the 15 year old’s life would be helpful. Not as a disciplinarian, but as a friend? Seems to me he needs to know that he’s as much a part of your family as your son is… he needs to know it.

    Just my two cents. Hope I didn’t overstep.

    Like

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