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Of teenage sex and my own snooping.

Old 01-30-2012, 11:33 AM
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My boundaries are that I will not allow him to use drugs, or bring them into the house, without consequences (either more treatment, or a visit from the police).

I also will not drive him anywhere except to meetings, or buy him anything beyond food and shelter, if he does not follow the rules of the house.

The rules are on the refrigerator, where he can see them. He also read them over before he left rehab, and we negotiated a few points. They have to do with electronics use, curfew, friends, sleepovers, and some general, basic stuff--everything from chores to "sunday is family day."

the counselor read them over before she gave them to my son, and she said they were fair.

Just so it's clear, he's done a great job of following the rules so far. I don't expect perfection--he IS 15 years old.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ISOHumility View Post
Outtolunch,

The rule he broke was smoking with the kid across the street, and lying about it when I asked him if that's what he was doing.

I let him smoke. I buy them for him as payment for doing his chores and generally following house rules. I am okay with him smoking cigs, but not pot.

When he left the rehab, i asked his counselor if i should continue the no-smoking ban. she said she doesn't condone smoking, but that you have to pick your battles. i tend to agree.
It's OK for an adult to break the law and buy cigs for a 15 year old but not OK for the 15 year old to break the law and acquire pot?

I hear you loud and clear on choosing your battles. Just sayin....
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:52 AM
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Cynical one,

Yes--both consequences and earned privileges--extra time on electronics and with positive friends. Also, cigarettes.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:55 AM
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Outtolunch,

I hear ya. Not happy about it, but I understand that--to an addict--cigarettes are friends. Not positive friends, but friends nontheless.

He'll have to quit smoking, in agony, just like everyone else. This is know very. very. well.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:32 PM
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He might never quit smoking...but its often seen as a "lesser" addiction, meaning less harmful...somehow.

You should never snoop on your kid's phone. Ever. The only exception to that would be if you thought they were in imminent danger. Yes he's 15, yes you're his mother, but guess what?! He makes his own choices and you have to let him follow through with whatever the results from those choices may be. He's not technically an "adult" but he is old enough to make his own choices about his relationships with other kids, girlfriends, and adults...whether you agree with that or not. He's going to do what he's going to do with your say or not. I may be biased as I am only 5 years older than him, but breaking his trust by snooping can carry the worst consequences for you. If he finds out you're snooping through his phone, he's never going to talk to you about anything because you are no longer a "safe person" to share anything with. So say he's trying to fight off cravings one day and he needs some support...guess who he's not going to tell or ask?...

Believe it or not, gaining personal knowledge about your kids is a privilege, not a right.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:54 PM
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I am kind of shocked that a parent buys their kid cigarettes. Just the health hazards and toxins alone are mind-boggling (google how many chemicals there are in cigarettes these days) but then the money they cost . . .I don't even know what they cost anymore but I know it is a lot!

Talk about an addiction.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:02 AM
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Snoop if you have to. Your son is in danger of, at the very least, becoming a father. The worst case scenario is all the STDs out there. Research that one out.

This girl and her father did not say "yes." This girl's father seems to be snooping into his daughter's life enough to know that he said "no" to visiting your son in his bedroom. Is this father snooping? Or is he being a good dad?

There are plenty of girls out there who don't have good dads who intervene in their daughters' lives. Those are the girls who will have sex with your son. This is a big deal. If you son fathers a child, everybody involved will struggle with poverty for their entire life along with all the dysfunction that goes along with it.

This is my strong opinion. Plenty of other people will not agree. But none of those people are going to be helping you, your son, or your son's baby when pregnancy or life-changing STDs occur.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:37 AM
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Thanks for all your advice and support. Thought I would give an update.

In the end, I said nothing to him about the girl. She texted him after school and broke up with him. I think that's awesome.

He did his chores after school and I took him to his meeting. He actually looks forward to them, and I am surprised and grateful that this is so.

I do think he wants recovery, based on his behavior since he left rehab, but I understand that he has today--as we all do--and I am sincerely grateful for each day he has clean.

Speedy, my son knows I look at his texts. That was part of the agreement. My "snooping" is out in the open. Part of it is that his having a phone isn't a right. It's a privilege. Right now, earning back our trust trumps his right to privacy. Of course he can delete texts, but his agreement before he left rehab was that he would not--and I think, generally speaking, he has stuck to that.

As for smoking: I am an alcoholic. My son is, most likely, an addict. Addicts and smoking go together like peanut butter and jelly. That's just the way it is. I could never control whether or not he smoked--he would do it anyway--so I choose not to make it a battle.

Bottom line: All of us are trying. He is trying not to use, and to be more respectful of others. I am trying to rein in my controlling nature and let him be who he is. I worry, and I am trying to let it go, because I know that, ultimately, there's not much I can do anymore.

I am not letting go perfectly. But I am committed to learning how.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by sojourner View Post
Snoop if you have to. Your son is in danger of, at the very least, becoming a father. The worst case scenario is all the STDs out there. Research that one out.
I'm not sure I understand your logic. Whether she snoops or not is not going to keep him from having sex. If there's a will, there's a way. I feel like snooping just enforces codie behavior and gives you the delusion of control when really you have none.

Life comes with consequences. You can either let the person deal with them or you can *try* (and quite possibly make yourself go crazy in the process) to help them avoid them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Looking at your kid's texts isn't going to help you in the long run... what does help is having the "sex talk" and keeping an open mind and dialogue with your chid. That will show you care more than going through texts ever will. I'm sure ISOHumility is doing this already. I guess what I'm saying is you can't steer someone to make the right choices, that has to come from within themselves.

Anyway, ISOHumility, I'm glad to hear that he at least knows you're going through his texts and that he's actively seeking recovery.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:18 AM
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LOL Speedy--

Part of the issue with me and my son is that I've talked way too much. I am what you'd call an emotional person, and my son is more Vulcan. It's actually pretty hard for him to describe how he feels. At rehab, he wrote it out.

So as much as I'd like to talk with him about sex, it is not appropriate--he already feels like I am too much in his business. I agree--but if he could make smart choices, I wouldn't have to be in his business.

So I am trying to balance on a wire--letting him go, letting him experience the consequences of his behavior--and doing normal, healthy parenting.

Maybe some of you will laugh at this: Before all this happened with my son, I thought if you "loved" your kid, and reasoned with him, that this was good parenting. Uh-huh. Yeah, right.

I learn so much here. I have much to learn. I work the AA program, and am now attending Al-Anon meetings. I know this program will work if I work it.

I love my son, and need to change as much as he does, if he are to have a better relationship. I will do my part of the work, which includes how to discipline him without anger or excessive talking; he can take care of his. I learned a lot from posting this thread, actually. In the end, I didn't get into his business about the girl, who wisely took care of herself. I know he has used condoms in the past--I did have the sex talk with him early on--so he seems to be responsible about condom use.

I love him. What I don't know yet is how to love him exactly as he is. THAT is true loving. And if I can learn to do that, perhaps it will help our relationship, perhaps not. But it sure as hell will help me.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyJason View Post
I'm not sure I understand your logic. Whether she snoops or not is not going to keep him from having sex. If there's a will, there's a way. I feel like snooping just enforces codie behavior and gives you the delusion of control when really you have none.

Anyway, ISOHumility, I'm glad to hear that he at least knows you're going through his texts and that he's actively seeking recovery.
Jason, I couldn't agree with you more. Being too much in our children's business sometimes gives us a false sense of security and satisfies our codie needs. We are right back into controlling and fixing mode.

I have been through all of this and had to admit at the end-of-the-day that there is only so much you can control and ultimately my son would do what he would do. If anyone told me that at the beginning, I would have thought they didn't know what they were talking about.

I am not suggesting there shouldn't be rules and consequences. It just that we could never control as much as we would like to.

What is fantastic is that your son seems to really want recovery. I am also so happy for you that you understand that changes are required from you too. I think there is a lot of hope here and my heart sings for you.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:08 AM
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((SpeedyJason))

Your post are always very insightful. I agree with everything you said.
I know cigarettes are considered a lesser of two evils, but I agree once started he may never stop. It is a big deal in regards to his health. Maybe there won't be immediate consequences, but someday. Not every person who does drugs smokes cigarettes. Thankfully my BF doesn't have that vice to deal with.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:34 AM
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This is all so hard with such a young kid. I agree that "snooping" is only going to drive you crazy, but at the same time a kid his age needs some monitoring. The trick is to find the line between monitoring and and invading his privacy.

I have a 15 year old non-a daughter. I have all her passwords (to facebook, twitter, etc) and she knows I can read her texts if I choose to. I do not. I do monitor the bill to make sure she's not using the phone inappropriately (too late at night, during school, etc). There was one time I found she had been up texting 'til the wee hours.. we had a discussion and agreed that for one month she would bring her phone into my bedroom at a certain time at night. She did so willingly and after the month was up we never had that problem again. I am "friends" with her on facebook and if I see something that might be questionable I talk with her about it. I find that as long as I do so in a non-threatening/non-accusatory way she will usually end up agreeing with me (because, after all, I'm always right - lol) and will take steps to rectify whatever the issue was. If she wasn't so agreeable I'd have to consider if I could trust her to have the phone or access to a computer in my home but THANK GOD.. so far so good.

Things were not so easy when my AS was 15. I started off with just the "monitoring", but when it became obvious that he was up to no good I initially did the snooping thing -- and drove myself completely insane. It did nothing to change his behavior at all. If anything it made things worse because it escalated the power struggles between us and made him even more determined to get away with things. I finally decided that the phone was a privilege, paid for by me, and if I didn't approve of how he was using it he would not have it. That solved the problem.

Your son seems to be trying to do the right things. Much of what you found by reading his texts is regular teenage stuff that every kid needs to learn to handle on their own. Maybe you could try to not read his texts and just look at the bill to see the numbers he's texting/calling. Let him know that if you see he's calling/texting known drug friends then he will lose his privilege to have you pay for a phone for him.

I found the last thing my son wanted to do was talk with his mother about sex. Instead of trying to have big talks, I'd look for "teachable moments" that didn't make it feel like a lecture -- like maybe when watching a TV show, or hearing some lyrics to a song. At his age he really needs positive male role models to learn this stuff from, hopefully your son has some men in his life who fit the bill!

I'm very glad to hear your son seems so committed to his meetings and staying clean. Focus on that and try not to worry so much!
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cynical one View Post
Lots of mixed messages for this 50 year old…much less a 15 year old. I want you to respect others and their privacy, but you don't deserve the same. As a teenager I remember my mom snooping...and it taught me how to be sneakier. And, if she grilled me about my friends…it taught me to stop talking about them or bringing them home. Drugs, drinking, and sex were bad…but no knowledgeable explanation why…so that made them even more tempting.
This was exactly what I went through at home as a teenager, everything that you talked about, cynical.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ISOHumility View Post
I love him. What I don't know yet is how to love him exactly as he is. THAT is true loving. And if I can learn to do that, perhaps it will help our relationship, perhaps not. But it sure as hell will help me.
A couple of years ago, my therapist bust out laughing when I said this and I was laughing too:

I love my cat. She brings me so much joy and even a little pain sometimes. She's a typical narcissist cat and comes to me for love on her terms, and sometimes merely tolerates me when I scoop her up and snuggle her. Other times she'll dig her claws into me to be let go. She can be very insistent when she wants something, has hissy fits, and will throw things off my dresser when I don't pay her enough attention fast enough. I love her so much that cleaning her stinky cat litter doesn't even bother me. I love and accept her, cat litter and all.

If I can love my cat unconditionally, I can love my daughter, too
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:57 AM
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For some reason, I can't post "thank yous" atm. But thank you I do--each one of you.

Heartbroken hit it: I need to find the line between monitoring and invasion of privacy. And I gotta start trusting myself as a mother. I think Al-Anon will help with that.

I'm not going to read his texts anymore. If he starts using again, I will know soon enough. Because of this thread, I truly "get" that there is nothing I can do to keep him clean, or cause him to use. Apart from holding him to house rules, I am going to back off and let god do his thing. My son has a god, and it isn't me.

Today, I found a temporary sponsor at Al-Alnon. She shared good things. My Higher Power gave me a gift today.

Thank you again, all.
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