Monday, June 25, 2012

Curfews And Older Kids

Our oldest son is 19. After graduating from high school a year ago, he is still struggling to figure out what to do with his life. He didn't immediately enroll in college - school was never his thing and until he proved to us that he was serious about it, we weren't going to foot the bill for it. He has worked part time since being in high school. But, he just hasn't managed to get on a path and figure out what he wants to be "when he grows up."

Right now, he's mostly interested in having fun and doing as little as he has to to get by. He pays for his gas (most of it, anyway), his entertainment, and his cell phone. But, he lives in our house. We pay his auto and health insurance. He eats our food and we launder his clothes, etc. So, even though he's 19, he is still very much our dependent. We've been pretty lenient with him since he turned 18. His curfew was usually around 12:30 a.m., but open to negotiation depending on what he was doing. As long as he let us know the who-what-when-where, we tried to be flexible. In the last few months, I guess you could say he really didn't even have a set curfew.

Over the last few months it feels like he has really taken advantage of that. More and more he is staying out later and later. I will get a text at odd hours saying he is in for the night but staying at a friend's house. A few occasions he even told me that he and his friends had been drinking and were staying at someones house so they didn't have to drive. I can't say I'm happy about it, but at least I do feel like he is making the right decisions about not driving. We have made it clear to him that we do not approve of his drinking at all. Lately though, it's gotten worse. There have been several weekends recently where he leaves on Saturday and we don't even see him again until Monday. He sometimes texts or calls, but sometimes not. Of course, I then spend the entire weekend worrying about what he's up to and if he's okay.

I know he is 19, but I feel like his behavior is totally wrong. He owes us more respect than he's giving us. I think he is being selfish and immature. Yes, he is 19 and legally an adult, but he's nowhere near being a responsible adult in my book. And, he does live under our roof. My husband wants to re-institute a curfew as sort of a punishment and to make him understand it's "our house our rules." I think that's just going to drive him away from us.

Because of all this, our relationship has been strained. There's always fighting and bickering - whether it be between me and my son, my husband and son, or even me and my husband. It's really wearing on me and causing so much stress. My son argues that we need to just let go and trust that he is making smart decisions; that he's just having fun like most other kids his age. I guess I'm just not ready to do that. When is a parent ever able to let go? I don't know.

For those of you with older kids, I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you handle curfews with over-18 kids? And, thanks for letting me vent.



Paula Parrish said...

Hello Kari,
I believe that you may know, I have four children ranging from the ages of 28, 26, 18 and 11. I totally understand what you are going thru, us Mom’s worry so much about our children. My hubby and I found that it is important that we are united with our rules with our children of any age. If not many arguments arise in our household. My hubby and I believe in curfews and “Our house, Our rules.
Smiles, Paula

Shelley said...

I agree with Paula, it is imperative that you and your husband are consistent and united. He may be an "adult" but as long as he lives in your house, he should have enough respect for you to abide by your rules. And I know this sounds harsh, but if he can't abide by your rules, he will have to find another place to live. He may wise up quick once he realizes what real life is all about. I know that won't stop your worrying over him though. I don't think mama's ever quit worrying.