Richard Shavei Zion
Richard Shavei Zion is a pseudonym
It makes me so sad that our 15-year-old son shows no respect for either his mother or me. In fact, he laughs off any person of responsibility - teachers, coaches, etc. It is very confusing for me as we have always given him the material and moral support he has demanded. Yet he doesn't seem to appreciate this at all. His impudence is so extreme that he even mocks us in front of our friends. We have tried to explain to him that his behavior is unreasonable but he laughs us off, telling us that we're old and don't know anything. How do we deal with him? A I believe that your indulgence towards your son is the direct cause of his arrogant disrespect.
Dear WholeDad: Three years ago my eldest son Michael, who was 16 years old at the time, asked my permission to go hiking in the Rockies with four friends for a week. Although the planned trip seemed very challenging for kids his age, I felt that he was mature enough to deal with the difficulties he might face. My confidence in him proved to be well founded. Last week my second son, Garth (who is now 16), informed me that he and his friends were planning a similar trip. Although Garth is a wonderful kid I feel very strongly that he is not ready at this stage for such a challenge. How can I tell him without his feeling that I think that he is inferior to his brother? A Before you take any action, you should be 100% sure that your fears about Garth's insufficiencies are founded on an objective assessment of his personality and not on a subjective need to over--protect him- - a feeling that did not exist with your older son.
Dear WholeDad: My 12-year-old daughter has an outstanding talent for dancing. I'm not saying that just because she's my daughter. I am able to judge my children's potentials quite accurately. I believe that she herself knows that she has the ability to create an outstanding career in this field. And yet she refuses to display her gift in any public way. The only times she is prepared to dance is in the informal setting of our nuclear family. No words of positive reinforcement will persuade her to develop her skill. On the one hand I cannot and don't believe in forcing my kids to do things that are not part of their mandatory education, yet I fear that if I cannot convince her to maximize herself, she will regret not having "seized the day" when it is already too late.
I have a 14-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son who watch TV and explore the Net. The amounts and levels of violence and sexuality they are exposed to are mind boggling. On the one hand, I understand that their generation's value systems cannot be compared to ours, as ours were not comparable to our parents'. However, I do think that until a certain mature age, kids should be protected from overt sexuality and violence, until they reach a level of maturity where they are then able to process this input without it distorting their values.
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