A Mother and a Teenage Son

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to sit and talk with a mother of an 18 yr old son. He had been remiss on his responsibilities around the house and she spoke to him.

She pointed out to him that if he had the time and energy to go to his girlfriend’s house and hang out with his friends, he had the time to empty the dishwasher, bring his clothes down for her to wash, take out the trash and pick up his room. She told him he had until the end of the week to do his chores (He was already about 3 days past the expected time for him to have done such.).

I asked her about her decision to give him a few days to do his chores. She, an educator, explained that when confronted, she’d always had good luck with giving her students a few days to get past work done.

We discussed how her husband would have addressed the situation. She suggested he would have confronted the boy using much the same verbiage but would have insisted he, the son, do the work then….that minute, and not give him a few days to do it on his own. She also suggested that her husband’s manner in such affairs lead, in her opinion, to there being tension between the father and son.

While I praised that calmness with which she addressed the son and utilized a technique that has worked for her in the past with students, I also advocated her using her husband’s method…namely, to insist that the boy do his chores…NOW!

My reasoning: All young men need to experience their mother or some older woman authority figure, when and where appropriate (as in this case), insisting he stop what he is doing and do as he is told by her.

Why? As a result of their developing bodies (hormones and physical strength), young men can come to look down on or disregard that opinions of women, especially their mother’s. This is not pathological! This “test of strength” is and has already been going on with his father and other men of authority. This is normal/natural. It is how men come to understand where they “fit in” or stand with other men. This process also needs to happen with the women in the boy’s life.

Why? Because at some point, he will have a female boss/authority figure in his life and he will need to understand that he must concede to and obey her to…keep his job and fit in to society as a whole.

Further and more importantly, at some point, a female (who is not older than he and who doesn’t have more authority over him) is going to tell him “No.” and he will be faced with making a decision….to obey her or overpower her.

So, mom, the next time he “forgets” or puts off his chores, don’t be scared to insist that he stop everything and do NOW what he has failed to do. Do this with a calm voice, no attitude and with firmness of resolve.

More later….

PS….Yes, my mother did do this with me….and I have turned out fine and I still respect her for it.