Yesterday, I experienced one of a mother’s worst nightmares when my 18 year old son, who’s a senior in high school, and I got into an argument because he thought there was nothing wrong with him having high school girls sleep over at my house, IN HIS BEDROOM. I was asleep when I heard him come home around 1 a.m. Not only was he coming in at an hour that was inappropriate, he had two of his female classmates with him. I listened to him and these girls talking in his bedroom, they were in and out of the bathroom- which is across the hall from my bedroom- and before I could get out of bed and say something to him about it, they all left. His phone is off because he hasn’t paid his phone bill- something he has always done- so I couldn’t call him. I assumed he was spending the night somewhere and would come back home later that day.
I dosed back off to sleep, but at around 3 a.m. I heard him coming in again. Now, my work day usually starts at 4 a.m. because I have to be at work at 5:30 a.m., and sometimes my internal alarm clock wakes me up early. But this time, it was my teenage son and at least two girls who’d interrupted my sleep, once again. I laid in my bed, debating whether or not I was going to get up and go off on him at that moment, or wait until his company left and then do it. I knew that he would have sworn up and down that I’d embarrassed him in front of his friends, even though that’s exactly what he deserved to have happen. For an entire hour, I laid there and listened to them in the living room talking, laughing, eating chips, because I could hear the cracking of the chip bags. I listened to the microwave buttons being pushed. But what finally made me go break up his little party was when I smelled either cigarette smoke, or the smoke from those vaping liquids that my son told me he uses.
I was highly pissed off, because I don’t smoke and he knows I don’t allow it in my house. I let him know that his actions were highly inappropriate, not to mention disrespectful, and I told him those girls had to go…NOW! And how did my son react? By cussing and fussing at me back that he’d done nothing wrong by having those girls at my house. His excuse was that they’d all gone to a party, one of the girls had gotten so drunk that she couldn’t drive home, and him- acting as their taxi driver even though one of the girls had followed him to my house in her own car- and being the considerate friend that he is, decided not to drive her home, but instead to allow her to sleep at my house in his bed until the next morning. I THINK ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!
Now, instead of admitting that he was very wrong for disrespecting my home in the middle of the night, he became argumentative- yelling, screaming, and cursing at me, as I yelled at him. In his extreme anger, he even punched a big hole in his bedroom door. In that moment, I needed him to leave. I couldn’t believe that my son that I’ve raised and bent over backwards for 18 years was speaking to me the way he was. He wouldn’t leave and he continued hovering above me, almost like he wanted to hit me, so I grabbed my keys and I left. When I got back, he’d packed all of his things and left. And as far as I’m concerned, he can stay gone, because when a child thinks he/she is grown enough to disrespect their parents. it’s probably best.
Thinking back on the situation, I realize some mistakes that I, as a single mom, have made which may have contributed to this whole situation. When a woman is raising her children alone, we tend to make them our entire world. Most women- especially single moms- rarely take out any time for ourselves. We devote every waking moment to making sure our kids have everything they want and need. And some women tend to fill the empty void of not having a man in our lives with our teenage sons. No, I’m not talking about in an incestuous way by sleeping with him, but we tend to dote on them, wait on them hand and foot, refer to them as the man of the house. I’ve even seen some women on social media referring to her son as “her king.” We use them in Facebook and Instagram hashtags as #ManCrushMonday. These are some of the ways that we allow our son’s to be a stand in for the man/bf/husband that we don’t have.
The problem with this is that eventually the son actually starts to think he’s your man. As a mother, we’ve allowed him to get away with things we know deep down we shouldn’t, had grown-up conversations with him, acted like his friend more than his mother. We don’t set rules and boundaries for him and before you realize it, he starts to think that he is no longer a child. Instead, he develops the notion that he’s the adult that you have put him in a position of being. So, when he decides to misbehave or act out and you now have to discipline him as your child, he’s not having it. In his mind, he’s grown. He feels he can come and go as he pleases, have girls in his room if he wants to, drink/smoke in the house if he wants…because you’ve told him he’s the man of the house. And as the man of the house, he does whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
Stop calling your son “your king” A king is a ruler, someone who’s in charge of the people around him. Your teenage son, while he might very well be the only man in your home if you’re single or divorced, is not and should not be in charge of you or the house. Because when you try to assert your authority over the “king” who feels he’s the man in position of power, he’s not going to back down and let you take back control of his kingdom.
This is one of the many mistakes that single mom’s make, which can have negative consequences in the long run. I’ve overcompensated for my son a lot in the past as a mom, first because his biological father has never tried to be his father and is not involved in his life now, and then when I divorced the man that he did consider his father figure. My son took my divorce hard, and I’ve often blamed myself for his unhappiness because my relationships failed, even though I know that I was being manipulated, controlled, verbally, mentally, and emotionally abused by these men, until I simply couldn’t stay with them anymore.
By me doing these things, I’ve essentially given my son the green light to act out, and he has done so by disrespecting me and my house, and having the notion that he can come and go as he pleases. By trying to fill the void of not having a dad in his life, I’ve let him slide many times on things I shouldn’t have. I brushed it off the first time he talked back to me years ago, blaming his attitude on my divorce and on the fact that leaving my husband was hard for him. I let him stay out later than any teenager should have. I’ve excused a lot of bad behavior, all in the name of making things easier for him after my divorce. On the other hand, I don’t miss an opportunity to praise him on Facebook and bragging on him constantly, because while he does do dumb things at times, he is a good kid for the most part, and I am proud of him as a mom. But what I haven’t done was make him be held accountable when he’s wrong.
By me doing these things, I’ve essentially given him the green light to continue acting out, disrespecting me and my house, and having the notion that he can come and go as he pleases.
There is nothing wrong with loving your son unconditionally and/or bragging on him from time to time, or even telling the world how much you love him. But mom’s need to realize that our son’s are NOT a replacement for a boyfriend, fiance, husband, or a significant other. He is your child, not your man. Stop giving him that label. Stop calling your son “your king” A king is a ruler…someone who’s in charge of the people around him.
Your teenage son- while he might very well be the only man in your home if you’re single or divorced- is not and should not be in charge of you or the house. Because when you try to assert your authority over the “king” who feels he’s the man in position of power, he’s not going to back down and let you take back control of his kingdom when you are put in a position of now having to be a parent and discipline him for any reason. You become a person that he thinks he controls. He will refuse to acknowledge you as superior to him. In his mind, it’s the other way around. You have made him think that he controls the home and everything in it, including you.
Being a parent is a hard job and unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a manual or a handbook. At the end of the day, no matter how much our children mean to us, we have to let them know that we are in control. It’s okay to want to be your kid’s friend, but being a parent needs to come first. Rules and boundaries need to be established so that they know that you love them, but as the parent, they need to respect you and your rules. Take time for yourself. Stop making everything about your kids, especially our son’s. Love your son, but don’t use him as a replacement for a man.