Okay, we all were teenagers once upon a time, right? And of course, none of us EVER disobeyed our parents or sneaked out at night or used drugs or lied or drank or whatever…right? Yeah, right.
I do, however, seem to remember having a conscience. As in, if we went somewhere we weren’t supposed to go, we felt guilty and were frequently looking over our shoulders just in case…. And we didn’t do these things very often, simply because of that guilt factor.
The question is whether or not that guilt has gone by the wayside, in general, or if it’s just my son – and/or some others with his same proclivities.
In two weeks, he’s lied about a radar detector: the source, the location, the disposition. He’s lied about his whereabouts at least ten times. He’s driven that flippin car out of his restricted area, run his bank account into probably a negative balance (again), and on at least one occasion was out spectacularly past his curfew.
In two weeks.
On the plus side, he’s been helpful and polite and respectful. Good qualities, for sure, but something still seems to be missing.
Oh, sure, teens are notorious for bending the rules, sometimes breaking them; but those with good character don’t lie as a matter of course, and don’t push so far beyond the boundaries of sense.
Now, I’m no expert, at least not a documented one, but I do have extensive experience with teens – mine as well as others over the years. And I must say, I’ve never run across one quite as negligent of societal rules as this one. I can’t say “unaware”, because we’ve raised him and we know our own morals and values which, of course, were taught to him just as they were to the others.
But seriously – how does one instill character in a child who is so adamantly opposed to what is right and true? None of the many therapists or counselors who were consulted have been able to shed any light on this either. When asked, they say we’re doing all the right things.
So, do we give up? Do we just keep the peace and let the rest slide? He’ll be 17 in a month at which time our options pretty much disappear; although, by law, we are responsible for his actions until he turns 18.
Where do you stop, and where do you draw the line?