This week has been a busy one. The mag for the ANC Progressive Business Forum goes to bed tomorrow so we’re pushing through to get it done. I have a bit of a gap so thought I’d touch base with my blog.
I’d like to ask advice in this blog. If thats ok.
I have a friend (we’ll call him CJ), and no, this is not one of these things where you actually asking about yourself and pretendng the embarrassing situation is about a “friend”.
Wel, CJ has three sons. One is adopted – he adopted, um…lets call him runnerboy (RB) – when RB was about 10. RB’s parents had died tragically – the onne parent was murdered and the other committed suicide shortly thereafter. CJ has two boys of his own – Hero and Schleb. They’ve all got on pretty well as the years have gone on. In fact, RB was the one who asked to be adopted by them after two years of living with them. CJ and his wife were ecstatic because they adore him and it made life so much simpler legally.
RB is now 16 and in grade 11. He’s a great kid – does brilliantly in school and great on the sports field. He’s been very involved in his Church youth group and an all round great guy. He has two brothers who are significantly older than him (about 8 to 10 years) and these two really went off the rails after their parents died. Got into drugs, never finished their studies, arrested, that kind of thing. RB has been aware of this and always said he has different values and doesn’t want to grow up like his brothers. I suppose its CJ’s worst fear – that he can’t save his son from his past and that he’ll grow up like his brothers.
RB recently got a girlfriend, twiggy. She’s lovely. I think – she always blushes when she sees me and all I think she’s ever said to me is “fine thanks and you?” before walking away giggling coyly. RB met Twiggy at church and they’re both actively involved. CJ thinks she’s cool and didn’t discourage the relationship at all.
At the beginning of the year, Twiggy needed to stay over after an event they had at church. CJ agreed, after they had the sex talk and put down boundaries that RB was to stay in his room and Twiggy in hers and that they were needing to respect that. They agreed and life went on. She slept over sporadically and all seemed swell.
A few weeks ago, CJ heard noises coming from the youngest sons room (Schleb) and went to investigate. Twiggy was sleeping over in that room… and yes, you probably know where this is going, but Twiggy and RB were having a fabulous time under the covers. CJ walked in to discover them and promptly walked out gobsmacked.
Now at this stage, if I was RB, I would have phoned NASA and asked to be beamed up to some tiny planet where I could never be found, but RB confronted it and walked in to face the consequences.
This is where I need your advice because I’ve been drawn into to it to some extent. CJ is highly principled when it comes to sex before marriage and has grounded RB and said that he will never be able to see Twiggy on his own. Twiggy’s parents were called in and the situation was chatted about. RB’s response is that they made an adult decision (which a 16 year old thinks he is)and they know they want to get married some day. They used a condom each time so there was no issue for RB. CJ obviously feels differently.CJ made RB write an essay on the consequences of sex before marriage, and has made it very clear how his sin has embarrassed him and disappointed him.
RB is now rebelling to the extreme. I know he has been out drinking with his mates (to the point of passing out)- which seems pretty normal behaviour – but it was at school! And he’s incredibly angry and frustrated. He’s talking about getting tattoo’s (only because its going to make CJ angrier) and just being intolerable to live around. CJ is now considering sending RB to boarding school.
I was asked for my advice. My first response was – he’s 16, what did you expect? My next was to let the sex before marriage thing go now. He’s had sex before he’s married – its done and making him feeling guilty about it over an extended period is not going to work. The next is to deal with him like an adult – he made an adult choice and needs to deal with the consequences… if Twiggy fell pregnant, Rb would need to deal with it. He was caught bonking – he must deal with it. The consequence is that a trust relationship was broken. The agreement was that Twigs could sleep over on condition that they never had nookie. Basically. So that what needs to be punished now.
Its been two months since, and RB is still not able to see Twigs alone and use his mobile. I told CJ that morning that he couldn’t control his sons. He could suggest their values but leave them to make their own choices, and be there for them when they needed him.
And when RB starts his nonsense about getting tattoos and stuff just to get a response, to tell him to go – as soon as he matriculates.
I’m not sure if I’m helping. I’m not telling CJ what he wants to hear. He can’t control this teenager who’s lashing out…
So what does he do? How does he protect his son from a slippery slope of rebellion, maintain boundaries without controlling. He’s petrified that RB will turn out like his brothers. I told him he can’t stop it if he does – he’s just got to hope that what he’s instilled in RB’s life will win at the end of the day and trust he did the best he could do… I’m not a parent (as CJ kept reminding me), so do you have any words of wisdom I can pass onto him?
Okay, back to the mag…
Thanks for reading!