I cannot get my teenage son under control! He’s always getting in trouble in school, hangs out with the wrong crowd, and will not listen to me. 2 years ago his father and I divorced in an ugly situation where his Dad was caught having an affair. His Dad rarely calls and I feel so bad for my son and his younger brother. I feel like he could use a good male role model but my family lives many hours away. What can I do to make his situation better?
A pet peeve of mine is Dads who abandon their children, or take little interest in them, after a divorce. Your sons still need their Dad, but he is taking the self-centered, easy way out by rarely connecting with his sons.
The most frequent excuse I hear Dad’s make is how their ex-wife is making it difficult to see the children, or how she has turned the kids against him. Whether that is true or not, children still need their fathers, and the Dads I admire will fight for their time with their kids after a Divorce. Enough of my judgmental ranting!
A way to bring a male role model to your son would be to involve him in extracurricular school activities. Besides sports, there is music, theatre, debate, forensics, and many other clubs that your son could get involved in. Male coaches and teachers are real heroes in my eyes in that many of them take lost boys, such as your son, and provide that positive male role model you’re looking for.
A side benefit of getting him involved in outside activities that he likes would be that it could introduce him to a different set of friends. He may find a new crowd to hang out with. Not the “wrong crowd” you’re concerned about.
In addition to finding role models for him at school, you may find them in your church or through community agencies such as the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization. You may even have a good friend whose husband will step up to the plate.
Don’t discount your family even though they live miles away. A concerned Uncle can step in to the role of surrogate father to your sons. Get your sons talking on the phone, or better yet skyping or face-timing, with some of the male members in your family.
Before your set up these phone and video calls, cue your family in to the troubles you are having with your teenage son. See if you can set up a routine time for your son to talk to one of his Uncles or his Grandfather. Give them time to develop a long-distance relationship and see how it evolves. In time, you may find your son turning to this man-in-his-life for those things that young men only want to talk with another man about, like dating and sex.
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• Where might you find surrogate male role models for your son?
• What outside activities might your teenage son be interested in?
• Where do you find support as a single mother raising two sons, essentially on your own?
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