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August 27, 2008


I don't have any advice for you, just a hug and the knowledge that you are not alone in this. I've been taking the pro-active approach on clothes recently, or at least shoes. Last time that Abe came home he said that his sandals (which he was still wearing)were broken. So we looked for sandals and ended up getting 2 pair and trying on sneakers for the fall. No sneakers until this trip home but now I won't get an emergency call about shoeware!

Likewise, no advice for you. But, know that you are not alone. Other than the boarding school the scene is very similar to one played out in my son's bedroom a week ago that involved his "assembly dress" suit that is worn to school once a week. It seems that back in May when he last wore it he ripped the suit pants and ended up stuffing it in the back of his closet. Even though he worked all summer I couldn't find it in me to make him pay for the new suit.

I had an argument with my son the day before he left to go to the Air Force. I hated it, and I know he did too. He stormed out of the house and went to his girlfriend's parents house to spend the night, so I didn't see him again before he left. I was feeling so bad about it, but after lunch that day at work, I had a voice mail from him. He apologized to me and said he loved me. I wish I had been there to answer the phone.

These things happen, we can't stop them no matter how much we try. He'll grow up and be responsible. don't fret over this.

One of the most difficult lessons in parenting for me was to learn not to go postal when my kids told me something I didn't want to hear. I knew it was important that they not be afraid to bring me bad news, and it took a lot of my assuring them that they needed to tell me right away and I promised not to explode if they did so. It was the hiding and deception that I really objected to. After all, we all screw up from time to time. At least I do. I did learn eventually to take a deep breath (okay so maybe it was a sigh), and just ask, "so, what are we going to do now?" Kids are amazingly adept at finding creative solutions. Mine even agreed that replacement clothing would have their name and phone number sewn into the lining.
Maybe there's a gently used blazer from a former student available?

I've been taking deep breaths since I wrote this.

Thanks for all the sympathy and for the advice. He REALLY disorganised and constantly losing things, it does drive me insane. A lot of it is personal things which doesn't get replaced (fairly recently, his Gameboy) so it's not that he doesn't care, I don't think.

Hugs to you and your boy. I hope all turns out well. Most of all, I hope he'll tell you earlier next time there's a big issue like this one. These scenes are heartwrenching.

Molly had some great advise there. I try to tell my kids that no matter how bad it is, whatever they have done I am probably a little better equipped to help them solve it than if they try keep it from me. And invariably I usually find out anyway.

Some teens are just scatter brained. Some adults are for that matter. You can only do your best to use your nurture to nudge his nature. But in the end, the relationship and communication have to trump the stuff, right?

Hang in there. You are doing the best you can. And as my dad always says, this too shall pass.

Yes, I desperately need to work at keeping my temper when he does tell me. And I definitely want to reinforce the message of talk to an adult.

His shoes are missing as well. Do I get to scream?

How about asking him how he's going to solve the problem? HIS shoes, HIS problem, and thus possibly his solution.

I think Laura's onto something. One of the transitions of the teen years is shifting the problem-solving responsibilities from parent to teen.

He can't afford to pay for the entire cost of the blazer, but perhaps he can shoulder part of it, or earn it in some other way? Molly's idea of a less expensive, used one is good, too, assuming this is an option.

You how he can keep doing this stuff if he really cares. I'll bet, yes, he does. I'm guessing it's not just your anger that made him tear up, but also his own feelings. Maybe I'm wrong, but my son (19 now) was EXACTLY the same at that age. His scatteredness drove *him* crazy, too. He was already embarrassed by himself, so admitting it to mum was doubly humiliating.

He's better now. Not perfect, but better -- and he's found himself a TOTALLY organized girlfriend!

Yes, I think both Molly and Laura are right in that I need to remember to focus the issues back on him. It's shakey though - his means of dealing with the shoes was "well, I go back to school and see if they turn up."

One thing I know: next summer? I'm checking stuff on the way IN not on the way OUT! *grumble*

I really can't add much to what everyone else said, some great advice there.

I could so relate to "Yes, I'll be upset but this makes me MORE upset. I'm not sure how to make more upset a viable threat."

Trying to get across to a teenager (especially boys it seems) that mad now is a lot better than mad later, is a toughie.

All they see is angry mom, degrees seem to be lost on them.

Zayna - I like your description of degrees lost on them - that's exactly what it feels like!

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