Did I do the right thing?


#1

I just found out that my oldest son (18) has been dating a 21 year old girl for the past 7 months and he admitted to me that they have had sex. This girl has an apartment and he has been dishonest for quite a while telling me he was out with his friends when he was at her apartment. I found out when I opened up his laptop to surf the net and found a paper he was writing regarding an incident that happened over the summer for school. He is in the local community college, living at home. I support him except for his car and insurance which he pays for himself.

I confronted him when he came home tonight. He admitted to everything. There was a suspicion some time ago that he had gone to her apartment for a party with his friends and alcohol was being served. Of course he denied it at the time. Tonight he admits that he does drink beer there but doesn’t drink and drive.

A summary of what decisions I told him he has to make quickly:

If he wants to be a man and make adult decisions then he needs to make his own way in life including living on his own. (He knows he can’t afford this as it is a struggle to make the car payment and go to school)

I told him I am pondering calling the police as it is illegal for her to serve a minor alcohol.

I asked him what happens if she comes up pregnant…she takes birth control :eek: I told him not only is it immoral to have sex before marriage but that birth control goes against our Catholic faith as well, that is why sex should only happen in a marital commitment. I also told him that just because he has crossed the line of having sex that there is no reason that he can’t go back.

I asked him to make a serious decision as to whether he considers himself Catholic.

He told me he isn’t going to stop seeing her and when I came back downstairs he was crying. I can’t just sit by and support a child who I know is out having sex with somebody while I’m paying his way thru life. There are many parents that can pull this off but I’m just not one of them. I also have a 17 year old and 10 year old in the house and I need to consider what kind of message I’m sending them if I just let this happen without consequences.

I’m beside myself and won’t be sleeping the rest of the night so I thought I would spill my guts and see if I can get any advice from those who have been thru a similar situation.


#2

I do not want to say the wrong things. This is your son at the end of the day and things today are very different to when we were growing up. Don’t put your son underpressure or kick him out of the house because it will cause too much problems later. He is young and when at that age you do silly things but he has to learn from his own mistakes. I understand that this is upsetting and hurting you so much and that there are other kids that you need to consider.

But do you really want to push him into a corner basically what you want him to do is choose between you and this girl. That is a tough decision for a 18 year old to make. Yes, he is wrong and I do not agree with what he is doing. But at the end of the day you are his mother talking to him in a calm and adult way and telling him that he needs to make a decision about his life and how is he going to live it. Yes, you pay the bills for him and take care of him but that is your duty as a parent. But if you do not want to cause a rift between your son and you then find a solution don’t push him and force him to make decisions or to do things that are going to make you happy. Because he can easily say that he will stop seing her but behind your back he will be sneaking to see her.

I cannot tell you what to do but sit down and really think about this I am sorry that this has upset you and hurt you. Ask God for guidance and to help you in this situation and I will also pray for you and your family during this tough time.


#3

How about having him talk to a priest (if he is still claiming to be Catholic…did he ever answer that when you asked)? Then it’s not as confrontational between the two of you?

And if you’re paying his way while he’s going thru college how about establishing house rules (even though he’s an adult he’s still under your roof). Home by midnight or something? It may not fix the problem, but it may at least put a kink in his plans…

As far as the younger kids you’re right to be concerned about the example he’s setting for them…they’re gonna want to do what he does…we all know siblings are like that…and “big brother” is probably “cool” in their eyes.

Throwing him out is probably not the best bet…it would more than likely cause a rift between the two of you (as the earlier poster replied). Perhaps establishing rules he has to be in compliance with by a certain date (thus, a little ‘flexibility’ so it doesn’t look too pushy/demanding…it doesn’t sound like extra pressure would help a lot in this situation).

As always…prayer… Maybe a novena? Eucharistic Adoration.

My heart goes out to you… I pray that all turns out well! :slight_smile:


#4

I think you said absolutely the right thing. If he is old enough to be having sex, then he is old enough to take care of himself. Despite birth control, he needs to be in a position where he could financially support a child who may be concieved, otherwise that child’s life is at risk.


#5

You know, the fact that you are paying his way at this point should not be the overriding reason that you must take a hard stance with your son. The fact that he is in a state of mortal sin should. Keep the money issue separate from the sex issue. That is important, because the lesson you want your son to learn is not that you will punish him monetarily, but that his behavior his sin, separates him from you, and most importantly, from God. Plus the terrible example to his siblings. What worries me the most is that his girl friend uses BC and your son is participating in all the terrible things that birth control implies. The greatest short term issue is that the birth control fails and they might conceive a child. In fact, since birth control pills don’t always suppress ovulation, they might be conceiving children now, but the children are dying in their mother’s womb. Should a pregnancy/baby begin then your son is faced with supporting a child or sadly, paying for an abortion.

Your son’s soul is in a very dangerous place. Since he is sexually involved with this girl, he is very, very attached to her.
Are you married? Where is your son’s father on this issue? If his father is out of the picture, you are under a lot of pressure. Can you take him to a priest? He must go to Confession as soon as possible. I would also set up a counseling meeting between the three of you (priest, son, you) in order to get an adult man’s support on this issue.

But like the other posters have said, if you ask him to leave then he will probably move in with her. However, he’s sleeping with her anyway. I think that in order to preserve the innocence of your other children, you should ask him to either 1. stop having sex with this woman (which basically means stop seeing her) or 2. move out.

But before I close, let me say this, ask yourself what your relationship with your son is. Have you listened to him? Do you understand what is going on inside of his head? This is absolutely vital in building trust. Listen to your son today. Obviously he is troubled and this 21 year old girl is meeting his needs (in more ways than one!). Ask him to think about the consequences of his actions. Ask him what his dreams are for himself? Being a father as a teenager? Using women (because that’s what he’s doing, although his girlfriend is doing the same to him)? Becoming jaded by 20 years old and drifting from sexual encounter to sexual encounter? Does he feel a sense of hopelessness about life and this is an escape? How are his grades? Somewhere, he’s hurting or he wouldn’t engage in this behavior. Look at the whole picture and pray very hard.


#6

I can only write as a daughter, who unfortunately caused my parents a lot of pain. I was quite the same like your son. I was 18, had a boyfriend a few years older than I and at the time I thought nothing of it. I would stay at my boyfriends appartment, drink alcohol, … My parents tried to stop this by putting up rules, e.g. I would have to be home by midnight, … Anyway, it didn’t work at all and they gave up. This went on for about four years, I might add at the time I wasn’t really living my faith though if someone had I asked I would have claimed to be catholic. All these years I loved my boyfriend dearly, but we didn’t realize that that was the wrong way.
But God in his mercy let us get married and I believe we are truly blessed. Before the wedding I realized what I had done, I went to confession and my faith grew from this moment on. I love God with all my heart and want to live by His rules :).
If I had to decide again and knew what I know now, I would decide differently.


#7

Amen Amen…Do not be soft on this one, you are his father, not his friend…His friends don’t love him enough to let him face responsibilty and help him grow.

One’s friends are usually poeple that one will surround themselves with which have similar ideals, or beleifs…

You aslo have younger ones to think about…your giving him the boot is no good excuse for any future wrongs done by him.

my son is 8 and i am already teaching him to not blame external sources for his woes, i teach him to look inward, without guilt, to find the source of his behaviour and make a change.


#8

lukefan:

Is this son’s father in the picture? Because if he is not, then I would encourage you to try to handle this as un-emotionally as possible. The problem is a spiritual one, not an emotional one, though emotions are running hight at this point. You need to point to him very calmly, very rationally that he is living a life-style that is incompatible with your values and the values you want the other children to see, so that unless he changes immediately, he needs to leave. Constantly assure him of your love, tell him that when this situation changes he is welcome back home, but if he is sleeping with his girlfriend then he needs to support his adult lifestlye with a full-time job while he’s in college, shopping for himself, paying the bills, etc. Then your son will weigh his hopes and dreams for his future versus the short term fun of illegitimate sex. You have a hard road ahead of you. I’m so sorry.

Also, if he hasn’t been tested for STDs, it might be a good time for him to have a physical and talk to his doctor about the downside of free sex.


#9

I am married to his father (19 years) but he has always taken the stance that they will learn the birds and the bees just like he did - from his friends. I have been the source of sex education which was highly embarassing for my boys but it needed to be done - look at the great job I did.

I agree I need to take my emotions out of this. That isn’t always easy. But I like your idea cupofkindness so I’ll do that tonight away from home.

Not sure if any of you have been to the doctor with your kids but after about the age of 15 or so, you are no longer welcome in the room when the important discussions i.e. sexual activity, drug/alcohol use, etc…is discussed. I have fought to stay in the room and have even told the doctor of my personal values regarding sexual activity outside of marriage and use of birth control. But unless he (my son) gives me permission to have the information, it is not mine to have! This is from the age of 12 and older according to the nurses in the doctors office. Scary.

Thanks for everybodies advise and support - I’m praying hard today.


#10

lukefan,

Is this the same son who had several academic issues and was expelled from a Catholic high school due to learning disabilities at the end of his junior year? I’m assuming he finished his senior year at a public high school and now he’s at a community college, possibly continuing to struggle since those academic issues don’t just go away…and making friends is much more difficult at a community college since there isn’t the dorm life and school spirit, etc.

If this is true, and pardon me if I’m in error or this is a different son, but I wonder if he’s lonely and seeking some comfort and acceptance in a relationship that ultimately isn’t good for him. Maybe this girl makes him feel strong and confident finally for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, he’s taken those good feelings and gone much too far with wanting to show this girl how he feels about her in return.

I would tread carefully about this. There is a big Catholic young adult group in KC if you are wanting to encourage his involvement with faith-filled persons of his age. The one that is on the KS side has a website: www.kcyoungadults.org and might be something you pass along to him or even…make something like attending a men’s faith sharing group mandatory for living at home, or attending the young adult mass once during the week…just a thought.

I don’t think kicking him out is the answer. As Cup mentioned, this seems to encourage the sexual relationship even more and will ultimately drive him farther from the faith and you. The money issue should not be the faith issue. My parents try to make everything a money issue with all of my younger siblings and it just makes the real issues ‘topics’ instead of the problem to be solved.

Deacon Bob McDonald talks about how parents have a duty and moral obligation to not allow mortal sin within their home. If you talk to him less about money and more about how devastated you are for him concerning his soul and his body–this might speak to him more deeply.

It’s your home so there are rules that can be enforced, such as a curfew, etc. But keep in mind that the idea is not to make it all but impossible for him to continue seeing this girl and sleeping with her–the idea is to empower him to choose that for himself. Discipline is for the purpose of training children to act in an appropriate way when parents AREN’T watching.


#11

Actually, Abby, you are correct. If Lukefan kicks him out, she is all but delivering him to his girlfriend’s doorstep. For where else would he go? But if he stays in the home, and his parents know what’s going on, at least they can talk about it and the boy can let his conscience speak to him.

You know, when this sort of thing came up in my life and the life of my siblings, my father would always orchestrate some sort of formal meeting between his children and their boy/girl friends. Sometimes it worked, others it failed (one sister got married b/c she was pregnant). It was awkward, but this way, those who were interested in us romantically learned early on that my father would be very involved.

Lukefan, have you met this young woman? What do you think of her? And where are her parents? Perhaps, with a lot of love and prayer, your son could introduce you to her?


#12

I told him I am pondering calling the police as it is illegal for her to serve a minor alcohol. *

Oh dear… if you do this, you will push a wedge between the two of you that will be very hard to remove. I don’t have any concrete advice for you, but I would advise you to remember St. Monica. Can talking to your priest help? I mean as in YOU talking to your priest?


#13

I sat down with my son very calmy and focused the discussion on the immorality of the situation. I agreed to be more open to the “relationship” and this girl but that if he chooses to continue in sexual relations that I can’t have him living at home with his brothers since it sends the wrong message. She happens to be Catholic, non-practicing, so I encouraged him to invite her to go to mass with us.

I told him no more lies, as I usually find out about everything eventually anyway (being a Mom is funny that way).

I also told him that early in my own marriage I used birth control ( I no longer do ) but my focus was the fact that both he and his brother were results of failed birth control pills! But that wasn’t a big deal because his father and I were married.

I’m not naive enough to think that this one talk will change everything but it opened up the doors of communication.

Regarding the alcohol - we parents have to take a stand when it comes to adults giving minors alcohol. If he leaves her apartment and kills himself or somebody and I just ignored it, I would never live that down. He is driving around on my insurance policy as well. And I don’t know what the statistics are but I can bet that a high percentage of teenagers who drink regularly become alcoholics as adults.


#14

I really don’t have any advice on the parenting aspect as I am newly married with very YOUNG children. But one of my thoughts when reading your post was that your son is 18 and still living at home. So according to our society, 18 is when you become an “adult”, when you go off to college and have tons of extra responsibility for yourselves.

Maybe by living at home he feels torn in the sense that he thinks he’s grown up because he is 18 and in college now but at the same time maybe feels like he hasn’t moved on becuase he is still living at home. By dating an older women he might feel more “sophisticated” (sorry for the horrible language), and it is obvious that this women and your son are on different levels.

Have you ever gotten him any Christopher West books? They would be great for someone of his age, especially “The Good News about Sex and Marriage”, although intended for married couples, its an incredible resource to introduce people through common language to the “Theology of the Body”.

Again because I don’t know where he is spiritually, only you can make decisions that are for him. These are just my thoughts. God Bless.


#15

Lukefan,

I think your actions in the first post are perfect!

You’re not booting him out of the house! You are laying down the terms for him to stay there. If he doesn’t accept the terms he chooses to move out.

Contemplating calling the police isn’t the same as doing it. I would make it clear that this must end or you will call the police.

Perhaps the one thing I would recommend that you add is that you will support him if he makes morally straight choices. Perhaps, just perhaps, he knows deep down that this is the woman he is meant to marry. Our society discourages marriage because many parents drop all financial support once the vows are complete. Hence young couples are put in a quandry where postponing the wedding makes most sense financially, however in terms of the actual relationship it makes no sense to put it on hold. That said, hiding the fact that he’s even dating her casts a huge shadow of doubt on whether this relationship should be made permanent.

And of course, if he terminates the relationship, you’ll continue to support him.

I might also add a few more terms if he wants continued room and board. Like weekly confession. Religious study. etc.


#16

I want you to listen to me very carefully, Lukefan.

YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT.

You may be going through a tough time right now but I guarantee you that your children will be telling you, one day if not now, that you being up front,honest and loving with them is what they appreciate about you as a parent. Even when you get angry or do not act like Mommy Perfect, the fact that you are talking to him, keeping the doors open, inviting the young woman to Mass, all that…you will reap benefits from this time.

I am going to put you all in my prayers tonight and brag about you to a friend of mine over dinner…so there.


#17

Well, I haven’t read the rest of the replies, but almost the exact same thing happened in my house when I was in high school…my parents told him it’s their way or the high way. They offered him an open door so long as he gave up the sex and pot; he said no, he’s old enough to make his own decisions blah blah, they cut him off – financially forever, and they didn’t talk for quite some time. He moved in with his girlfriend, they broke up, he worked his way thru college for the next 6yrs (took him almost 8 to finish a 4yr degree). He is a much better person for it I think…and I know it was the hardest thing my parents ever did. I can still see it when the topic comes up. They are once again friends – the grandkids etc visit frequently, his wife and two kids are great (she was my roommate in college) and family ties are close again. He made a man of himself, but never did stop the activity that started it all. He also converted to her faith (Lutheran) after they got married.

No advice, just what happened with our family – I don’t envy you, that’s for sure; but you are clearly acting in his best interests, so pray for guidance and go with what your prayer reveals. I will pray for both of you.


#18

I was 19, doing the same thing as your son. My parents didn’t know about it, so they loved me. I was 21 and my girlfriend got pregnant. I told my parents about it, and they still loved me. Sometimes I wish my parents told me more about doing the right thing, but the reality is I doubt I would have listenned. However, I would have had to think about it. I knew I was going against my parents’ wishes, but they loved me - and still love me - anyway. Sort of like the way God loves all of us anyway. I am a faithful Catholic, strugling with the sins of my past. And God loves me.

I agree that what he is doing is wrong. And as a father I am going through a situation with my 23 year old daughter. I have had to tell her that as long as she is living in my house, she has to live by the rules of the house. Her actions effect the rest of the family.

I was just going to start a string about my daughters plans to date a man whose wife left him a year ago. I was adament with her about it being wrong. She kept asking if it was OK. I told her she had to make the decision, but I would never say it was OK, because it was wrong. As I was about to write these last few lines, she told me she decided I was right. Praise God.

Love your son. But don’t stop talking to him about what is right (note the focus on right not wrong). And then… love your son.


#19

my 19 yo just moved out and in with roomates that are all over 21. I went over for a visit and found alcohol everywhere. I asked him about it and fully expected him to say it was his roomates. He said he enjoys wine and does drink it. I mentioned that he is on my insurance and he promised me not to drive when he has been drinking. I had problems with this too… granted I have been lucky that he broke up with his gf and I knew they were chaste, as all his friends in that group of kids were. But as a mom, we worry about all these things. I have always enjoyed a very close relationship with this son, but within a month of him moving I felt like I didn’t know him!
I agree that you need to remain as calm as possible and discuss this in terms of his salvation not in terms of money, but it does play a big part. As the financier of his education and room and board you have the right as well as responsibility to your other kids too… Tough call! I have had the “you need to set the example” talk with him too…and I must say it did help some. He won’t drink in front of his siblings or even when they are visiting him now.


#20

BlestOne - I hope you are right about the chaste thing - if you would have asked me if my son was a virgin 2 weeks ago I would have said yes with no question. But I would have been wrong.:frowning:

The one thing that has happened is he is answering his cell phone now when I call (he wouldn’t answer when he was hiding everything). I’m hoping that my questioning his every move may turn this girl off. How attractive can a boy whose Mommy is checking up on him constantly be? :rolleyes:


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