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SOME ADVICE, THOUGHTS, PARENTAL ISSUE

Old 06-04-2007, 10:00 AM
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Default SOME ADVICE, THOUGHTS, PARENTAL ISSUE

Hi folks. This may be a bit long winded, and has to do with a family type issue, so, you may want to ship out now to save yourself the boredom. I'll be as brief as I can. Basically, I had been planning a month long trip to Maine, for which I depart on Thursday. My 12 year old son was to accompany me. It was to be a great father/son trip. My daughter was to stay home, with mom & family, she went last year, basically hated 80% of the trip...I won't force her to go just to be miserable. But, my son, who is a very bright young man, goofed around in school, all year I kept warning him he'd fail if he didn't do as he was supposed to. He was addicted to those electronic games, like GAMEBOY, POKEMAN, etc, to the point of obsession. when his grades began to suffer, I took it all away, but, he was able to borrow some from his friends and hid it pretty well. I went in and had multiple parent/teacher meetings. It seemed he was starting to do better, but, now, he will HAVE to go to summer school for math and english, if he is to move on to 7th grade in the fall. I tried to arrange for him to go to summer school in maine, but, being a nonresident, they couldn't allow it. I looked into hiring a private certified teacher, but, his school says no, he MUST attend summer school to pass. Summer school is june 18th thru July 19th. If I let him come on vacation, he stays back in 6th grade...I don't want that for him, as I believe it would be unbearable with the teasing from other kids, and the stigma of being labled a "failure". Also, I don't believe he should be rewarded for doing poorly, especially since he can do so much better. I do feel guilty, and, VERY depressed. I have NEVER gone on a single vacation without my children. We go at least twice a year, somewhere. He says he dosen't want to repeat 6th, but, also is very upset about not comming along...understandable. As a parent, I have to leave him behind, to teach him that he must take responsibility for his own actions, and, to be sure he does move on to 7th grade. As a father, I am very sad, depressed, I feel a precious oportunity to share a wonderful bonding time is lost. Also, I just realized, that since my kids were born, I have never been away from them for more than a couple of nights at a time. I gave up all the drinking, parties, etc. when they were born, with no regrets, never looked back, they are my life. I dropped out of school in....12th grade. rebellious a**hole that I was. I regret it to this day. I want my children to do better. I also remember my dad leaving me behind for some reason (my fault, I'm sure) when he went to Maine one year, I remember how terrible I felt as I watched the truck and boat pull out of the driveway....so, I know how my son is going to feel when I leave. I have been feeling so bad, now, 4 days before I leave, I'm actually (please don't laugh) on the verge of shedding tears. I was looking forward to this trip, but, now, without my son, it just won't be near as enjoyable. Anyway, anyone care to comment, think I am making the right choice? Anyone here had a similar experience? I could really use a few kind words, some positive feedback. Oh, BTW, I can't alter the schedualed date, as I reserved the cabin for the 4 weeks last summer...they pretty much are fullly booked by the new year, so, thats not an option, unless I want to throw away my $1,000.00 deposit. Thanks.
 
Old 06-04-2007, 10:09 AM
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Default Re: SOME ADVICE, THOUGHTS, PARENTAL ISSUE

You have no choice, zero. He needs to stay behind. On top of the summer school I would also get him a tutor for an hour a week (around $30 an hour).
Speaking from experience, and lots of it. with a daughter in college (see below) and one just leaving 6th grade who is having a math tutor this summer. I also have a son who repeated 1st grade.

Reasons. As you say he needs the short sharp shock treatment right now. Otherwise it goes downhill from here. The hit from his self-esteem from repeating 6th will be immense, at that age you will find it will affect him much more than watching your truck go down the street.

Last year my eldest screwed up some classes at UCF. We had a family vacation all booked to LA, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Vegas. Her ticket was all booked. She had to stay behind. First time we ever went on a family vacation minus one member of our family and we thought about her all the time we were there. But it needed to be done. It isn't really a choice.

Sorry, but you can't bring the impact to your vacation into this - only the impact to his future - and even at 12 years old what you decide now WILL have an impact.

Good luck.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:17 AM
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Thank you, Menzies, you back up my thoughts with your wisdom & experience, and, believe it when I say, your comments alone have just lifted my spirits a bit....
 
Old 06-04-2007, 10:31 AM
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Default Re: SOME ADVICE, THOUGHTS, PARENTAL ISSUE

I agree with Menzies. Your boy must learn the value of hard work.

I had to go to summer school my senior year in order to get my diploma. I hated it, but did very well and leaned a valuable lesson.......when given the opportunity to learn, use it.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:31 AM
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I agree with Menzies. No vacation. I'd throw away the vacation, and instead make do at home WITH HIM and bond. He will remember that his dad chose to stay behind with him over a vacation that he loved. Go out at night with him. Take walks. Go out to dinner together. Another vaca will come along. Sorry about the $1,000.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:39 AM
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To help you feel better about your decision, Menzies is right. He has to stay home and get his act together. It'll break your heart, but the lesson it teaches him may keep him from your heart breaking more when he's older and feels he should "get a pass."

You remember how 12's a rough age for a guy, but staying back in school for a scholastic (and not a learning) issue is not acceptable.

This is a great moment to teach him accountability and responsibility.

What I might consider is setting a goal for him to reward him for getting himself back on track since he's not going on the trip. Obviously not at the same level as taking him to Maine, but a little something to keep his head in the game. Right now, he'll be going to summer school to avoid negative consequence. Throwing a little positive consequence out there will help him focus on what he needs to do.

He's at the gateway of a lot of experiences and influences that will shape his future. You want him to have the best fundamental judgment in place to make the right choices. Taking him on the vacation will significantly impair that.

You're his dad, not his friend. It's ok to be unpopular. He'll respect you more when he's older for not letting him off the hook.

My "come to jesus" with my dad happened when I was in college. I screwed around, skipped class, got wasted and blew a semester (which I was lucky enough to have had him pay for.) He sat me down and told me unless I hit a certain GPA, I was staying home. Given the precedent he had set throughout my childhood, I knew he was serious, and I hit the mark.

That led me to doing well, getting into grad school, good job, wife, kids, etc.

If it wasn't for a moment like that, I might not be here.

Don't know your economic status. but like parkersal said, you might want to eat the $1k and stay home.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: SOME ADVICE, THOUGHTS, PARENTAL ISSUE

It's a tough decision but you have to leave him behind. Like menzies said a math tutor will do wonders for him, and hopefully the fact that you leaving him will be a wake up call that there are consequences for his actions.
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:18 AM
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Default RE: SOME ADVICE, THOUGHTS, PARENTAL ISSUE

Menzies is on the money

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Old 06-04-2007, 11:22 AM
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He absolutely can NOT go away with you. I agree that some serious conbsideration should be given to cancelling the whole trip and staying home with him. 12 is a tough transition age like you said, and he may just need some tough love and some good attention. $1000 will seem like nothing in a couple years when he's off to college. This summer will be a very important time in both of your lives.

Maybe you can stay home with him, work with him through summer school and if he does well, head up to Maine for the remainder of the time you have the cabin reserved. Even if it is only for a week or two, he will see that you are genuinely concerned, that you are "walking the walk", and that you reward him for hard work.

Good luck, no matter what you choose. Look at this as a great opportunity...
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: SOME ADVICE, THOUGHTS, PARENTAL ISSUE

Agreed with all above. At 12, he's testing the waters to see what he can get away with.
Probably best to eat a grand now than many hundreds of grands later.
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:45 AM
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He must stay home and I think you still deserve a vacation. It's not like he is going to be a latch key kid staying home alone. Why should you stay home? The kid is going to be in summer school....what are you supposed to do, sit around waiting for him to come home so that you can help him do his homework. I think that message is not constructive - "Son, you broke the rules, you screwed up ....... so I am going to punish you and me for YOUR bad behavior". Go take YOUR vacation......you can always cut it shorter than 1 month.

Oh yeah, add a penalty for his "going around" the no electronics rule as well. If you let him cheat now the cheating will only become worse as he gets older.

FWIW - I am not Dr Phil so everything I just wrote is probably meaningless and irrelevant since no one here , except for you, knows all of the facts.....but you did ask for our 2 cents so there is mine......keep the change.
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:51 AM
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parkersal - 6/4/2007 10:31 AM

I agree with Menzies. No vacation. I'd throw away the vacation, and instead make do at home WITH HIM and bond. He will remember that his dad chose to stay behind with him over a vacation that he loved. Go out at night with him. Take walks. Go out to dinner together. Another vaca will come along. Sorry about the $1,000.
First, let me give a warm hearted thank you1 to all of the wonderful advice & support. I do feel much better about my decision...and, a math tutor is a great idea, as he did have one last year, but she moved away. I will find him another...I did make him go to in school tutoring once a week this year, but, wasen't that effective. Now, the one post that is making me feel a bit, well, like a selfish father, is this one...and, i know your heart is in the right place, and i appreciate your input, afterall, I did ask. I do alot with my son. I take him fishing, movies, parks, go carting, etc, etc, not so much as late, due to some behavioral issues, and, also, he is starting to become interested in girls, and, we do talk openly about girls, guy stuff, etc, plus, he is at a point where his friends are becomming a important part of his social life, where sometimes being with dad isin't his first choice, and, I do understand that. I guess I am selfish to a point, because, as bad as I feel, I need to get away desperatly...I would have preferred my son be there, as I stated. But, his mom and I have never really gotten along, I would have left years ago, but, keeping the family togeather, for the sake of the children was important to me, plus, mom isin't able to care for them in a reasonable, safe manner, I pretty much was mom and dad, doing almost everything from health care when they were sick, doctor visits, cooking healthy meals, taking them clothes shopping, on and on it goes. Had she been a responsable, common sense minded woman, then, perhaps I would have left, accepting visitation. I am not trying to put her down, of course she has her good qualities. But, all in all, I made the choice to stay, and, without going into my full history, can say, out of guilt due to their mothers and my relation I over did it and spoiled the children, and, the past year have really been trying to undo that...with limited, but steady positive results. They are wonderful, smart loving children, I'd give my life for them in a second. But, I need to get away, I'm going insane, and, it's affecting my ability to keep my cool. I need to reflect, relax, and consider my options and where to go from here...looking at possible divorce, the kids have told me to please leave their mom, and take them with me. I am hoping that some time alone with her may help them to bond...they need it too. So, maybe I am being selfish. I don't know. Plus, I know I won't be headed back to Maine for a few years. The kids and I will be going to Lake Lure for Thanksgiving, as we have for the past 4 years. Also, they'll still get a vacation this summer, when we go to Long Island to visit their grandparents for 2 weeks, and my son will be spending alot of time with me fishing up there, my daugter some, but not near as much, she isin't into it like he is. And, it really isin't about the $1,000.00 deposit, so much as I need this trip badly.
So, what do you all think, am I selfish???
 
Old 06-04-2007, 12:02 PM
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Hopkins,

My post was meant as constructive. Who am I or anyone hear to tell you how to be a father. I don't know your home situataion, marriage, etc....

Obviously you are agonizing over this situation and its solution; I was giving my take and trying to be positive and show you a silver lining (ie you will enjoy staying home, taking walks, etc...). Sorry I came across in any different way.
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:05 PM
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My son isn't old enough for things like this to become a personal issue for me yet, but I have plenty of friends my age with kids who have gone through the same thing you're going through.

Based on the fact you care enough about your son to ask these questions, I think he is a very fortunate kid. The only thing I would suggest besides agreeing with the other posts would be to set aside a week-end or however much time you can afford to take and do something with him just as father and son. It doesn't have to be anything exotic, just go someplace where the two of you could bond. Trust me, my father never made the efforts you are making with your son, and we both regret that as well.

I spend my fair share of time on a computer both for business and pleasure, but I plan to do my best to keep my son away from computers, television, and video games as much as possible. There is no substitute for one on one time with a child to keep them on the straight and narrow. I just hope I don't over-compensate by forcing too much father and son time on my son.

Okay, with all that said, just hang in there and keep loving your son. I don't want to switch gears on you here or make anybody uncomfortable, but maybe you should find a good chuch to get him and your family involved in if you haven't aready. Enough said on that topic.

Good luck. I'm sure you'll do the right thing with leadership by example.
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:09 PM
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parkersal - 6/4/2007 12:02 PM

Hopkins,

My post was meant as constructive. Who am I or anyone hear to tell you how to be a father. I don't know your home situataion, marriage, etc....

Obviously you are agonizing over this situation and its solution; I was giving my take and trying to be positive and show you a silver lining (ie you will enjoy staying home, taking walks, etc...). Sorry I came across in any different way.
No, I appreciate your input, and it makes sense on one level, and is making me rethink things. I just had the mom read all the posts (not my last one mentioning divorce...of course) and she says to go to Maine....probably wants a month away from me as well....ahhh, isin't love grand. But, no, I thank you for your input, I wanted to hear ALL advice, thought, etc., I do understand your intention was meant to be constructive, and, I was responding to how that idea made me feel, which is me...not you...no need to apologize...
 
Old 06-04-2007, 02:04 PM
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OK great advice above about the immdiate issue. Can't top that. And yes you sound like a 100% guy - like me.

But (and I say this knowing that in a previous post when a THTr asked for what kind of software to buy to spy on his kids Ray and I mentioned - hey there are other deeper issues here than software... and the poster told us he didnt need advice on raising kids...??), your realtionship with your wife and the fact that the kid got into or was allowed to get into this situation are the root problems - again in my very humble opinion. And these issues may very well be related.

Perhaps a frank dealing with the wife issue AND a continuous daily or at least week performance meeting (with specific deadlines and work product quality results - you the kid and his teachers) for next school year is the long term solution. Kids are tough and a marraige consuling or divorce isn't the end of the world - only you know what is best in your case though... About the staying back issue - if its just immaturity - DO IT NOW. This is about your last chance. But by all means listen to his teachers an dschool consulers on this one. They have NO interest one way or the other - well maybe a bit on the pass him thru side so they don't look bad. As you know up to 4 grade are the real best times. The school tecahers and consulers know this and wouldnt let it happen unless they weere very sure it was warranted.

Whatever you do - hey there is no wrong decision - do it and then do wahtever you have to make it be the right decision.


About going to Maine - it was unclear if there were other siblings going. If so - go - Whatever - if you gotta get away from Mom then it will show if you stay home. I would consider chucking it all and doing a day trip or 2 the kid ...

Good Luck - these are precious years - they go by WAY too fast!!!! If we coud only have "do-overs" in life!!!!

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Old 06-04-2007, 02:20 PM
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How about sending mom and daughter away to Maine for some mother/daughter bonding and you and your son can stay home and do the summer school and bonding thing? It will give you a break from your wife and may be the best thing for your entire family. Maybe your daughter did not like Maine last year because you and your son were there and she didn't think it was cool to be there with you but just her and mom may be another story all together...

I bet you and son can have just as much, if not more, fun staying at home, working hard on school projects and spending all of your spare time together having fun together. Show him you appreciate him and that his future is the most important thing in your life.

Good luck.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:50 PM
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Don't spoil your kids, My older son did the summer school thing 4 years in a row, ruined our summers. My wife babied him.
I did things a little different with my younger two sons, wow what a difference. We go on vacations now, boat,fish watersports
ect. instead of driving back and forth to summer school. Pay now or pay later. Don't second guess yourself.
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:49 PM
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Sure, the kid is starting to show the signs of a teenager......don't let that drive you crazy....crazy parents are pretty dam ineffective. You have enough time to build a solid foundation in your child...don't panic.....maintain your patience and be resolute on the principles you want to instill in your children.

Apparently you are obviously fully aware of all of the pluses and minuses of what is going on in your life. I truly believe (based on what you have posted) you need to recharge your batteries. Take some nice pics of Maine.

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Old 06-04-2007, 06:28 PM
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If those cabins are that popular certainly there is a waiting list.....and you should be able to recover your deposit.
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