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Home » CHFWeb Forum » TitusTwo » Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence.
icon5.gif  Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815884] Thu, 18 February 2016 18:44 Go to next message
Lightbearers  is currently offline Lightbearers
Messages: 22
Registered: September 2013
Junior Member
I am looking for some opinions on a situation I have with my 17 year old son and a best friend which seem to be a bad influence.
Background: We homeschool our son, but he travels (drives himself) to a nearby city for a co-op once a week. He has been going to this same co-op his Sophomore (last year) and Junior year (this year). Last year he met a boy at the co-op and they became good friends. They both have similar personalities and like video games. He is a year older than my son and is a senior this year. Last school year, this boy came over to our house and had watched "The Walking Dead" at our house with our son while we were gone without our knowledge. He also brought over an R rated movie (violence mostly) and watched. We found out and informed his parents. He wrote a long letter promising not to do such things again. Fast forward to this month. My son typically goes out to eat with this boy after co-op. Sometimes he goes to his house after co-op and they play video games. I found out that this boy had seen the movie "Deadpool" (R rated) last Friday night and texted my son talking about how great it was. My son was enthusiastic and expressed that he couldn't wait to go with this boy to another showing of the movie. They were planning it all out and I found out about it. My son's friend was terrified that I found out since his parents don't know he saw the movie. Needless to say, my son was not allowed to go to the movie.
My husband and I sat down with my son last night and talked over this whole situation with him. We asked him point blank if this boy respects his parents. Our son said that his friend mostly doesn't respect his parents. Our son did admit that he was a willing party to the plan and was also to blame. He did say he felt really bad while planning it without our knowledge. He said that lately he has been withdrawling from us. He said he feels like there are shakles around him that he wants to be loosed from. We discussed that a bit. He began to tear up.
I asked my son what else they had been watching without our knowledge. He said they sometimes watch a show called "Breaking Bad" at the restaurant after the co-op. He said that he likes the story line. This is not a show we would typically watch.
I feel like we had a good conversation and he was repentant. He recognized that the decisions weren't appropriate.
I told him that I don't trust his friend anymore and I don't consider him a good influence. I told my son I'm not sure just yet what to do about it. My son feels like his friend is willing to put up some parameters and not do the same thing again. My son feels this boy is a Christian at his core, but was making some poor choices.
My son will continue to see this boy every week at co-op until May when the class ends. Since this boy is a senior, he will then be graduating.
With all this being said, my gut wants to cut off all contact with this friend, however I don't want my son to push away from me because of this. It doesn't seem reasonable to tell my son that he can't talk to his friend since they will see each other at co-op every week. I am pretty certain that allowing him to go to his friends house or out to a movie is not a good idea.
I have not had this situation before so I am not sure how to proceed. I've been praying for direction. I am posting here to gain some different perspectives to consider.
Thank you for reading.

[Updated on: Thu, 18 February 2016 18:46]

Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815885 is a reply to message #815884 ] Thu, 18 February 2016 19:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
Messages: 9593
Registered: April 2005
Location: Small Town New Hampshire
Senior Member
I think what I didn't understand with my own kids with these sorts of discussions was: it's not that the friend is a bad influence. It's that my own kids are sinners and they did not agree with my husband's choice of movie ratings for our family.

Does the boy's parents know about the movie they were going to see, without their permission? That is one issue....several times other parents knew things, but did not tell us, when we were working on heart issues....that was very discouraging.

Secondly: are you and your husband on the same page about whatever the rule is?

Thirdly: is the rule going to change when he turns 18? will he still live at your house? will you expect him to still comply with your movie choosing rule?

It depends on your reasons for the rule, whether it is a conviction to both you and your husband and your family culture....everyone's family is different, honestly.


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815886 is a reply to message #815885 ] Thu, 18 February 2016 21:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lightbearers  is currently offline Lightbearers
Messages: 22
Registered: September 2013
Junior Member
Sherry in NH wrote on Thu, 18 February 2016 19:59

I think what I didn't understand with my own kids with these sorts of discussions was: it's not that the friend is a bad influence. It's that my own kids are sinners and they did not agree with my husband's choice of movie ratings for our family.


Does the boy's parents know about the movie they were going to see, without their permission? That is one issue....several times other parents knew things, but did not tell us, when we were working on heart issues....that was very discouraging


Secondly: are you and your husband on the same page about whatever the rule is?..

Yes.

Quote:

Thirdly: is the rule going to change when he turns 18? will he still live at your house? will you expect him to still comply with your movie choosing rule?..

We typically review the movie on pluggedinonline.com and discuss whether the movie is appropriate.

Quote:

It depends on your reasons for the rule, whether it is a conviction to both you and your husband and your family culture....everyone's family is different, honestly.

Our stance on movies is based on a review of the movies content. If there is nudity and excessive language then we advise not watching.
Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815887 is a reply to message #815886 ] Thu, 18 February 2016 23:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
Messages: 9593
Registered: April 2005
Location: Small Town New Hampshire
Senior Member
Do you leave the decision to him? Or is the rule that he not watch it?

Will he live with you when he turns 18? Is that soon? Will whatever the rule is stay in place or will he have more choice?

Do you have younger children?

Trying to picture the culture in your house, compared to the culture that existed in mine back then. Praying for God's clear wisdom for you.


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815888 is a reply to message #815884 ] Fri, 19 February 2016 02:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tracy in Peru is currently online Tracy in Peru
Messages: 7973
Registered: April 2005
Location: Trujillo, Peru
Senior Member
I agree with Sherrie. The issue is not the friend. The issue is how ds is acting. He seems to not make right choices when with this friend, but ds's behavior is the issue.

Or is it?

Is he allowed to make choices? Or does everything have to be cleared through you and dh? It isn't clear to me if you aren't happy with his choices, or if he is disobeying.

If he is disobeying, then there need to be consequences.

If you don't like his choices, have a conversation about why you don't. Why is he choosing to watch what he is watching? How does it make him feel? Does it affect his spiritual life? Does he find redeeming value in it?

We've got with the theory that making some mistakes is allowed and it is a heck of a lot easier to give guidance and help dust them off while they are still under our roof. Giving them tools for discernment and coping skills and the ability to choose and learn from some not great choices come into the mix too.

Forget the friend, focus on your son and how you can give him tools to grow into someone that will be able to manage these types of choices on his own.


In Him--Tracy
Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815894 is a reply to message #815884 ] Fri, 19 February 2016 15:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Sherry and Tracy have given good food for thought. In our home, a 17yo young man is pretty much considered adult. We have always been different in terms of family culture, being criticized when out kids were very young for being too strict, and as they got older, we were criticized for being too lenient.

Once, when one of my kids was young and having some terrible attitude issues, in the heat of the moment, my dh said, "If this is how you act when you come home from [friend's] house, then you don't need to spend time with her any more!"

Afterward, when we were alone, I pointed out, and he agreed, that that was not the wise thing to say or action to take...it implies that my child is just fine, and the friend is the problem. In reality, the time with the friend is merely highlighting spiritual and attitude problems that are IN my child, and that is where we need to work on our parenting. The friend's bad behavior is not the issue. It is the channel by which our child's issues were revealed. (There is a time and a place to limit or forbid friendships, but that is separate from dealing with the heart issues).

So, by 17, my kids were making certain decisions with which my dh and I did not agree. Perhaps it was a movie choice, a skirt length, choice of friends, or whatever. What I tried to remember is that I was allowed to grow up and become my own person. I'm not just like my parents, and my dh is not just like his. It's not reasonable that we would all have the very same convictions over issues which are not clearly stated in scripture.

R ratings are arbitrary guidelines set up by committees. Sometimes a movie deliberately gets itself an R rating so it will make more money. Sometimes really good movies have R ratings...I wouldn't focus on that so much as I would focus on teaching what scripture says about the content. The goal is not to prevent your son from watching R movies, but the goal is to help him learn biblical discernment, and walk with the Lord in his daily choices. Honestly, when a child is 5, you can say, "We don't do that; it doesn't honor God," and they must obey. But at 17, he needs his own relationship with the Lord, and he needs to learn to listen to the Holy Spirit in his own life, rather than being controlled by external rules. (Tracy's concept of letting them fall and helping dust off while still under your roof is excellent!)

My 16yo recently asked about The Walking Dead, since it is so very popular among her non-Christian friends, and a cousin has been talking about it a lot. I didn't take the approach, "You'll not watch that evil tripe in our home!" (although it won't be allowed, because it IS evil, IMHO). What I did do was go to IMDB and copy the synopsis of the plot, do a bit of googling about zombies, and then printed out that information so that she can compare it to scripture. We will be having a discussion this weekend on that topic, and I will help her make good decisions.

It sounds as if you and your dh are doing well to speak with your son and have an open conversation. I think encouraging ds to go to scripture and let that inform his decisions is a much better thing than imposing external controls. He may end up making different decisions than you might choose. And that might be just fine.

For myself, I know that some of my grown kids watch things or do things that I would not, but that doesn't mean they aren't walking with the Lord. There are some things that are house rules that need to be respected. In your example (and mine), the rule will be that we will not watch horror shows or things like The Walking Dead, because I believe them to be a spiritual danger that I don't want in my home. But if my kids choose to watch it in their homes, that will be up to them. I've found that in most cases, when I say, "when you are out on your own, you may make that choice," they often end up choosing as I would approve anyway, because they see from scripture.

I think continuing to have discussions about scripture and about choices will serve your family better than simply forbidding a negative association. I wouldn't encourage the relationship, but if they're going to be seeing each other, I think, at his age, I'd be more interested in managing it. "What did you and Herman do today?" And then talk about it, rather than jumping on the sin, if any.

Another thing I do is ask about their interests? "What is it about that movie that interests you? What do you like about it? How did it make you feel?" That sort of question can spark discussions that are much more effective at discipling than punishment.

Sorry if that is disjointed. My time was limited just now, so all you get is a few random thoughts for the moment.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815930 is a reply to message #815888 ] Mon, 22 February 2016 21:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lightbearers  is currently offline Lightbearers
Messages: 22
Registered: September 2013
Junior Member
Tracy in Peru wrote on Fri, 19 February 2016 02:42

I agree with Sherrie. The issue is not the friend. The issue is how ds is acting. He seems to not make right choices when with this friend, but ds's behavior is the issue.

Or is it?

Is he allowed to make choices? Or does everything have to be cleared through you and dh? It isn't clear to me if you aren't happy with his choices, or if he is disobeying.

If he is disobeying, then there need to be consequences.

If you don't like his choices, have a conversation about why you don't. Why is he choosing to watch what he is watching? How does it make him feel? Does it affect his spiritual life? Does he find redeeming value in it?

We've got with the theory that making some mistakes is allowed and it is a heck of a lot easier to give guidance and help dust them off while they are still under our roof. Giving them tools for discernment and coping skills and the ability to choose and learn from some not great choices come into the mix too.

Forget the friend, focus on your son and how you can give him tools to grow into someone that will be able to manage these types of choices on his own.




Yes I agree that my sons behavior is our primary concern, not his friends. We have discussed with our son about the choices he has been making and he admitted he had been withdrawing from us. As far as your comment to "forget about his friend", our son is already asking to hang out with his friend again. I told him that we wouldn't even discuss it unless his friend reveals to his parents the choice he made to see the movie. His friend said he was willing to meet with us and his parents and let them know. We are still not sure about them spending time alone together at his house or going out to movies together.
Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815931 is a reply to message #815894 ] Mon, 22 February 2016 21:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lightbearers  is currently offline Lightbearers
Messages: 22
Registered: September 2013
Junior Member
Lisa R. wrote on Fri, 19 February 2016 15:10

Sherry and Tracy have given good food for thought. In our home, a 17yo young man is pretty much considered adult. We have always been different in terms of family culture, being criticized when out kids were very young for being too strict, and as they got older, we were criticized for being too lenient.

Once, when one of my kids was young and having some terrible attitude issues, in the heat of the moment, my dh said, "If this is how you act when you come home from [friend's] house, then you don't need to spend time with her any more!"

Afterward, when we were alone, I pointed out, and he agreed, that that was not the wise thing to say or action to take...it implies that my child is just fine, and the friend is the problem. In reality, the time with the friend is merely highlighting spiritual and attitude problems that are IN my child, and that is where we need to work on our parenting. The friend's bad behavior is not the issue. It is the channel by which our child's issues were revealed. (There is a time and a place to limit or forbid friendships, but that is separate from dealing with the heart issues).

So, by 17, my kids were making certain decisions with which my dh and I did not agree. Perhaps it was a movie choice, a skirt length, choice of friends, or whatever. What I tried to remember is that I was allowed to grow up and become my own person. I'm not just like my parents, and my dh is not just like his. It's not reasonable that we would all have the very same convictions over issues which are not clearly stated in scripture.

R ratings are arbitrary guidelines set up by committees. Sometimes a movie deliberately gets itself an R rating so it will make more money. Sometimes really good movies have R ratings...I wouldn't focus on that so much as I would focus on teaching what scripture says about the content. The goal is not to prevent your son from watching R movies, but the goal is to help him learn biblical discernment, and walk with the Lord in his daily choices. Honestly, when a child is 5, you can say, "We don't do that; it doesn't honor God," and they must obey. But at 17, he needs his own relationship with the Lord, and he needs to learn to listen to the Holy Spirit in his own life, rather than being controlled by external rules. (Tracy's concept of letting them fall and helping dust off while still under your roof is excellent!)

My 16yo recently asked about The Walking Dead, since it is so very popular among her non-Christian friends, and a cousin has been talking about it a lot. I didn't take the approach, "You'll not watch that evil tripe in our home!" (although it won't be allowed, because it IS evil, IMHO). What I did do was go to IMDB and copy the synopsis of the plot, do a bit of googling about zombies, and then printed out that information so that she can compare it to scripture. We will be having a discussion this weekend on that topic, and I will help her make good decisions.

It sounds as if you and your dh are doing well to speak with your son and have an open conversation. I think encouraging ds to go to scripture and let that inform his decisions is a much better thing than imposing external controls. He may end up making different decisions than you might choose. And that might be just fine.

For myself, I know that some of my grown kids watch things or do things that I would not, but that doesn't mean they aren't walking with the Lord. There are some things that are house rules that need to be respected. In your example (and mine), the rule will be that we will not watch horror shows or things like The Walking Dead, because I believe them to be a spiritual danger that I don't want in my home. But if my kids choose to watch it in their homes, that will be up to them. I've found that in most cases, when I say, "when you are out on your own, you may make that choice," they often end up choosing as I would approve anyway, because they see from scripture.

I think continuing to have discussions about scripture and about choices will serve your family better than simply forbidding a negative association. I wouldn't encourage the relationship, but if they're going to be seeing each other, I think, at his age, I'd be more interested in managing it. "What did you and Herman do today?" And then talk about it, rather than jumping on the sin, if any.

Another thing I do is ask about their interests? "What is it about that movie that interests you? What do you like about it? How did it make you feel?" That sort of question can spark discussions that are much more effective at discipling than punishment.

Sorry if that is disjointed. My time was limited just now, so all you get is a few random thoughts for the moment.




Thank you for your words of wisdom. I haven't felt right about just cutting off all contact with this particular friend but I haven't known how to "manage" it as you say. Your story about the walking dead is applicable to us as well. Our son has wanted to watch the show for several years, but we didn't feel that it was appropriate. So, it seems you have taken the stance that this show wouldn't be shown in your home but what about if your 17 yo were to go to a friends house and watch? Would you ask ahead of time what they had planned?
Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815932 is a reply to message #815887 ] Mon, 22 February 2016 21:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lightbearers  is currently offline Lightbearers
Messages: 22
Registered: September 2013
Junior Member
Sherry in NH wrote on Thu, 18 February 2016 23:03

Do you leave the decision to him? Or is the rule that he not watch it?

Will he live with you when he turns 18? Is that soon? Will whatever the rule is stay in place or will he have more choice?

Do you have younger children?

Trying to picture the culture in your house, compared to the culture that existed in mine back then. Praying for God's clear wisdom for you.


It is our rule to check pluggedinonline before watching a movie. We discuss the review and determine whether it is appropriate or not. We also have clearplay that filters out inappropriate content.

Yes, he plans to live with us after 18 while attending college.

We have a 13 year old daughter.
Re: Need advice for 17 year old son and friend's influence. [message #815948 is a reply to message #815931 ] Tue, 23 February 2016 18:51 Go to previous message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Quote:

So, it seems you have taken the stance that this show wouldn't be shown in your home but what about if your 17 yo were to go to a friends house and watch? Would you ask ahead of time what they had planned?


Generally, we talk about what is going on. Honestly, because of our stage of life and circumstance (rather than some weird conviction), our kids don't spend a lot of time at the homes of their friends. We usually have a good idea of what is going on there because we usually chat about things.

It is certainly possible that an older teen would indulge at a friend's home something that we do not allow, and we'd talk about it afterward. I don't usually outright forbid things like that for older teens, and they usually come around to their own conclusions.

If there is a situation of outright disobedience, in the case that I do outright forbid, and they go right ahead, there would be more likely to be a consequence than if they just make unwise decisions. But at 17, his convictions need to be his own, and he may not have the same ideas about these things as you do. It doesn't mean he's rejecting you, your values, or God. It just means he's an individual and must learn to walk with the Lord in his own way. He may ultimately come around to your views, or he may not. But if you've raised him well, it will most likely stick.

It's also good to have teens really think about what they're watching/listening to. We have more issues with music than movies. We printed lyrics, made sure they knew exactly what the slang meant, and we compared it to scripture. Looking at things in light of the Word did far more to change their views than hearing mom and dad condemn their music.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
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