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Thoughts as a parent...

I was working on some grounds/garden maintenance today and the 15 year old son of a guy I know was given a days work labouring as it's half term school holidays this week in the UK. My own lad went to the same primary school as him and they know each other in their different social circles so it was an interesting day with mutually known names we could chat about.

I felt a bit sad a few times when we were chatting through the day because his relationship with his dad is nowhere near as real and deep as mine with my own son. Don't get me wrong, his dad has way more cash than me, the perfect house, the perfect car(s), pedigree dog and all the rest of it, but I could perhaps have learned more of how the lad feels about life in one working day than his dad has in 15 years.
The lad was genuinely surprised that me and my son share so much of the reality of life with each other and said he wished he could talk to his dad about stuff like that.
I told him that we're all different in our styles as parents and all just make it up as we go along sometimes because humans don't come with individual instruction books, but we both knew I was just ducking the issue.

I may not be the 'best' parent in the world, especially depending on how our shallow first world society regards such things, but I've always shown interest in the truth from my son and a safe place to tell it, no matter how much I may not like what I hear. I wish more parents realised that the 'Imperial Ruler' parent figure often just breeds a young person who lies to them and does stuff anyway, only without telling them, be it sex, alcohol, illegal drugs, and legal drugs included.
I say to my lad "If you have a query about anything just ask, either I've messed up in a related situation somewhere in life or I'll know a mate who has, my advice, you can always guarantee, will be the truth" I value that truth, and I love that my lad knows he'll always get helped to fix some life drama first, with the advice lecture only coming from my kind heart after we've fixed the situation.

The more I know about my son and his thoughts, feelings, reasons for stuff, etc etc then the more it helps me to help him with all the stuff I know. To know things I need to listen, and my son needs to feel confident and safe enough to tell me whatever is important to him.
My son tells me our relationship is different to any his mates have with their dads, and I just wish our society here woke up and realised that these 'angry young men' really just want to be heard and have their feelings listened to without big anger and outrage because of whatever 'thing' is being discussed.

The dad of the lad who worked for me today came to see me later to ask what he was like.
I told him (honestly) that he gave 100% effort and even when I told him to chill for 10 if he wanted he carried on working until I stopped for a break.
One of the most inflaming things I could discuss with another man would be any questions about his style of parenting, so I obviously avoided that, and instead said "You should tell him you heard words that made you feel proud of him today, when you see him"
...can't change the world but I can chip away I guess.

Oh, and rich dad has always shown disappointment to me that his lad didn't win a place in the selective school my 'poor' son got into...I've always thought of rich dad as a prick for that but it is my own opinion that stays in my head, or shared anonymously on Frihost Wink

4 blog comments below

Parenting is pretty tough, and if you have accomplished with your son what you have, that has to be considered one of the greatest achievements in a life time. Pretty awesome and well done! Worth millions in the bank. Cool
deanhills on Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:09 pm
Cheers Dean but it really is that simple: love, care, listen, talk, and be honest, to all young people even if they are not our own blood.
It makes me sad every time I have a day like today. I've had many a conversation with other young people and the story is the same every time. It's like they are regarded as an alien species or something sometimes, no wonder some take the wrong turns when they have no-one 'settled' who they feel safe enough to ask advice from, including being truly honest about whatever it is thats going on in their life.

If just one dad reads this post and takes a moment to consider how much he believes he controls his son through fear and how much he guides him through honest discussion then I'll be happy I shared my thoughts.

*sorry for being gender specific above but I only really know about being a dad to a son and interacting with his mates while chatting to their dads, who are either mates of mine, or just blokes I have to be civil with.
watersoul on Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:24 pm
When will people learn that money does not buy you the most important things in life?
I am jealous of the relationship you and your lad have. I was doing tasks for my parents today and my Dad did not even say hello to me. He has never done anything (on his own) for anyone else in his life. He will begrudgingly if Mom orders him to do something. He spends his day with his head firmly planted up his backside until someone says food then he comes running.
standready on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:01 am
That's exactly the type of relationship I'm on about Standready.
Myself, I left home at 16 and 'ran away' 180 miles to the town I live in to this day, but I was lucky enough to have built a deep relationship with my dad before he died.
I guess I'm probably so passionate about communication, trust, and mutual respect between me and my lad because of my own unhappiness as a child - give my own son the stuff I wished I had as a child sort of thing.
watersoul on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:40 am

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