Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Son is 13

A teenager. Let me say that again, a teenager. I next really thought about getting here, having a teenage son. To his credit he's doing really well. He has a good head on his shoulders, he has good friends. Good habits. Well, except the electronics. I know that's a huge hole some kids fall into. It is his monkey, like the internet is mine. Now, about the birthday. And birthday presents. And my wife. And the lack of cooperation. My wife decided on his present this year without even mentioning it to me. And, from what I can gather, without talking to him either. He had his heart set on getting an iPhone. Yes, I know that's quite a gadget. And even if its out of reach it was worth discussing. But that's not the way it works. About a week or so back I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and of course he said he wanted an iPhone. So, I said I would talk it over with his mom. That was when he told me mom had already picked out his present. The first I heard about it. She was planning on getting him fencing stuff. I asked if that's what he wanted and I got the shoulder shrug, yea, it ok. Not over the top entheusiasm. But he really wanted me to talk to her about the iPhone. The next day he has his fencing lesson and I get a paniced call that mom is ordering the stuff, but he really wants the iPhone and did I talk to mom. I get a text off to her telling her about the iPhone and wanting to talk to her. I get a "thanks for the info" text back. When they get back I wait until we're alone and ask if we can talk about the present. I get a totally different story. In her version he really wants the fencing stuff. But when I press I learn that she has ruled out the iPhone. On her own. Well that doesn't sit so well with me. But one thing about my wife, don't ever challenge her, she goes nuclear. And this is no different. Over the course of the next week it was out and out warfare about this damned iPhone. And since she refused to talk about it, I decided to take some unilateral action of my own. I took my son to the phone store to get him an iPhone.
My son has a very practical phone right now. So we went in to look at the upgrade options. Now, this shocked me, but it costs twiced as much to upgrade early as it would to upgrade when his contract expires. This is not logical to me. Why should it cost extra if we're willing to enter into a new agreement. So, the other option is to cancel the old phone and start over from scratch. But it turns out there is. $200 cancellation fee. So, no matter how was look at it there is no way to upgrade his phone until October. Yes he was a little dissapointed, but he accepted a signed IOU for an iPhone payable in October.
But even discussing that with my wife was a battle. And she wonders why I feel she doesn't respect me. She just avoids anything that she might have to yield on. In hind sight, I don't know if she's ever really yielded on anything. She just gets nasty until she gets her way. It was interesting hearing that observation from my son. He avoids her since he is convinced of what her reaction will be. That is a dangerous precident. He has already written her off. He doesn't talk to her. And now he's a teenager. The wrong time to have communication issues with your parents. I need to engage with him even more now than ever. I don't remember my teen years being as complicated as teens have it today. There is a lot of growing up to do. And a lot of places where it can go awry. I just hope he keeps talking to me.


  1. Happy Birthday to your son! I would have done the same thing you did about the iPhone. Maybe it's a good thing he has to wait until October to get it - patience is a virtue....

  2. Several points to consider here. Firstly, yes, your children will talk to you for many many years to come. Secondly, he didn't get the phone not because his parents said no, but because the phone store guy got in the way - that's different than your folks saying it. Thirdly, getting the shaft at the store helps to show your son that phone companies want your money...and you were able to show your son it's best to keep your money. There's a life lesson all by itself. Welcome to teenagerhood! Enjoy the ride!