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Old 02-16-2021, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Avignon, France
9,692 posts, read 5,437,026 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeminoleTom View Post
Hi-
I swear all I feel like at times is the person that pays the bills. No one really listens to me on advice, or really even comes to me for advice. My wife said that's not true but it feels like it. Our kids are good kids but they would rather be on their phones or playing video games, etc. My 17 year old son, who is going to be a pilot spends all of his time learning the ins and outs of that profession. The ironic thing is he didn't get that from me. He got it from my wife's side. I actually hate flying and am generally not a thrill seeker.

To be more specific, on the careers angle, I guess I just wish one of them would be interested in the engineering/computers/math route. I've been encouraging it for years and it seems all the kids hate math...lol. As I mentioned the 17 year old chose a career I have no interest in at all.

I don't know, its not really what I envisioned as what it was going to be like as a father. I know teenage years are rough years and I'm feeling that. I try to stay positive with whatever they are doing, just feels like whenever I'm needed is when its time to pay the bills and if someone needs something. Is this normal?

Thanks for thoughts and advice.
If your son wants to be a pilot, he’s going to have to get cozy with math. The higher the ratings he wants, the more math he’s going to need. Doesn’t sound like you’re being very supportive because something that appeals to your son doesn’t appeal to you? Why would your kids come to you if you have no interest in their interests?
Sounds like if he doesn’t do what do what you want him to do.. you’re not willing to help. It’s not all about you!
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Old 02-17-2021, 07:25 AM
 
753 posts, read 602,570 times
Reputation: 1214
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeminoleTom View Post
Hi-
I swear all I feel like at times is the person that pays the bills. No one really listens to me on advice, or really even comes to me for advice. My wife said that's not true but it feels like it. Our kids are good kids but they would rather be on their phones or playing video games, etc. My 17 year old son, who is going to be a pilot spends all of his time learning the ins and outs of that profession. The ironic thing is he didn't get that from me. He got it from my wife's side. I actually hate flying and am generally not a thrill seeker.
Personally I'm not big on giving a lot of advice to my kids two of which are now in their 20's. We are together a lot with the family business so we talk about everything while working together. If at times I have a concern I think I typically will ask a question or two. This may lead to a discussion or other factors for them to consider. They have their own little minds, and often I learn quite a bit by hearing their view. At least in our case there hasn't been a great need for me to stand in front of the a lectern and advise them about much. They picked a lot up by example and to this point I'm happy with their progress and direction.

In your case, perhaps working together on family outdoor chores will provide an avenue for organic conversation where thoughts are shared. Maybe a big landscaping or gardening project or something.
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Old 02-17-2021, 09:13 AM
 
4,278 posts, read 3,811,462 times
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I heard some place that our job as a parent is to become obsolete. Our kids are their own people. I guess I've sort had fun as a parent watching them on their own adventure of discovering who they are. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be a part of the adventure. My kids have taken directions that I never expected. Beyond teaching them to be good, responsible people, the choices are theirs. Sometimes they include me and sometimes they don't. I find that they don't necessarily ask for advice. Mainly, they like that I'm there and visible. Mine have gotten to the age where I have to let go some what. It's my time to rediscover what I like and want to do
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:04 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 2,468,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Twist View Post
I wonder how long you could be gone before your children would notice. You could do an experiment, with your wife's cooperation. Plan on being gone for a week. Don't say anything to them, just be gone. Go fishing or take a vacation, whatever you like. Your wife would have to say she doesn't know where you are if they asked. See how many days before they start wondering or get worried. It would really depend on your wife keeping a straight face.
That's pretty twisted and unnecessary.
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Dallas
5,939 posts, read 5,587,449 times
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When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

― Mark Twain

Got to love Mark Twain!
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Old 02-17-2021, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
2,373 posts, read 1,297,930 times
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The kids will appreciate what you did/do when they get older and have kids of their own. Right now they are busy with other stuff. You should be happy they are doing well and not on drugs and causing real issues. Totally normal they don't think about where the money comes from. They would if you were not in the position to support them so well. Again, they will appreciate everything when they have a different perspective when they are older.
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Old 02-17-2021, 12:40 PM
 
2,138 posts, read 1,953,854 times
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There's some really great advice and perspectives. It's pretty normal in the daily drudge of life to feel as if you are just in a daily grind and sometimes your family is just there doing their thing living off your paycheck. It's completely normal, especially in the middle of winter.

I think it's important to have some things that are your thing, things you are interested in and enjoy doing, and that individual family members have their own things they do and are interested in, but that you also have some common things that you do together. And yes, if you give a teen the choice, they'd probably just sit on the phone the rest of their life, so you do have to force them to do some common things together. It could be playing cards together, playing video games, going to a park to throw a frisbee, having a family movie night. I would also recommend showing some interest in things that your kids do, even if you aren't that enthusiastic about it.

My daughter used to just listen to my music, but now she's listening to more current popular bands. So, even though I can't stand pop music, I listen to her explanation of Lady Gaga songs and what they are about and at least try to be somewhat interested.

I remember essentially from 14 to 24 just not caring about visiting or seeing or talking to my parents a whole lot unless it was a special occasion or a holiday. I was happy being independent. Once I started getting closer to 30, I really appreciated a lot that my parents did for me and started enjoying spending time getting to know my parents more as adults.

There's a movie called "Wakefield" about a father who goes into his shed one day and just decides to live there and watch what his family does. He wonders if they'll even notice that he's gone. It's not a great movie or at all uplifting, but I think it's something a lot of guys think about. You might watch it just to realize that you're not alone in this feeling and it is normal to some extent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chOJRaIOx_g
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Old 02-17-2021, 01:03 PM
 
2,292 posts, read 1,057,062 times
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Get new kids. Saying that jokingly but, really, don't let your skills go to waste. See if there are clubs around, especially at the local schools, where your knowledge will be coveted. In our area...oh...math dads are prime. Not only with their own kids but other kids whose parents are just not inclined that way but want the best for their kids. Can you teach? If you don't have teaching credentials, get them and while you do, at least tutor, do a math club, limited time classes. If you don't have math/computers/engineering type interest nearby, try the nearest educational spot that does. Even if you have to drive a day or two a week.

Sometimes in an education deprived area there are still a couple of geniuses who wish they had what you offer. Otherwise, get to the local jr or regular colleges, etc. and share your skills. All the best.
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Old 02-17-2021, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Colorado
15,154 posts, read 9,461,979 times
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My ex used to complain that all he was, was a paycheck.

The problem was that he chose not to contribute anything more than that. If that is literally the only good thing you give, then that's the only thing you'll be valued for.

And part of the issue there, was that he was only willing to engage in any other way on HIS terms. So he liked to shoot, if he could take the kids to the range, he'd spend time with them. If he could drag them into HIS STUFF then he'd be alright with that, but the activity itself would be what had his interest, not spending time with his kids.

And if it didn't seem like an activity he was really into, he didn't want to be there. He'd rather stay home and play video games or if he had to go, he'd complain non stop and ruin the outing for all of us.

He showed up to discipline, to yell at the kids and make them do chores, sure. But no one really enjoyed having that energy in a room.

And besides which? I, the wife, not only also worked, but had to pick up all the slack in the areas where he was not contributing. So I wasn't thrilled with him, either. If you want to be valued for other contributions, ask yourself what you're contributing?

And don't complain that your kids don't want to listen to you, without asking yourself how often you want to listen to them.

Your kids are teens. Have you taught them how to drive? Did someone? Do you ever go for drives together? That can be an excellent place to start, having conversations with your kids. (Though of course if you're trying to connect, it's better if you're driving so they aren't distracted.) But there is something about not facing each other, when having a conversation, that makes it easier for people to open up and be real. It's less confrontational. Take a kid for a day trip in the car sometime. Just drive out to someplace you've never been, walk around, grab something to eat in the car, come back.

Because truly, what most kids value the most from their parents (and god, I wish I'd known this so much sooner)...isn't money or stuff, it's TIME. Respect, validation, connection, approval. Even if they seem to drag their feet or act like they don't wanna go...trust me, they'll appreciate it one day, likely even by the time you get home from a day out.
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Old 02-17-2021, 02:17 PM
 
1,242 posts, read 508,343 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
You can take the horse to water, but you can't make him drink....

We have kids in the same age bracket so I can understand in real time what you're experiencing. We are experiencing it too. It helps to read this, which comes from a book I read as a teenager myself, but it's something that my teenagers would NEVER read on their own

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
But seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
As living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
And He bends you with His might
That His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.

Not sure about the last part, but the first ten lines are pretty good, right?

The best we can do is to treat our children with love and respect and to be supportive in the limited ways we were given. For me as a mom this means to keep nourishing them properly, giving them a stable environment and building resources for their future (college education and inheritance). My husband engages with them daily, saying good mornings, good evenings, asking about their classes, their friends... with my younger son he tries to stay on top of the soccer world because that's what my son is heavily into. Unfortunately I don't have a mind for the sport or the professional players, but I do my part by showing up to practices and games. Recently I made it my "job" to take lots of photos at games as I can't read the plays very well and I don't like to socialize much with the other parents. Turns out my son LOVES the photos I take of him and he doesn't care anymore that I'm ignorant about the sport itself.

With my older son it's very challenging because he's autistic (high functioning) and has more... less... odder.. different.. experiences in the world. Like, he's academically very strong, but he still interacts with his LEGOs... a lot... My husband had suggested a few years ago to get rid of them and I put my foot down saying, "you can't do that. They are important to him and you get rid of them and you leave him with very little to enjoy." It sorta goes back to the Kahlil Gibran writing.. you can't force kids to be something they aren't...

With this son I figured out that I don't have to do much... he's content if we go out for coffee. We are both on our phones the whole time and I'm sure we look dysfunctional as a family, but since we go to the same couple places everyday I'm pretty sure the staff and other regulars have sort of figured out the situation and are used to it too.

I hate flying. I'm an anxious flyer. But I like planes and love watching them go up and down. If my son was inclined I would happily go hang out near the airport and try to identify the planes as they come and go. My dad and sister used to do this together.
Thanks for quoting the lovely poem. It's so true, and it's a great guidance.

To OP, Welcome to the Club. That is the joy of having children: happiness and pains.

I believe lots of parents (fathers and mothers) have the same feeling as you do: All you do is pay the bills.

Even worse, many children feel they are entitled for this and that. They compare themselves and their parents with their friends and the friends' parents who are in the higher positions, like doctors, dentist, lawyers, etc.. and they are much richer. They admire and dream for the life of their rich friends. They say things to make you feel bad because you cannot give them as much as their rich friends' parents. No matter how hard you work and save for their college/university's fees, they don't feel that's enough. They expect you to buy them a nice car, open house for parties or give them nice vacations here and there. If you cannot afford that, they look down on you and say you are stingy or a penny saver. It's very painful to hear that when you were not growing up from a rich family, and you have been working hard all your life, wanting to prepare for your children to have good shelter, food, clothes and money for their post education. You want your children's life to be better than yours. And all you hear are ungrateful words. It's so awful.

I've observed and noticed that with people who have more than one child, there is always some child will gives you pain, and other or others will give you joys. Or the one who gives you pain today may change to be better tomorrow; and you will feel happy and forget all the past. Try to think positively, to treasure the good things and tolerate the not so good. That's life - it always comes with bad and good, pains and joys, sorrows and happiness. Without one, you never know and/or appreciate the other.

Anyway, everything shall pass.
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