Parenting Styles

Meet The Parents

My son, AJ has had more girlfriends in the past few years than Led Zeppelin had groupies. The comparison to Zeppelin doesn’t end there though. He also pretty much treated these girls like groupies. They were good for a few short days, maybe a week or two at the most, then it was time for another one.

Trust me, I’ve let him know many times that I think the way he treats women is wrong and appalling.

I don’t want to get into the psychology behind AJ’s behavior right now. I’ll save that for another post. The reason I bring this up is to help explain why what happened today was so hopeful and unexpected.

AJ brought his girlfriend over to meet us today. This is a milestone in any parent’s life, but it is also a milestone in more ways then one for us.

Unlike all the other girlfriends he has had, this is the first one who he has ever actually wanted us to meet. He has also been seeing her for almost three months. Given his track record, that is like an eternity in comparison.

The gathering was very pleasant. She is a very nice, very smart girl. She is a senior in high school with plans to start an accelerated graduate degree at a local college in the fall. She is an animal lover, non-religious, and clear-headed.

What was really wonderful is the effect she seemed to have on my son. Not once during the visit did I hear him use profanity. I didn’t think he could have a conversation without cursing, but apparently he can when she is around. Also, he seemed to be clear-headed as well, and given his history of substance abuse, that is very promising.

Overall, I was very impressed with her and somewhat hopeful that AJ has found someone who seems to be a good influence on him. It makes me hope that he might be starting to turn his life around.

Of course, being the realistic and skeptical person that I am, I have no illusions that this is some magical turning point for AJ. I realize that his history shows that he can be fickle and so in a month he could move onto to someone else. Still, he is only 19 and is still maturing emotionally so there is always the hope that this relationship will help move him in the right direction.

So my first “Meet the Parents” experience went pretty well. I made sure to let his girlfriend know that I enjoyed having her over and I left my son with no doubt that I was pleased. Of course, being the realist that I am, I had to add some parental advice to my praise. After they had left, I sent him a text message:

We really like her! I think she is really good for you. Don’t fuck it up!

Here’s hoping.

Featured image by tvermar

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Jay

Jay

Jay is a dad, husband, and pet lover. He has a degree in Theater Arts and works as a Unix systems administrator, mainly because he has a degree in Theater Arts. He used to be a single dad, but now he is married to the perfect woman. He has two teenagers, a daughter, and a step-son. He also has an adult son. He shares his home with his wife, kids, an Australian Shepherd, and a bevy of adorable chihuahuas. He is a skeptic and humanist and tries to contribute to spreading rationality by writing about skeptical topics. You can find samples of his writing on his personal blog at Freethinking For Dummies, the JREF blog, and in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

6 Comments

  1. March 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm —

    You would not like me as your son’s girlfriend. I swear a lot. In front of the kids.And they are allowed to swear as well.
    BUt I wish AJ all the best and I hope you didn’t introduce yourself as “I am AJ’s dad”. BEcause that’s what my in laws to be did many years ago and I was left totally clueless as to how to address them

  2. March 4, 2014 at 9:45 pm —

    I swear a lot too, and in front of the kids, and they swear too! It is the fact that my son didn’t swear that amazed me.

    I didn’t introduce myself as his dad. I just said “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”

    • March 5, 2014 at 2:13 am —

      Just out of interest: how does she call you?
      I know that this is even more complicated in German where people think about correct forms of adress much more, but I always hate it when people don’t give me a clear indication as to what form they would deem appropriate for themselves.
      HOw do you interact with people whom you don’t know how to call? English is easier with “you”

      • March 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm —

        We have only met once we both basically said hello. My son would like her to call me by my name, which I think is fine since she is almost 18 and an adult. My daughter’s friends (she is 16) call me Mr.

        Here in the US, most people, even bosses and workers, are on a first name basis. We tend to call each other by whatever name we used to introduce ourselves. Exceptions would be something like teachers, professors, doctors, and other professionals. They would be Mr or Ms, Professor, Dr. and so on.

        • March 14, 2014 at 6:10 pm —

          Heh – culture is fun. I can’t imagine my kids’ friends calling me Mr. It would be so wrong. Up until about age 6 it was “NN’s dad” for most of them, from them on just first name.

  3. March 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm —

    You know, if I experience my son or daughter doing major character change when with a new love interest, I’d be worried. I’m sure AJ is fine and all; I just don’t like it when I sense that my kids feel that they have to perform, for whatever reason. OTOH, life experience that remind you some things in life are worth making an effort for are never bad 😉

    Good luck to AJ.

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