How To Be a Better Dad: How To Be Your Sons 911 Call

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How to be a better Dad section on SingleDad talks about a variety of parenting subjects and offers direct and honest answers and support for Divorced Dads. This week, one of our members wants to know how to be his teenager’s “911 Call” in case of trouble arises. Read more

How To Be a Better Dad: How To Be Your Sons 911 Call

How to be a better Dad section on SingleDad talks about a
variety of parenting subjects and offers direct and honest answers and support
for Divorced Dads. This week, one of our members wants to know how to be his
teenager’s "911 Call" in case of trouble arises. Read more

How To Be Your Son’s 911 Call

My name is Josh and I am a 49-year old Father of two sons,
ages 15 and 17. I have been a divorced Dad for over 5 years now and have a
pretty good relationship with my boys. Recently, I overheard my oldest son
talking about a "house party" that his neighborhood friend was sponsoring. When
I inquired about the party, my son down played the event and didn’t want to
talk about it.

Look, I was 18 years old once and I know what kind of party
he was talking about. I was wondering if you had any experience in this
situation and if you can offer some fatherhood advice for a Dad with teens. I
don’t want anything to happen to my boy and I need to know how to access this
conversation without coming across the wrong way. I want my son to know that I
am there for him whenever he needs me. I want to be his 911 Call if he needs
to.

Your advice is appreciated.

911 call

Hey Josh,

I can totally relate to your situation. My son is 18 now and
heading off to college this fall, but I had a similar situation last year that
I think I can help you. Like most Dads, all we want in life is to have healthy
and happy children and it is natural for us to be protectors of our kin. In
your case, your message was probably lost in the words you were using and that
caused your son to shut down on you.

Here’s what I did with my son: I made a verbal contract with
him.

Parenting Teens

I shared a story with my son about a typical scenario that
may or may not happen in his teen lifetime. I described a situation where he
would be having a good time with his friends and that somehow the good times he
was having was getting out of control. The fun that he was having was going to
eliminate his options on driving safely home…

My request was to ask him to call me under those
circumstances. In return, my verbal contract with him was the following:

  • I would not be mad at him when I picked him up
  • I would not ask any questions about his evening

My son agreed to our verbal contract and assured me that the
situation I described would never happen in his lifetime. I just smiled and shook
my head like any father would do when reflecting on his own teenager years.
Sure enough, it was no more than a couple months later that I received my "911
Call" from my son around midnight on a hot summer’s night.

I will be honest with you Josh, it took everything inside of
me not to be mad at my son or even inquire about his evening. As I drove up to
the house party he text me the address to; I kept my word with him. I got my son into my car and drove him
home safely.

The next morning, I had a note taped to my door from my son.
The note was simple and to the point:

"Thank you Dad for being my Dad last night…"

In summary

Josh, parenting a teen is different and it takes
a different approach to communicate to your teen under these types of
circumstances. As much as I wanted to be mad at my son; it was more important
to establish the trust and respect that was needed in our relationship. My son
is a good kid and our verbal contract we had was important for the two of us in
different ways. I needed to show him that I trusted him and he needed to show
me that he could count on me.

Give this approach a try and let me know your results.

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Richard JaramilloRichard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
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