Dealing with grown sons

-Tough situations require more thoughtful solutions-

Fellows… this is a tough call, especially for African American males, but perhaps for matured males across the board. I can’t speak for all of you.

However, when you have grown sons over the age of twenty-one living at home without a job or otherwise not contributing to their upkeep, the tendency is to kick them out to the curve.

When we were in our twenties, or earlier for some, we could not wait to leave home. In fact our parents, primarily our mothers, had to hold us back until we were at least eighteen because they didn’t feel we were mature enough to be out on our own. By the time we graduated from high school we were out lick-i-ti-split! We were either working, going to college, or perhaps getting ready to be married and raise kids on our own. That was the culture of our day.

Back then labor jobs were commonly available if you didn’t mind working hard. You could find a job if you really wanted one. You didn’t necessarily have to like the job because you only wanted to gain your financial independence.

If you had a live-at-home father you couldn’t wait to prove to him that you were also a man. Even if you had a great relationship with your father you wanted to make him proud by showing your independence. If no father was present you might have stuck around longer than you would’ve liked just to make sure your mom was okay. But, as soon as possible you were out the door.

We were raised differently and things were much different then. Today is not the same for our grown sons, as it was for us. Even those who attend schools of higher learning are not guaranteed to find jobs these days. There aren’t enough jobs to go around. Of the few jobs that are available there are probably dozens or even more people standing in line waiting for them. This includes skilled and unskilled labor jobs.

The tendency we have as the older generation is to be tough on our sons because our fathers were tough on us. Although it is important to keep a certain amount of pressure on them to perform, we must not hold the pressure too tight that it breaks them. A healthy line of communication would help the situation.

Sit down with your boy (young man) and talk with him about what he is doing toward gaining financial independence. Whenever possible assist him toward achieving what he needs. Just yanking his chord alone will not help him do what must be done. He is not you and neither is the world he is facing like yours. These are tough times that require measures that match these times.

I say this from personal experience. My first inclination was to tighten up the screws as much as possible because I felt that if you “mother” a man you would weaken him. Many of our wives do a good job of mothering so we feel that it’s our job to be the (hammer) tough guy. That is not always the best measure.

Staying on top of the situation is a good practice. However, just imagine if you were in his exact shoes and what kind of assistance you might need in dealing with this tough economy. Again, tough situations require more thoughtful solutions. Give your boy a hand and help him become what you would like to see him achieve. He needs you and your strength to help him come through this economic storm. One day you will be happy that you did this.

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