My son has been obsessed with four-wheelers lately. He buys really old ones, fixes them up and rides them around. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn’t. A few weeks ago he was out on a ride with his friends on a trail when his four-wheeler made a loud noise and quit on him.
It scared him of course because it sounded like a mini-explosion, but he was fine. I was glad he was with his friend, but there have been several times when he’s been out there on a trail alone and this has been my worry — that one of these junkers would break down.
I’ve been telling my son to get a more reliable ride
I’ve been telling him for a few years to save his money and get something more reliable. Not only do I not want my son breaking down on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, he’s also spending (read wasting) a ton of money getting new parts and having these beaters fixed up.
He does it because he enjoys it. But it’s also hard for him to spend his hard earned money. I tell him that getting something more reliable will be cheaper in the long run, not to mention save me quite a bit of stress.
He’s never wanted to listen to me and has pretty much told me that I don’t know what I’m talking about (of course) and he likes getting these older models, tinkering with them and riding them a bit, then selling them and repeating the process.
Until last week when he bought a new four wheeler that didn’t require him to go out and get a bunch of parts in order to get it running. He messaged me when he got it and said, “Mom, I haven’t been this excited about anything in a long time. I love this thing.”
He had a great day riding with his friends and sent me several pictures — something he doesn’t often do. It was hard for me not to say, “Don’t you wish you had listened to me and done this earlier?” but I stopped myself.
I want to say “I told you so” but I stop myself
Something I’ve learned in life is that you will do things (or stop doing things) when you are ready. We are all like this — there aren’t many exceptions. When I was little and my parents told me not to eat too much sugar, I didn’t listen and I got sick.
As a teen, they told me not to trust a certain person, or to not ignore that inner voice. It took a few times but I quickly learned they were right. As an adult, I can listen to all the advice my friends and family give me but I still have to wait until I am ready before I change my behavior.
As a mom I watch my teens do this. My daughter had a friend who was really bringing her down and she was crying about it constantly. I was there for her, I supported her, and I didn’t criticize her friend. I did, however, tell her that maybe it wasn’t the healthiest friendship and she should distance herself and see how she feels.
I can give my kids advice but they will take it only when THEY are ready
It took almost a year, but she finally did it — when she was ready.
It’s frustrating when your kids won’t take your advice. After all, we have lived through enough of these scenarios that we can almost see what’s coming before it happens. It’s our instinct to protect our kids and steer them in the “right” direction.
I will always give my kids advice when they are struggling but I try not to be preachy and I try not to seem judgmental of their choices. That’s very challenging for me. The reason I keep giving them whatever wisdom I have (even though I know they probably won’t listen) is because a lot of times they decide to take that advice later. It might be weeks, months, or years later, but they do find often look back and remember what you’ve told them.
Not many of us take advice as soon as it’s handed to us and our teens (especially our teens) are no different.
For most people making a change, taking a leap, stopping a bad habit, or taking a completely different road is a process that takes time. Our kids look to us for boundaries, support, and guidance. They might not listen to you now, or in the near future, but I guarantee there will come a time when they will think back to what you’ve said and take it to heart.
Your words will get them through a hard time in their life, or give them the push they need to make a change, eventually.
More Great Reading:
Dear Teens, Your Parents Just Might Have the Best Advice After All