When teenage children don’t want to join a family outing
By Claudia and Tomas Dos Santos
A mother and her son share about a time when they disagreed on how to spend a free afternoon. Here are both sides of the story:
Claudia: When you have a big family, different ideas and opinions are common. Finding a family activity that pleases everyone nowadays is more challenging for us.
One day, we decided to go out as a family, but our son Tomas said he did not want to go, because he was not feeling well — even though in my diagnosis as a mom, he seemed okay. My guess was that he was using an excuse to stay home and play games on the computer.
I tried to convince him to go anyway, but he would not change his mind. On other occasions, after a little insistence, he agreed to go and ended up enjoying it. It did not seem this would happen this time. My husband suggested that we not force him to come with us and to let him stay home.
“All right,” I said, “You can stay home but no computer, no TV, no electronics at all.” I confiscated his phone and turned off the Internet.
We left and I was not happy. My plans were that everyone would have come.
Tomas: I was really not feeling well. I had a headache and did not want to go out that day.
When I saw that everyone had left, I went back to bed, but I could not sleep. I felt that Mom was upset with me, and I thought of doing something to make her happy.
I started to clean the house. I cleaned my room, the kitchen, the bathrooms, my siblings’ rooms. I did everything in silence, since I didn’t have any access to electronics. I knew where my mom had hidden my phone, and I could have turned the Internet on, but I didn’t want to disobey and make my parents even more disappointed with me.
I spent three hours cleaning the house, but I did not notice the time passing. I felt good doing it, and I felt even better when I saw my mom’s reaction when she came home.
Claudia: So, three hours later, when we got home, I went straight to the kitchen and saw everything cleaned and organized. Wow! I was not expecting that.
I thought I would find Tomas lying in bed, maybe sleeping. I went upstairs: all beds made and tidy, all bathrooms clean. Tomas had surprised me very well.
How could I be upset with him? I was very proud of him. The house was so clean it seemed we had hired a professional to do the job.
When I asked him why he did it, he answered to make me feel happy. In the beginning, I was upset that he didn’t want to go with us, but if I had forced him, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make this act of love.
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