Portraits of the Jersey Shore Seaside Heights Fatherhood Challenges Teenager Raising Sons

The Challenges of Raising Teenage Sons

“I have two boys, 17 and 14. It’s interesting to watch them go through the things they go through and make the same mistakes I did when I was their age. At that age, they think they know everything. It’s very frustrating a lot of the times.

“I wasn’t close to my dad growing up, at all. My father was very smart, but a very difficult guy to deal with. He didn’t have a lot patience with me, and he would get mad so easily at the mistakes I would make. When you are younger, you think you know everything, and that frustrated him just like it frustrates me now with my boys. His frustration would turn into anger a lot of the time. He wasn’t abusive, but he would hit me with the strap a lot, and he was always yelling, and he made it so you couldn’t talk to him. He didn’t handle his frustrations very well, so it alienated me from him. Our relationship was very distant. To be honest, I can see those traits in myself as a father, I get frustrated and yell at my boys. I try not to, and I hate it when it happens. I always apologize to my boys when I lose my temper. I tell them, ‘Someday when you have kids, you will understand why I get so frustrated.’ I am not happy that I get so frustrated. But I am not abusive, I don’t hit them.’

“I get frustrated because I am scared for my boys. I am scared they are going to grow up and struggle like I did when I became an adult. When I started college, my dad thought I was going to classes, but I went hunting and fishing every day instead. When he found out he threw me out of the house for good. I had nowhere to go, I had no job to speak of, and I wound up living in my car that winter. I struggled for a long time after that. When you go through something like that, you don’t take life for granted. You are afraid of winding up homeless again because there is no safety net. It took years to turn my life around to where it is now. And I am afraid my boys will have the same thing happen to them if they don’t start taking life seriously. Things can change in a minute. I want them to be prepared.

My dad passed away when I was in my forties. We never reconciled. We rarely talked after he kicked me out. I do go through moments though where I wish he was alive again so we could have 5 minutes to talk. I think I would like to tell him I get it now… I get some of the things he was frustrated with when I was a kid growing up.”

~ Seaside Heights

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