My 16yo son ignored Mother's Day.

From the ages of about 13 until well into college I was too embarrassed to show any kind of outward affection or appreciation towards my parents or other relatives. I think around adolescence you need to kind of forget about getting that kind of acknowledgement. It’s an intensely confusing and volatile time in which you crave freedom and independence but are intensely anxious about it. One the one hand you often feel like cocooning in the safety of your home but doing it locked in your room. In the other hand, you kind of wish you could forget you have parents. Hormones can make adolescents extremely insane and confused and volatile and needy. It’s almost impossible to acknowledge your parents as human beings with feelings. Things settle down though if you’re patient.

This might be very good advice. My dad would do this for Mother’s Day and my mom would do this for Father’s Day. It was kind of a relief to me, because I didn’t like hurting my parents feelings but I couldn’t admit that I wanted to be nice to them. Being forced to do so by the other parent made it possible to save face with myself. It is probably unrealistic to expect your adolescent to do this on his own. In a way, he can’t admit he loves you or that he’s grateful to you.

I don’t do anything special on mother’s day or for a lot of other ‘special days’. I stopped sometime around that age, I think, even when I was ‘forced’ to; if I ‘had’ to give a card or something like that, I would do it incredibly unenthusiastically, with no particular interest in it.

In retrospect, I am aware that my behavior, without any explanation, which I wasn’t thoughtful enough to give at the time, probably made me seem unappreciative of my mother, but that wasn’t really the case.

My reasoning, which it would have been better had I explained it at the time, is that I came to dislike ‘special days’ like that; through words and actions I show my mother I care about her all the time, and the idea of an arbitrary special day for it seems like bullshit. It causes the perception to me, whether accurate or not, that someone who makes a big deal out of a particular day like that is trying to use that day to ‘make up for’ every other day, as if some big gesture on a particular day should be more important than (or even as important as) consistent behavior. And just as bad, the idea that because I don’t pay extra special attention on this arbitrary day means I don’t care seems ridiculous and offensive. Yes, many people don’t think of it that way at all, but that’s the perception it creates in me, and why I decided to not participate in such holidays.

Also, overall, it seems forced, which made me feel incredibly awkward about it; anytime I am expected to show affection because of an arbitrary time or day on a calendar makes me feel very awkward about it.

Now, I’ve no idea if your son is thinking similar things, but it’s possible, and also possible that, like me, he doesn’t have the presence of mind to explain himself until years later, so at the time it just seems like he’s being contrary and/or unappreciative.

This. I think the more significance you place on the “holiday”, the less he will. It’s called teenage rebellion and it’s normal.

I dunno, in my experience people that stand outside a process often have insight that people deeply enmeshed in it do not. I’m not agreeing with anybody else in this thread, per se, but this attitude may be a hindrance to you.

Quoted and bolded for truth; shudder, you may not have any idea how painful that can be.

It took several reminders from my husband to my daughter to get a happy mother’s day from her. Like most 16 year olds, she’s just pretty busy in her own mind, thinking about her own stuff. The mid-teen years can be pretty self-centered. Or at least centered in a teen world, parents highly optional.

Your relationship with your son sounds great. Don’t sweat mother’s day.

(And living in one of those parts of the country myself, no it’s not because there are two moms.)

I will repeat what I said in my prior post which has been echoed by several other people. Either you or your partner or a friend of the family need to play “dad” and take a direct hand in getting him ramped up to complete this task or similar expressions of social consideration. Responsible dads do this it’s part of their job.

The vignette reflected in your OP of two gay mothers disappointed by their lack of a Mother’s Day card from a son inattentive to social graces is a bit of a modern social irony. You can draw straws or get a male friend to take him in hand to get this done if you want to be arm’s length from the process.

From the “it could be worse” files.

On a particular day in September, we found ourselves with necessity of driving somewhere in the morning, and also one extra child (who’d just had a sleepover)

At the time, our car exactly fitted our (five person) family, which was fine for going places as a family, and also fine for one parent picking up a spare child after school, but in this particular instance…

There was no help for it, the fittest person would have to ride their bike instead. Which happened to be my husband.

Yep, that’s right, we kicked Dad out of the car, on Fathers’ Day


He’s never going to let us live that one down…

I worked a catering event last night with two teenage boys. I think 15 and 17. Both church-going student athletes from nice homes. Never heard them curse or say a mean thing.

Neither kid had a card for their mom, or a gift, or anything planned. I just looked at me with blank stares when I asked what they planned to do.

When the caterers offered us leftover wedding cake, the one kid was like “I’ll take it! Mother’s Day present!” But being that he’s a teenage boy, he forgot it when he left and I took it home to MY mom.

Anyway, another example of how your son isn’t doing it on purpose. You’re not alone.

I do agree that having help from one parent to honor the other is a great idea. You don’t have to alternate years, he can handle double advice on one day. He gets out of it in June :slight_smile:

I just think it’s a teenage rebellion/embarrassment thing. Also maybe he doesn’t see why mother’s day or father’s day is a thing. My family doesn’t celebrate these, for instance (I know the OP don’t approve of me not calling up my mom on mother’s day :D). Some people aren’t into a public display of emotions. That doesn’t mean he (the teenager in question) doesn’t love his mom, of course, but he might have his own ways of showing it.

Another possibility that I very much relate to: Maybe he is feeling anxious about doing it “right”, and ends up giving up as a result. You might think that it’s as easy as scribbling some words on a card, hugging you, and giving the card to you… but this could be a hard thing for some people.

One incident comes to my mind (I was 20 then). On a vacation trip, I had got some simple souvenirs for my good friends and my cousin, but I couldn’t get myself to give them. How do I initiate that conversation? What if it’s inadequate? Have I overdone? So I just sat on the gifts, not knowing what to do. A few days later, one of my friends (fortunately) playfully nagged me about not getting them anything. Only after that could I distribute the stuff, which they graciously accepted. This incident comes to mind every time I see the piece on my cousin’s showcase. Why was it so hard? These are people I loved or at least well liked. The intent to give was there, as were the souvenirs, and even so, I was unbelievably embarrassed about it.

I am relieved I have outgrown this particular hiccup over the years, at least partly.

We’re talking about Mother’s Day, not the first time a kid has sex! :slight_smile:

Getting back to the OP, don’t be so sure you know your kid all that well. I was an honor student, top of the class, boy scout, yada, yada, yada. But I was also really into drugs and sex and what-have-you. My parents never knew.

Yes, that topic is for another day. Post Valentine’s day, perhaps. :wink:

Missed the edit window. BTW, I wouldn’t equate “good kid” at 16 with “doesn’t have sex”. Most 16 year old guys in the US have had sex. They’re not all 'bad kids".

Sit him down and tell him how blessed he is and that to celebrate it you’ve donated his college fund and inheritance to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

My husband has always been the “point” person for Mom-significant holidays. He has always nudged, reminded, and helped out with the shopping for Christmas, birthdays, and Mother’s Day. The oldest two are out of the house, now, busy with lives of their own, and we just have our 13-year old at home.

This morning I got scrambled eggs (made by the 13 year-old) and a card signed by him. I have no illusions about that fact that my husband pretty much was the scaffold for that whole thing. He did the same for the older two, and now, they can do it on their own, if somewhat less elaborate. I know he used to remind them to call and about upcoming events.

In addition to my scrambled eggs I got:
-A text from my eldest son’s girlfriend’s phone that said: “Lost my phone, Mom! I’ll call you when I find it, happy mother’s day, I love you.” He did call a few minutes ago.
-A phone call from my middle son (living on base at McGuire) saying Hey, Happy Mother’s Day and OMG! I just saw the new Avengers movie and it was great, which continued into a half hour phone call about Marvel’s plan, the summer movie line-up, and possible visits home.

Both those interactions were typical for their personalities, so I assume they’ve internalized the lessons from my husband and are functioning on their own, now.

What other posters have said about modeling that behavior is spot on. My husband has been an excellent model, and I really liked the idea one poster had about you and your spouse taking turns being the “Model Occasion Observer” for this day. Teenage boys can be the worst, but with some molding and prodding, can turn out to be the best! I still cry when I recall the first Mother’s Day gift I got from my eldest that was completely of his creation - a bedraggled bouquet from Kroger and a giant cup of ice from Sonic because he “knew that was my favorite thing about going to Sonic was their crunchy ice, so now I can have some for all day”.

When I was 15-16, the way I remembered Mother’s day is that, on mother’s day, my dad would bring me a card he bought and say, “It’s Mother’s day. Sign this card for your mother.” I would, and then he’d give it to me to give to her. If you didn’t do that this year, you might want to try it next year.

I don’t know, I think you are being a little overly defensive about the gay thing. As others have mentioned, dad usually reminds the kids about mother’s day. In your family Mom is reminding son about mother’s day. Surely you see the different dynamic there. In your hiusehold it’s basically Parent’s Day and you parents are telling him "don’t forget to show how much you love us ttomorrow! ".

Not a bigot.

Well maybe you should put yourself in his shoes. Does he have a Dad? I’m sorry but your 2 women, like it or not and you look at the world as women.

Sorry to burst your gay bubble but your shoving alot of gay propaganda down the kids throat. The kid is probably confused but still loves you and hates to hurt your feelings by telling you the truth.

Please, step outside your gay circle and put yourself in his shoes.

Oh, that will show him.

I guess I now need to add: not to say that there aren’t some bigots making the point in an obnoxious manner of course.