Our Son Won’t Help in the Family Business

Categories Robots

Dear Impractical Advice: My wife and I are both active members of the Resistance Against the Robots. Every night we go on raids to sabotage power plants or attack robot infrastructure. Since our son turned nineteen years old last month we feel it is time for him to start playing an active role in freeing the human race.

Each time we try to get him interested in fighting for our freedom from robot dictating what humans can do, he ends up fighting with us instead. He actively avoids any kind of training, and he barely goes through the motions when forced. He is more content eating our black-market potato chips and playing video games than in any kind of physical activity. One night we tried to bring him along on one of our sorties, but he complained so loudly the whole time we had to sneak him back home before he blew the mission.

It’s embarrassing that our child seems content being a slave. We don’t want to see him be another meat cog for the robot rulers, but we can’t seem to motivate him to join our fight.

– Parents of a Resisting Fighter

Dear Resisting Parents,

Impractical Advice is shocked to hear that the teenage child of rebels and freedom fighters would have developed a personality that resists being told what to do!

Your son is already resisting the authority he thinks is restricting his freedom. As long as you continue to try to command him like a soldier in an army he hasn’t joined, the authority he will rebel against will be you, not the robot rulers. You need to give him the freedom to make his own choices. Allowing your son his freedom of choice also means allowing him the freedom to face the consequences of those choices. When you are shield him from those consequences, you impair the development of confidence in his own ability to solve problems. So stop getting potato chips on the black market for him. Let him know that the robots are are the ones who have banned junk foods for being “unhealthy for humans.”

Once you and your wife are no longer an authority to be pushed back against, your son may naturally focus his defiance against the restrictions of living under robot rule.  If that happens, consider presenting revolutionary activities that line up with his particular talents and interests. Not everyone is destined to be a front-line fighter. There are a wide range of important Resistance activities from recruiting to hacking. Reconnaissance work, for example, might appeal more to him as a less physical, stealth kind of “game.”

Parents need to offer guidance and support, and they need to accept that part of becoming an independent adult means that guidance can be freely rejected. Rejections of your wisdom are an inevitable part of the growing and learning process. You can’t take these rejections as a personal attack nor can you let yourself be “embarrassed” by them. As much it may feel otherwise to you as a parent, the freedom to make choices and the responsibility for the consequences of those choices belong to him alone.   

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