Father & 16 Year old son physical fight

Amanda - posted on 04/27/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Have just joined up as am feeling sick with worry and can't sleep over what occurred in our home over the weekend. An argument between our 2 sons aged 13 and 16 got our of hand and my husband stepped in. All of a sudden the argument became very heated between my 16 yr old and his Dad and escalated to the next level. It started with my husband and son pushing each other then my husband restraining my son in a head lock and they both ended up on the floor. My son is taller and stronger than my husband. My younger son was very distressed and he and I tried to come between them with me yelling to stop. My husband came to his senses and left. When my husband came home several hours later he was very remorseful I told him that he is the adult and the parent and this is not acceptable and if it happens again he will need to leave. He has apologized to all of us for his outburst, this is very unlike him and he has been unwell and under a lot of stress in his business. Only the night before they had gone out together and had a great time. I love my husband but can't get past this incident. My 16 yr old will not speak to his Dad and I have tried to talk to him about this situation but says his father tried to choke him. I know my son is very upset and have asked my husband to keep trying to talk to him, he can't just pretend everything is OK. I don't feel as though I can talk to any of my friends about this as I am so ashamed of my husband's behavior. Has anyone had this experience? Is it common for this to happen? Please I need some help.

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Beth - posted on 04/27/2011

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OK, this is very hard for all of you right now, but you need to take a deep breath and calm down. This is not the end of the world, and it is not the first nor the last time a father and son got into a physical altercation. Was it right for them to go at one another? No. Are they BOTH at fault? YES! Quit putting all the blame on your husband, and be not just a mother but a wife as well. You husband feels bad enough already, quit beating him up emotionally. Let's put a little perspective on this, if your son hadn't been disrespectul and pushed him, he would have never gotten putten into a restraining choke hold. His father did not try to 'choke him', he wasn't being punched in the face, and he's lucky he didn't have a father who really has a temper, because if he did he might have gotten a broken nose rather than a bruised ego! Boys that age have a tendency to 'stand up to the old man', and your son gave it a go and failed, which is good for him! His father needs to be backed up by you, and you need to tell your son to apologize to him for shoving and fighting to begin with, and THEN your husband can apologize for his part in it. But to put all the blame on your husband is giving your son the upper hand psychologically, and the balance of power is getting thrown off, and it's not going to be good in the long run.

Support your husband, he is the king of the castle. You are the queen, and while you love your children, they need to know they are subjects...loved and cared for, but subjects that are expected to respect the both of you and follow the rules! Oh, and your son not speaking to his dad isn't going to kill anyone...I'd let that go by the wayside. I bet he speaks to Dad the next time he needs money or wants to borrow the car!

It will all work out. Good luck and God bless!

Louise - posted on 04/28/2011

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My husband and son have done this also. it is terrible to watch. Both my sons have wound there dad up to breaking point and lunged at there dad. My eldest son is very stocky and strong and could of laid his dad out if he wanted to. My younger son has also had a pop at his dad and thinks this is the only way he can communicate. i live on egg shells when they start to row, it is normally verbal but at time it does get a bit of push and shove. My husband does not want it to go that far and does try and defuse it but my son has such a temper at times. I have explained to him that fronting up to his dad is not the way to go. But it is like two stags in a pack they but heads frequently. I can tell you that things do get better eventually when they realise that dad will always be head of the house no matter what. My elder son has now moved off to university and the relationship is now a very good one between father and son. My younger son has curbed his temper a bit and now has a girlfriend and is not home very often and when he is he goes to his room rather than sit in the lounge with us. At some point he will move out and the relationship will heal. I know they love each other really it is all down to male pride.

I don't think you should be to hard on your husband if he was breaking up a fight or asserting his head of the household status. He did not harm your son just restrained him. I think when it has got to this point what was he ment to do. Your son will think twice about attacking his dad again. I am sure your husband feels as bad as you do. Draw a line under it and move on. Maybe he went to far but he was pushed!

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Howard - posted on 11/09/2013

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I agree, the mother sounds like she is using this opportunity to emotionally beat her husband and diminish any kind of influence he has as a parent. This can be a terrible scenario for the father. The woman is not being a parent but hiding in a foxhole and only popping out to scold her husband when she should be admonishing her son.

Samantha - posted on 09/03/2013

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"My husband and son got into a physical fight and it really helped resolved some major power issues of who's still the grown up in this relationship. My husband is bigger and strong and he could have hurt my son but instead when he (my son) had completely lost control and was throwing punches left and right."

What an extraordinarily creepy, evil and destructive mindset. Shame on you.

Janeen - posted on 05/12/2011

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My husband and son got into a physical fight and it really helped resolved some major power issues of who's still the grown up in this relationship. My husband is bigger and strong and he could have hurt my son but instead when he (my son) had completely lost control and was throwing punches left and right. My husband screamed "and you know what I LOVE YOU ANY WAY". Sometimes men need to do this and I don't think you should be upset with your husband at all. If you ask me your son is lucky he didn't get more. He's not allowed to be wild either. Anyway the end of my story is. My son had to do 20 hours community service and it put him in his place within the household and within life in general I believe. A real learning experience. P.S. He also had to pay for the door he ripped of f it hinges (Sometimes hitting in the pocketbook is just as effective)

Constance - posted on 05/01/2011

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@ Amanda, yes your son got into it with his brother but you are right your husband it the adult. Choosing between your son and husband is something that is very difficult. If it was me in the same situation I would handle it the same way. We should always put our children first because in a situation like this if you tool your husbands side it may damage your realationship with your son.
You are the one who has to take control of the situation. There has to be an apology from both sides. Make it well known you will not except this type of behavior from any of the males in the house. I know you husband feels bad and it isn't a behavior that was typical but he always has to remember he is the adult.
Good luck to you. They will be able to mend this bridge but they are going to need your guidence.

Shawnn - posted on 04/28/2011

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Back in "the day" this would have been called a "manhood rite". In other words, common occurrence. Just because your husband and son got into a physical confrontation does NOT indicate that your husband is horrible, nor is he in the wrong. Your son, in the heat of the moment, took on his dad. MIne has done the same, and it ended up with him in a headlock, my (mobility impaired) husband in control, and saying "you thought you could take me, but I'm still your dad"...

The boy has been the most respectful, helpful kid since. He needed the sense knocked back into him. Teenage boys (and girls) are a hormone factory from the get-go. Sometimes it comes to a head, and sometimes a physical confrontation. Like you, my sons are both taller and heavier than their dad, but when push came to shove, dad made his point.

From the sounds of it, your son still doesn't realize that he's been so disrespectful. Rather than trying to force the apology, his dad needs to sit down with him and explain why he felt the need to physically restrain the boy, and they need to talk it through. Ultimately, your son needs to know that he is NOT automatically in the right. You said the argument got more heated, and then they started pushing each other. Would you rather have had your husband allow your son to physically walk all over him? That would have set a horrible precedent! It would only have encouraged your son to escalate the next confrontation into the physical, because he “won” once and dad did not stand up to him.

Unfortunately, by giving your husband the ultimatum of "if you do that again, you leave", you have enforced your son's belief that he is right and dad is wrong. Not a good thing. Dad did what he needed to do to get the situation under control without anyone being severely injured. Look at it this way: your son’s argument escalates beyond verbal into physical, and you try to stop them. Your oldest son, not recognizing that you are mom, in the heat of the moment, swings on YOU. Would YOU be able physically handle it?

It is heartbreaking to watch. I was in your shoes! But, ultimately, things have worked out for the best in our house. My son admitted that he was surprised that his dad not only COULD get the better of him in a physical confrontation, but that he actually DID! The first thing you need to do is get on the same page with your husband, though. Quit blaming him for what is actually a very common experience. (No one ever likes to admit that they “lost control” with a kid, even if the loss of control was not that much, and the kid really needed it)

Best of luck, Amanda! Hang in there! This is a wonderfully supportive community, and you will always find that there is at least ONE person in the world who’s been in your position and can relate!

Pam - posted on 04/28/2011

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This happened at my home when I was a young girl and I still remember it to this day and I am 40. My father and sister had a bad argument and my father i respect with all my heart and is amazing but when he lost control that once ONLY and my mom intervened. My sister took that hard but it did go away and they have always been very very close. My dad and her have an amazing relationship to this day, it did not scar the bond. I know my dad knew he was in the wrong as was my sister. There was no hitting or anythiing, my father just restrained her when she was loosing control.

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