My sympathies are (to some extent) with Nathan Graziano who has an 8 year old son occupying the marital bed space where he should sleep:
There's already a dude sleeping in my spot.He makes a mistake, however. It's not your side of the bed, Nathan. By any reasonable assessment, it's your son's side of the bed. Possession is 9/10ths of the law, but the other 1/10th is the willingness to enforce your rights. Nathan, you are making no attempt to enforce the natural rights you have to the company of your wife and the marital bed. You have voluntarily given away all this to your son, in exchange for not having to put your foot down.
The dude is my 8 year-old son sprawled out beside his mother, his small mouth open as he enjoys his slumber on my side of the bed.
"Shit," I'll mutter as I make my way back, blanket in hand, to the couch.
His excuse for this pusillanimous behaviour?
I'm the father, and I should take care of the situation, lay down the law and tell the boy, "No more." But I don't. I’ve never been good at being The Heavy.Right. This is what a "father figure" is supposed to do - provide guidance to his children, and providing an eventual sanction against the children going off the rails. When it's absent - well, we've seen what happens to areas where a high fraction of children do not have fathers present. Nathan Graziano, if you are not prepared to be a father to your son, I assure you that you will revise this opinion when he starts looking for someone who can be. Revelling in his status of "useless with tools, only recently learned to put air in a tire, and I write poetry" is not doing his testicular fortitude any good whatsoever.
It is not unusual for sons to grow up with a healthy fear of their fathers, and I don't believe this is a particularly bad thing. For many boys, they learn to respect authority through fearing their father's wrath.
Hat tip to Amy Alkon who notes in the comments:
Being "the heavy" is called "parenting."Not nice. Not subtle. But, you know, she's on the money.
I believe my parents' willingness to do this is what helped me grow up to be somebody who makes her deadlines and pays her taxes and is generally personally responsible.
If you can't do this, you should have used birth control.