Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Accepting suggestions on “training” a teenager!

Again!  I can’t believe I have to go through this crap again!  The kid is 13 years freakin’ old — how much longer will it last???

I had to go to an appointment today.  Usually I can trust Youngest Son to be on his best behavior (or something like it) while I’m out for a little while.  I come back and what do I find?  I find one of the premiere rules of the house broken and him lying to me about it.

We have a very strict rule about the computer.  Because of the questionable content out there and the threat of viruses, worms, and Trojans, we do not allow our children to access the computer unless we’re with them or we give them a five-minute window to check email or Facebook.  We did it that way with Eldest Son and we’re doing it that way with Youngest Son.  Even though he has a computer in his room, there is no Internet access to it (not even Wi-Fi) and he’s not allowed to turn it on without our permission.  I have a special key that allows Internet to be connected if he needs to work on a homework assignment but either Husband or me is in the room with him while he’s online.  Usually, though, he wants to use our main household computer (from which I also run my online business) because it’s newer, faster, and has more programs.  Again, though, he must be supervised while using it.

I was gone for an hour and came back to find that not only had he been on the computer when I was gone and without permission, he’d also accessed the Internet and even looked into the history folder for our web browser.  That threw up red flags all over the place because he could have been to a site we don’t allow and deleted the information.  So, I asked him what happened while I was gone.

Nothing.  He gave me the standard teenager shrug of the shoulders and a monotone “I don’t know” as an answer.  I started listing the items he has privileges to use and/or owns and which ones he would be losing as he continued to feign an inability to recall anything he may or may not have done over the hour that I was away from home.  Finally he said he looked at the history to see if we had bought him a birthday present online.

He must think I have “stupid” written on my face because I don’t believe that for a moment.  And I told him that as well.  His birthday is over a month away and I certainly wouldn’t purchase anything this far in advance, mostly because I never know when he’s going to pull a stunt like this and end up grounded again.

A couple of years ago he took something of mine and lied about it.  I could prove that he did it and even showed him the evidence.  He continued to lie and for over half and hour he lied and lied until he realized that he was just digging himself a deeper hole of punishments.  And every time he continued to lie or did something else against the rules, we just added the time for that infraction onto what he’d already earned.  The kid was grounded for about six months!  You’d think he’d have figured it out by now that we, his parents, are much smarter than he is and will find out when he does something wrong (especially since he’s not good at covering his tracks) and that just admitting to what he did and apologizing would get him in far less trouble than lying about it.

I don’t know what to do.  Seriously.  This keeps happening over and over and over and I’m sick to death of it.  Right now his “privileges” are to eat, sleep, use the bathroom, do his household and yard chores, and practice his trumpet.  He can read while he’s in his room (he’s got LOTS of books on many subjects).  But there will be no television, video games, computer, MP3, cell phone, telephone, texting, or going out unless it’s to walk the dog or we’re all going somewhere together.

This is my first summer home in years.  Usually I’m deployed away to work a disaster and I’ve missed being able to just spend free time with him.  No schedules; no worries about work or him having to go to school.  He’s only been out of school three days and he can’t keep it together!  I really worry about him in the future.

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