Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

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

Archive for the tag “parenting”

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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Youngest Son: Unplugged

Teenagers.  They think they know it all.  They think that they’re the first person to ever think of or do something in the history of everything.  They believe they’re invincible, physically and emotionally, and that they can do what they want, when they want, how they want, and that parents will never know the difference.

Where have I heard this before?  Oh….that’s right!  I posted about how Youngest Son tried to abuse his Facebook privileges and posted items that were not appropriate.  And that post was only two days ago!  And guess what?  He tries to pull another stunt like I won’t punish him twice in a week.

Today I allowed him to look at his Facebook page while I monitored everything he viewed.  I only allowed him 15 minutes of time online because he’s still on my naughty list for the previous infraction.  Today, however, he did use common sense and didn’t repost items from his friends and even avoided watching videos some had posted because he knows that the house rules say he’s not allowed to open documents or watch videos without prior permission (because of the possibility of viruses, etc.).

This evening, he went into where the family computer is and asked Husband if he could look at his Facebook page.  Husband was in the process of signing-in to a website and told him that he (Youngest Son) could not look at his Facebook page at that time because he (Husband) was using the computer.  Youngest Son stomped into the living room where I was watching television.  I had not heard anything from the other room and asked why he was so upset.  He told me that Husband had stated that he (Husband) would never supervise him while he looks at his Facebook page and was upset about it.

I went into the other room and asked Husband why he wouldn’t share the responsibility of supervising Youngest Son on the computer.  Husband said that he didn’t say that and called Youngest Son into the room.  Finally, I got to the truth — that Youngest Son had lied to me in order to try to get me to make Husband let him (Youngest Son) use the computer.

Wrong move.

My kids have known all their lives that one of the worst things to do is to try to play Husband and myself against each other.  Asking for permission from one and getting rejected and running to the other to ask the same question hoping for a different answer is not allowed.  And getting caught doing it, well, that’s just going to make any punishment worse.

So, tonight I decided that Youngest Son needs a good example of just how much he won’t die without Facebook.  Or the Internet as a whole.  Or his cell phone.  Or any other electronic devices.

That’s right.  I’ve unplugged a 13-year-old, much to his disappointment, and he can now learn for the rest of this week and all of next week (into the weekend as well) what it was like when his father and I didn’t have video games or text messaging or television (except when the news was on when our parents watched it).  Nothing electronic will be allowed.  Not even small toys that run on button batteries.  He can read, draw, walk the dog — lots of activities that generations of us did before every child seemed born with a Nintendo DS in their hands.

He’ll only be allowed to have his cell phone when we leave home (in case of emergencies) and when he’s at school (for emergencies only as well).  No portable game systems.  No console game systems.  No MP3 players.  He can use his calculator for math class but he won’t because he doesn’t need it.  And he can listen to the radio when he’s going to bed because he’s got the same problem I have — if it’s too quiet when trying to go to sleep, sleep never comes.

And Husband and I won’t be punishing ourselves through this.  We can use all of the electronics we want.  We can watch the only television in the house when we want (he’ll just have to go to his room).  And we can play all the video games we want, even though we won’t.  I’ve always hated it when trying to punish a child and ending up being on the receiving end of the same punishment (no television, etc.).  Now he’ll have to deal with hearing us going on with our lives while he contemplates the error of his ways.

Hopefully he will learn from this, even though it does give me an easy topic to blog about when nothing else happens during the day.

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