Sunday, November 2, 2008
Parents of Teens: UNITE!
Okay, it's been a busy weekend of Halloween activities, taking naps (mom), setting off the security alarm at church, taking more naps (mom), doing laundry, soccer games, going to church, etc. You get the idea. A nice quiet weekend. At one point, Katie accused us of being boring because we were happily watching sports and/or reading a book. Gasp! A book. She said she would not be boring when she is older. :-)
Let me preface this by saying that I have great kids. They do step up to the plate when really needed. They can take the little ones to play while I take care of something else. Or, they willingly assist with cleaning things (without complaining----a key component) especially when Dave is out of the country.
But tonight, I lost my patience. I need help from all you parents of teens. I know you are out there! So please join in the conversation.
When I was growing up, we had a job chart on our refrigerator. I thought it was dumb and very embarassing to anyone who came by the house. But it dictated what our daily chores were as well as the ones to be completed on Saturday before going anywhere. These jobs ranged from setting/clearing the table and loading the dishwasher to cleaning bathrooms or washing the kitchen floor.
I have found it's very hard to continue this sort of thing with our lives right now. Maybe it's because we aren't always home together at dinnertime/Saturdays due to sports or music lessons. Or maybe it's because sometimes it's just easier to do it myself to be sure it's done right (and I get some peace and quiet). Or maybe it's because I want to be the nice mom. Or maybe it's because I want them to be able to sleep late on the weekends because we were never able to---not that I could anyhow.
I feel like when I ask them to clean up after dinner (wash the dishes, put away the left-overs, clean the counter, etc) it's like asking them to cut off their right arm. Not always, but sometimes. Or, I have to keep calling them back to do the job right. Then I start hearing mutters of "Why do we have to do everything" to "Stop yelling at me" to "Geesh, what now?" Or, if I tell them to clean their rooms, it's a battle to get it "mom approved".
I KNOW for a fact I did the same thing as a kid. I know I did. I was a very mouthy and sassy teenager. I am thankful that mine are not as bad as I was (knock on LOTS of wood).
What do you think has caused this kind of mentality? Is it just teens being teens? Is it us being more permissive than in years past? (note: my kids would say we are very strict compared to their friends) Is it the "I am entitled" mentality creeping in?
Or is it the simple things like our lives are too busy; we aren't together enough anymore as a cohesive unit; we can't enforce a "do chores before seeing friends" on a Saturday because half the day is spent at sporting events?
What are we teaching our kids? Will they know how to keep a room clean? Will they be able to really clean a bathroom? Cooking? Well, I'm no Martha Stewart so they are on their own there! But, I want them to leave me knowing the basics.
Do we need to take away the cell phones, computer use, cable TV, and convenience foods? Return to the basics? I know I would not survive. I have to have my phone to keep in touch with the kids. Having a driver makes me very anxious. In fact, that driver was mad at me tonight when she headed out to see her boyfriend (another issue--it's a school night!!) so I was worried about her driving recklessly because she was mad at me. No computer? I'd go nuts. TV? Who cares? I don't watch it anyhow anymore. Convenience foods? That's dinner.
How do we fix this generation? Or is it just my house that's messed up? Please don't let me think that! Come on all you parents of teens!! Lurkers, please join in. What are we doing wrong? How can you help me overcome these issues?