Friday, September 10, 2004

I CAN PLAY THAT GAME TOO

In an earlier post I referred to our children as demon spawn. Well tonight my daughter proved me right. Her horns veered their ugly head...somehow that phrase sounds backasswards....shouldn't that be, her head veered it's ugly horns?...OK, so it weren't purdy !!

Young teens will start to test the waters, heck all children do from day one. The balancing act parents play is precarious at best. One thing is for sure though. The younger they are the smaller the problem. The older they get the bigger the problems. Now lets face it , 14 is the age of pending disaster . So if ever there was a time to dawn my shield to deflect the arrows of anarchy...it's now....God knows it's just going to get a lot worse.

Now as a parent faced with each new level of the proverbial power struggle, it is imperative I meet her straight on. Whatever she throws at me I can deflect or plan a counter attack using the wisdom accrued by honing my parental skills. That oxymoron in itself can only help me assume I can affectively practice GUERILLA WARFARE FOR PARENTS.

Now its very important to pick your battles. I choose to overlook the landfill that is her room atleast until its laundry day. It's her space . I figure live and let live. I do not make a big deal about the stupid stuff. Sure I have to remind her to pick up her damn back pack in the middle of the floor. I hooked a foot in the strap walking by one time and went flying. A few inches to the left and I am sure it would have taken surgery to remove the dog dish from my face. Then the few times I have walked in through the front door and half way in , it stops short but I keep going so my face gets plastered against the door cause it jams up over a running shoe left just infront of it. I could go on , but I think you get the picture.

Where I do draw the line or put on the armor is when she is disrespectful or disdainful. I will not put up with her using a bad attitude or answer back like I was one of her peers. If I lose the battle now in basic respect I lose the war for the rest of the difficult teen years.

Let me finally tell you what actually happened today. It started off as a very normal day. When she got home from school, I asked her to empty the dishwasher . A little later I asked her to empty the dish washer before I started supper. So as I serve the supper I tell her AGAIN that as soon as she is done eating she better empty the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen. Ofcourse she mumbles yeah yeah .

Now this is a common thing...I know many parents aren't as patient as I but I always have an ace up my sleeve. I would also like to assure everyone that I am not a tyrannical parent that gives chores to my child comparative to slave labor. She does not get up at the crack of dawn to feed chickens or milk cows and muck out the stalls in the barn. Ok so we don't have a farm but still. You won't find her on all fours washing floors in ragged clothes. Or cleaning out the fireplace after she has chopped the wood to replenish it. That reminds me, does anyone know what the best tool is to beat rugs with? I digress, where was I? .....Oh right.....I ask for the basic courtesy's of picking up after herself and doing the dishes ...which means filling and emptying the dishwasher (a luxury I didn't have growing up) and washing up the kitchen and the few things that have to be done by hand.

So to get back to what I was saying. The evening progresses and yes I have asked her yet again, then....... Oh yeah, the phone rings and it is a friend of my daughter's. Can you see my ace showing yet? So my daughter comes bouncing out of her room to ask if she can go out with her two girlfriends. I bet you all figured out what my answer was. A resounding NOOOOO.

Can you just hear the "BUT WHY?"mom. I calmly tell her that I was tired of repeating myself about the dishes when I shouldn't even have to tell her once, given it's her regular chore. Had she just been able to get it done maybe she would be going out with friends. I also pointed out that I had no reason to be nice if she can't also return the favour. Privileges are earned and she did not earn the outing based on her disregard shown at my repeated request.

She went back to her room in a huff to tell her friends that it wasn't going to happen and I am sure to add what a witch her mom was. I then called her out of her room to finally do the dishes. She then told me "I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT!!'".......do I have to tell you it was not in the best tone of voice either? ...THAT was my crossed line.

I calmly went to her room. I told her to shut off the computer and tv, both being privileges she just lost. Then I suggested she put a few clothes for the weekend in a bag. She was going to her dad's house for the weekend. I refused to be treated that way or put up with her ATTITUDE because I had the gall to say NO to her . If she wanted to test me and push my buttons, she had better learn now that she wasn't going to win. She said I couldn't force her to go anywhere and that she wasn't putting any clothes in a bag. I told her that was fine. I put a few things in a bag. Then calmly told her that she had two choices. Either she decided to put some shoes on to go with me to her dad's house or she chooses to continue this bad attitude and realize that as generous and loving a mother I could be, I was also a total bitch from hell if provoked and she would lead a life of total misery for the next week if she had too. You want to play that game daughter, I can play too.....she had 5 minutes to decide what it was gonna be.

She chose to angrily stalk out of her room and proceed putting her shoes on. I am glad so ask her if she is ready to go. She informs me she will be walking. It is across town and it is now very dark out so there is NO WAY she is walking to her dads . I tell her asmuch but she is already out the door in a huff. I take a deep breath , get my keys and start off to follow her. I catch up with her and through the open windows tell he to get in. She says NO....I tell her that it will look pretty stupid if she continues to walk alongside the vehicle while I am going the same speed as her, all the way . She still refuses. So I decide to call her bluff and click on the hazard lights and just drive along side her . By this time , cars are going around me lol. I am as close to the sidewalk as possible and with the windows down I don't even have to talk loud for her to hear me . Half way there I tell her that she can get in anytime. She tells me NO and that I am a mother hen!!! I laughed and told her that she says that like it's a bad thing. Nothing wrong with not wanting her to walk across town in the dark at her age or any age for that matter. She then tried the *I am never allowed to do anything *card. I laughed again and said...none of this had anything to do with that. This was all about not wanting to do the dishes, then being called on it when she wanted something from me. But ultimately it was the buttons she pushed in testing the limits of how far I would let her go. If I let her get away with that kind of tone now and the upper hand in winning the walk battle, I might aswell throw up the white flag now.

So rather then do that, I diligently used my hazard lights , drove at 4 mph next to her ALL THE WAY to her dads. I have to say I am surprised at her determination/pigheadedness. Had it been me, at that age, I would have caved near the beginning from the sheer mortification of the situation lol. I have to hand it to her for persistence in just wanting to piss me off by walking and hand it to myself for not letting her get that satisfaction lol. Once at her dads she just went straight to her room and I spoke to her dad who already knew we were on our way. Needless to say he was glad I did what I did, we atleast agree on most things concerning our daughter. I also repeated the fact that rather then scream at her all weekend I would much prefer we both chill out before things got worse.

Some may not agree with my method. Some may even think it was silly. I believe I handled it the best way I knew how. I earned a few nicks in my armour but I would rather have those now then have huge gashes later . Our children will make our hearts bleed and it is a never ending learning process along the way. I think if we just try to use good logic and persistance, some humour and humility, maintain a mutual respect that will only teach them how to respect others .....maybe , just maybe we can get through the teen years and still have a decent relationship with our kids along the way...........let's hope anyway, it won't be from lack of trying or dropping the ball of parenthood.

8 comments:

JustSue said...

Welcome to the teen years girlfriend...don't suppose your ex would let me drop the boy off there once in a while too eh? I miss not having the "you are going to your father's" card to play! Oh and btw...did she ever empty the dishwasher? Or is it still waiting for her return?

Anna said...

She's definitely a persistent one, I would have caved and gotten in the car too. I bet she'll empty the dishwasher the next time you ask.

Squirrels said...

My kids' friends think that we(my hubby and I) are the coolest parents. They always say we wish our parents were like your parents. But our kids hate us. So I figured out no matter what you do, you will be terrible and wrong. That "I never get to do anything" is an often used line. Tell her when she says that, you can make that come true. :) Oh and leave the dishes or make some new ones for her to do when she gets home. Its like whos gonna give in first. Do not lose! You could for fun, take your extra clothes and throw around in her room everywhere.
Since I have so many kids. When I ask tell them to clean, its always the answer, "I didn't do it, I shouldn't have to clean it." Or "It wasn't me, it was...." They never did anything and you can't prove it! So at least you know who did or didn't do it. :)

Shannon said...

LMAO!!!

I am so proud of you girlfriend!!

I can see both of you doing that too....I agree with the others....leave the dishes and eat out all weekend!

You are right though. Tough this one out, the rest will be a snap.

Hugs.

me75 said...

Best tool for beating a rug? A 14 year old girl ;-)

Amanda said...

This cements my plan to adopt a 23 year old man.

Anonymous said...

Very nicely handled Moon! I think respect is the most important things kids need to learn, and the sooner the better. Someday she will thankyou. Fool

Anonymous said...

I would have turned on some loud ADULT rock n Roll, and boogied to the music, while you were following her (with the windows down)...That should have mortified her. Just remember, it's YOUR house, YOU are the parent, and it's NOT a democracy.

Stoody