Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Power Struggle

My son and I stood glaring at one another, arms crossed, frowning; angry.

"You can't make me do something against my will." he stated with grave certainty.

This is fourteen. It's a battle for autonomy, and I understand that. But unfortunately, the need for independance and the maturity with which to deal with it, have not developed at the same rate.

"I can take care of myself." he says.

"I can make my own decisions." he asserts.

And then he does something of such inordinate foolishness as to makes one's jaw drop.

Usually, I take these kinds of pronouncements in stride. I try to give him small freedoms when I can. Because I remember the impotence and the indignance of being babied, when clearly, I was all but grown up. I remember my determination to forge my own path and how I fought tooth and nail whenever I thought that right was being usurped. I've come to realize from my own adolescence as well as that of my children, that most times, trying to strongarm a teenager accomplishes nothing other than to make them dig in their heels all the more firmly.

But this? This was not a bid for independance. This was nothing more than a battle of wills. Neither of us bothered to pretend that it was anything otherwise.

"Oh really." I said calmly.

Physically, I really can't make him do anything against his will. And that's a disconcerting reality. At 5' 11" and 150 pounds of pure sinew, bone and muscle, he towers over me. I can no longer grab him firmly by his upper arm and march him in which ever direction I please. I can no longer wrap my arm around his tummy and heave him off his feet. I can't spank him. I can't physically dominate him in any way, shape or form. And he knows it.

He is testing those waters now, to see how much leverage his size and stature will give him.

My dead calm unnerved him a bit, but he wasn't about to show it.

"Yes, really." he said, confidently.

That did it. I was good and mad. I really try to keep my cool when dealing with him, because shouting doesn't help matters. And I try to look at things from his perspective, because being a teenager is hard and confusing and not much fun sometimes. I wouldn't go back to those days for all the tea in China.

But sometimes...sometimes he makes me so angry...that when Diplomacy Mom is debating about the best way to handle her wayward manchild, Hard Ass Mom steps in and takes over.

"Alright then, hand over your cell phone."

"WHAT?"

"Your iPod and your xBox controllers too. And say goodbye to your internet."

"WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?"

"Listen dude, the law says I have to provide you with food, clothing, shelter, education and basic medical care. The law does not say I have to provide you with a cell phone, a computer, an ipod, and an xBox live account. Those are privileges. Privileges have to be earned. How? With good behavior and respect for Dad and me and some gratitude for all that we give you. Since you don't feel you have to give that respect or that gratitude, I don't feel I have to provide you with those luxuries."

"MOM! That's not FAAAAIIIRR!".

"Fair? You want to talk to me about fair? Do you really want to have that conversation with me?"

"No Ma'am."

"Oh, so suddenly it's "Ma'am" is it?"

"Yes Ma'am."

"So, do I have to drag you into the car, or what?"

"No Ma'am."

That was the end. He got in the car with no further protests and didn't even pout once we arrived at our destination.

So the battle is won, but not the war. Not by a long shot. It's going to a long, fierce campaign. Luckily, the victory is both of ours. I get the peace of mind that comes with knowing I turned my son loose on the world equipped to be a responsible, productive part of society. He...gets to be a responsible, productive part of society.

And for those of you thinking to yoursevles...

"My child will never speak to me what way..."

Forewarned is forearmed. Your child most certainly will. Just accept that now. Adolescence changes all the rules and turns your children into recalcitrant strangers. They do things you never thought they'd do, they say things you never thought they'd say. That doesn't make them bad...it just makes them teenagers. We all went through it. Lord but I said some awful things to my Mother.

That baby and toddler stuff? Pffft. Cakewalk.

Gee...have I said that before?

17 Comments:

  • At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    yep! I remember when my older daughter, at 7, tried to give me the "head wobble bob thing". I informed her that she is too white to pull that one off.
    My girls are 7 and 9, tall for their age thanks to a 6'4" father. I gave up with the physical intimidation long ago. They had probably rather I smack em one than one of my more creative dicipline methods. DO YOU NEED THE CHAIR (chair, facing a wall) strikes more fear in their hearts than anything right now.
    ame in tn

     
  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger IIDLYYCKMA said…

    "I brought you into this world and I can take you out." - Yes, I did indeed say that to my son as he was sassing me.

    He's only eight. I fear the teenage years -- because I do remember how I was.

     
  • At 7:31 PM, Blogger Amy Sue Nathan said…

    You know it, girlfriend. Raising little ones does little to prepare you for raising teenagers. What's up with that? Should it just flow? Just when I think I've got it down pat, their alarms go off and it's something new. And in August i'll have a Senior and a Freshman in high school, I have a feeling it's going to be a whole new world.

     
  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I get it now from my son and he's THREE.

     
  • At 8:13 PM, Blogger the only daughter said…

    You've said it.

     
  • At 8:55 PM, Blogger Kathryn in NZ said…

    happens waaaaay before 13.... dammit
    I have a 7yr old for whom removing privileges doesn't work - she simply decides she didn't need/ want it anyhoo.
    sigh.

    Love the post - as always. YOu rock!

     
  • At 9:37 PM, Blogger Shelley said…

    My 14 year-old daughter's cell phone is the best weapon *I* have. Or should I say, the threat to take it away is the best weapon I have. The cell phone and the internet access. And yes, they WILL talk to you that way, and anyone who thinks they won't is just kidding themselves. Fourteen is such a funny age...one minute they're making you laugh hysterically, and the next minute you want to strangle them. Jekell and Hyde.

     
  • At 6:29 AM, Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said…

    My son is 10. I don't think he knows that he is physically as strong a I am, but he is. Oh, he is.

    It stinks! I know that by next year, he'll be over my head (I'm short...) and all I'll have is the privileges card.

     
  • At 12:06 PM, Blogger Lee Laughlin said…

    Oh I so know this is my future. Thanks for the ammunition.

     
  • At 5:49 PM, OpenID wheelsonthebus said…

    and this is an argument for giving kids cell phones and x boxes

     
  • At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Compared to dealing with ambitious and self serving adults in a workplace - most aspects of parenting is a walk in the park. I think the most difficult part of parenting is when your heart breaks for them - as yours did when your son was going through his difficult time with the bully. A power struggle with a teen? Not so traumatic. Heck, I suppose its all relative to whatever other challenges you have in other aspects of life.

     
  • At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Tracy (t-gardens) said…

    "No Ma'am" - OMG I *laughed*!!

    Scoooorrrrrrre for Hard Ass Mom

     
  • At 6:20 PM, Blogger Woman with kids said…

    I love (insert eye roll here) people who tell me what I should do with Boy 1. I should make him do his homework, make him do his chores, make him be nice to his brother. All well and good. I try to get him to do that, but exactly how does one *make* an obstinate teenage boy with ADHD and ODD do anything they don't want to? ...uh, end of rant.

     
  • At 6:38 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    My kinda parenting: Parenting by removal. I have taken away everything so many times it's not even funny. I now resort to bringing the verboten booty to a friend's house to hold for me because my kids have found every hiding place in this house. And that is what 16 is like!

    Why wasn't this on MCMM? Ahem!

     
  • At 7:26 PM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    I love your parenting stories. You speak the truth.

     
  • At 10:25 AM, Blogger Trenches of Mommyhood said…

    *sigh*
    I'm buying some bricks to place on the boyz' heads STAT. I don't want them to grow up!
    Thanks for keeping it real though.

     
  • At 6:28 PM, Blogger gkgirl said…

    i so needed to read that...
    this is the uncharted area
    {for me, anyway}
    that i am heading into...
    and i'm scared.

    :O)

     

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