Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
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Thanks for all the feedback! Some thoughts:
1- In some ways, I've had it really easy with the twins. They're mildly Autistic and developmentally delayed and one nice thing about that is they've never done much lying, manipulating, pitting one parent against the other, throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store hoping to embarass me into buying them something to shut them up... all of those things require an understanding of what other people are thinking which is actually fairly sophisticated. In other words, maybe it is perfectly normal or even admirably intelligent 11-year-old behavior to:
a - Have your parents say "We don't think it's appropriate for you to have your own computer,"
b - Figure out that your grandmother (who sometimes buys you expensive gifts) probably doesn't know your parents' opinion, because no one talks about computers with her - she doesn't even own one!
c- Understand that if you talk Grandma into showing up with a computer for your birthday, your parents won't feel comfortable telling her she shouldn't have bought it.
2- It definitely was manipulative behavior. Kids have many things these days which my husband and I think do give them a sense of entitlement, an unrealistic idea of what they'll be able to provide for themselves when they're on their own and which teaches them to devalue what they have. We very consciously don't let them have TVs in their bedrooms. They don't have hand-held video game systems or TVs in the car, so they can be plugged in and tuned out to the people around them, wherever they go. When we buy them a Wii or nice mp3 players, we expect them to take care of them and not expect the latest upgrade from us every year. We've made it clear that even if we become milliionaires, we will not buy them expensive new cars for their 16th birthdays or high school graduation. And we don't think they each need their own computer. Their schools have - and use - extensive computer labs and, as of now, fully 95% of their computer time at home is spent on games and Facebook. That's OK, but they don't need MORE of it. They don't need MORE privacy. And we think it's good for them to have to manage sharing the computer with each other, not have the ability to each be on it all the time unless we're breathing down their necks. We have had many, many conversations about our position and the kids all understand it. My step-son clearly and definitely sidestepped us, to get what he wanted in spite of us. And he did it masterfully. And I really don't like that. But again, maybe it's normal for his age.
3- I'm also torn between:
a - He has been through so much S*#@. Maybe we should EXPECT him to feel like we're all here for him to get whatever he can out of us and not worry about respect. After all, plenty of decisions have been made about his life that had nothing to do with respecting HIS wants or needs.
b - Does it benefit him, if we make excuses every time he acts badly? Aren't we supposed to try to raise him to do the right thing and be a good person, regardless what heartache he's been through? (To clarify: it's not that he always acts badly, or disrespectfully. It's just that I always have an excuse in the back of my mind, when he does - and his Dad does, even more so.)
Anyway, we HAVE had a nice day. I took him to the pool with friends and had a picnic and got milkshakes, while my husband prepared the evening feast - to culminate with the homemade cheesecake I bake for him every year. I've sucked it up and this hasn't ruined the day.
BTW - someone asked and my twins will turn 15 in a couple weeks. But they're still in middle school. High school may prove different, but right now all three of the kids tend to be given computer lab time at school, when reports are assigned. They tend to do very little school work on the computer at home.
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate:
... twin sons:
(HS seniors) ... step-son:
(a sophomore) ... our little man:
(a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all