Kids make decisions basically from birth and let us know what they prefer. We have always let them have as much autonomy as possible, but that is different for each child. While my 8-year-old for instance, prefers to do his homework in the morning (he is an early riser and does it himself without any reminding or help, before I even wake up), my 17-year-old (now 21) needed strict supervision and wasn't allowed the internet password before everything was done.
We let our teens pretty much come and go as they please, there was never a curfew. But then, we knew all their friends, we knew where they were and the rule was to have the mobile phone switched on. That wouldn't work for everyone, some kids need a time when to be home or stricter supervision concerning sex life, etc. Ours were very late bloomers in that respect, our girl had her first kiss, her first boyfriend at 19, our boy his first experiences at 20, but still hasn't had a girlfriend.
Pocket money was earned, all of it. Either through babysitting other people's kids, or house chores. What they spent it on was their decision.
Meowmix, what you said about privacy in your house (not allowing closed doors and you being able to enter without warning) seems to be an example of not allowing what I consider to be a basic part of privacy- knowing that you are for sure alone or not. I mean, does this include the bathroom? I'm specifically thinking of personal sexual exploration.
If that weren't comfortably allowed in my house, I would consider it severe micromanagement at age 12.
Yea, I answered that question badly. I went back and reread my answer and thought about my actual behavior. We have a fairly open line of communication in our house. I do allow closed doors as long as you are not cutting yourself off from family. I do knock and wait for an answer if I need to enter. Sometimes I want to check on my son and make sure he has completed a task he said he was going to complete or I need his help with something. My reply made it sound like I actively go out of my way to open closed doors. I don't. I have better things to do with my time. The door is rarely closed in any room of the house unless the kids are trying to keep our dogs out of the room and it's not because I enforced anything. Even my son rarely closes his door. Maybe he saves his exploration for the shower. Or when everyone's asleep. As for the bathroom.. wow, I WISH they would close the door and that is one of the few times I say "omg, guys, close the door!" So yea, bad answer on my part. I am generally thinking about some specific times in which opening a closed door was necessary, which may have made me sensitive to that issue. Also, my daughter and her best friend, giggling like maniacs behind a closed door usually means they are doing something they shouldn't (prank calls, throwing glitter everywhere, painting sticks with my nail polish, etc.), so I knock and say "Hey, that sounds fun. What are you all doing?" and I will probably open the door. I'll rephrase what I said "We are a close knit family and we communicate a lot. All my children get along in that they actively engage each other. So doors are rarely closed in our house because everyone talks to each other, shares with each other, etc. Sometimes my son does want his door closed. As long as it is not cutting him off from family, it is fine, but I may knock on the door and make sure everything is ok, or that I need him to set the table, etc."
Just as my husband and I wouldn't decide to have sex when the kids were needing help with homework, my son I'm sure, saves any sexual exploration for a time when he will not be interrupted by his sisters playing (or asking him to play a game with them) or at a time when I might ask him if he's finished his homework. I have never interrupted him.
Exactly. I read my OP and, wow, I can see where it went wrong. I sounded like I was marching around the house saying "NO CLOSED DOORS!" I wonder what mood I was in when I posted that. Sometimes my son is DJing in his room with the door closed and I might pop in to listen to him DJ (I think he's pretty talented) or he might call me in to hear something new he's tried or have me watch a DJ related video. Today my girls hosted a "Veteran's Day Party" complete with homemade cookie dough they made, games, singing and balloons. We all attended and it was actually fun. OK, we closed the door so the dogs wouldn't eat the cookie dough or the pet rats who were out enjoying the party, too. Thanks for understanding!
So, what do you DO about it? Or what would you do, if your son were grumpy and rude to you, anyway?
Example: One recent school morning, my 14-y-o had no school uniforms because (as it turned out) he had left them all in his gym locker after football practice, even though I have reminded him often to bring them home and put them in the laundry; I bought him a duffle bag specifically to transport clothes to/from practice; and if I ask, he always says his clothes are in his bag. He was sullen and pissed off that I figured out he was responsible for his own problem. He'd been moping around all morning, feeling sorry for himself and assuming I hadn't washed his clothes or had given his clean uniforms to his brothers.
Since he can't go to school without a uniform, I let him borrow one of his older brothers' (who wear the same size), but explained that he could only do it once and had to bring it back (along with his own). I pointed out, if his brothers misplaced all their uniforms, it wouldn't be right for me to give them his until he didn't have anything to wear, either - and it was the same, in reverse. He glared at me and curled his lip.
Then he pointed out he didn't have any shoes, either - again, as though this was someone else's fault and he had been wronged. He had 3 pairs of tennis shoes in his bedroom that still fit fine, but he's grown bored of wearing them. He had a pair of dress shoes he just doesn't like to wear to school. A week before, I had asked if he wanted me to buy him some loafers (or something besides tennis shoes) and he'd said no. The pair of tennis shoes he WANTED to wear, he'd left outside the day before, after playing with the dog, and they were muddy and wet with rain. With conscious patience, I pointed out the choices he'd made (and the ones he still had). He yelled at me in a completely hateful, sarcastic tone, "Thanks for all the HELP!"
Certainly, he SHOULDN'T take his own laziness out on me. But what would you do, in a situation like that, when he did anyway?
In your case, I would have shrugged and he would have had to wear his regular clothes to school. I'm sure there are some sort of consequences to wearing his street clothes to school? Chances are, I would have warned him the night before. I probably would not engage his bad mood the morning of... I would not argue with him. He knows. He KNOWS he should have brought the uniform home and doesn't need me to tell him. And I have given in to the urge to say "Well... I TOLD you... " and it never results in anything productive. If my son is being grumpy and antagonistic towards his sisters, who are more likely to engage him when he's in a bad mood and argue with him, then I would probably send him out of the room or tell him he needs to go take some deep breaths and calm down in his room. (Edited to add: I would also talk to my daughters and request they just leave my son alone right now since he's feeling angry this morning). MOST of the time he will and he'll come down and either 1. apologize for his outburst and give me a hug or 2. mope about and be sullen without taking it out on everyone else.
The biggest thing is not to engage in an argument. You're right, it's not your problem. So don't let him drag you into making it your problem, but (at least in my opinion) he's allowed to be grumpy because he made this mistake he's just not allowed to blame everyone else. When he's calm again, ie: that evening, maybe, you can address the issue of forgetting the uniform and brainstorm some ideas with him about how he can remember to bring it home. Maybe he DOES need a little help, but he won't admit anything while he's grumpy and angry. ;)
Meemee I'm laughing. A few weeks ago my 12 year old went for a bike ride and stopped at the store to buy poster board for a project. I was super impressed that he remembered he needed it and then took the initiate to head out and get it on his own. I died laughing when he called me the next morning in a panic because he left it at home and needed me to bring it up to school. I happily did it partly because I didn't have a good reason not to and partly because he was so grown up in managing it get it himself in the first place!
oh the life of a teen. tween. they get so much right, have so much great intentions and then when the time comes - they forget.
|Teens , Pre Teens|