Daily Archives: May 18, 2012
I’m in need of some real advice here and wanted to share my story. Maybe some of you may have dealt with this issue in your family whether it was when you grew up or if you have children of your own.
Okay, enough prefacing already!
As I’ve written in Women Unplugged before, my son is 18-years-old, graduating high school in June, has sort-of plans to go to a junior college in September, doesn’t want to look for a job, doesn’t like to do chores, and expects us to still pick up the tab for everything he does with his friends just because we’re his mom and dad and that’s what moms and dads DO.
So, I read a book about what teens are like. It wasn’t an advice book, but rather a study in what to expect. The name of it is Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager. The author doesn’t tell you how to handle your teen, but tells you what he might act like during the teen years. But the thing that struck me the most out of the entire book is when he says that instead of withholding things that you do for your kid when he’s acting creepy, you show him through your example that you’ll do things for him anyway because you love him unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. Therefore, you’re teaching him the value of kindness and giving and love with NO conditions of wanting something in return.
When I do a good deed for a stranger, I don’t expect that individual to do something for me in return, do I? No, I don’t, because I’ll never see them again in my whole life. I just DO it. So his suggestion is to do the same for your kids in order to teach them love and kindness no matter what, true unconditional love. Therefore, when Dylan turns into his creepy self, instead of taking things away from him and cutting him off at the knees with regard to money, I lecture him on his selfishness and attitude of entitlement, and then continue doing his wash, feeding him, driving him to school, and the like.
Now, my husband doesn’t work this way. He takes things away and cuts Dylan off financially because of Dylan’s crappy attitude. And this morning Dylan informed me that he’s no longer going to do chores because Dad has taught him that dangling the dollar in front of his face is the only reason Dylan is supposed to help out around here. He wants to “prove a point” to his father.
So what does one do in this situation? I lecture him about our family being like a basketball team, which he can totally relate to, and that we have to work together no matter whether we get paid for it or not. And now “I” have to do Dylan’s chores because he’s trying to prove a point to Dad? Dylan asks why should he do chores if he’s not getting paid for it because Dad says if you’re going to behave like a creep I’m not paying for anything any more?
AACK! What do I do?