As I sit in Starbucks with my tall pike place and the perfect oatmeal (which really is almost perfect!) I can't stop thinking about 16 y/o. Are all kids of this age inconsiderate and disrespectful to authority??? I know you are thinking "it depends on how you raise them" but, I think I can honestly say I raised mine to have a deep respect for those around them, especially parents and other adults. I spent the last few teenage years of my life living with my aunt Eva and her 3 daughters and 1 son, one thing I learned was to appreciate everything I received while in her care. My cousins treated me like I was their sister, my aunt and uncle treated me like I was their daughter. I feel many choices I have made in life are a direct contribution from them, they taught me a lot about properly caring for my self, financial responsibility (although that lesson went directly out the door when I got out on my own... Can you say credit card?..) I learned a lot about family and life to say the least. I never intended to have children myself but as we know, not all plans go as smooth as we would like.
As I eat my perfect oatmeal, I can't help but to wonder how perfect my parenting skills are (not)! Just yesterday, my 5 y/o cried giant tears with words of "I can't tie my shoe,,, you do it,,," whine, cry, whine... After he tied his shoe we head out to the truck for a quick run to the store, as I hug him I say "mommy is not trying to hurt your feelings, I'm trying to teach you the joyso f doing things for yourself" then I say " I guess I baby you to much" to which he responds "that's why I can't do anything for myself..." and then he stares out of the truck window. Humph, he has heard this somewhere, do I treat him like a baby still? I guess I coddle both of my kids to a certain degree.. The difference between the two is my 5 y/o expresses himself vocally where 16 y/o gets angry and hates his parents (cause we love making him miserable) and he seeks refuge at the homes of his friends. I have been home now for over a year, not being in the navy has given me a full time life with my family, I now have had the opportunity to observe the day to day routine of my family. It mainly consist of me doing everything for them (but that's okay for me, especially while I am with out 'job'). But, I have noticed for 16 y/o a major change in attitude. Something that continues to confuse me is his lack of acceptance when he has made a mistake or does wrong~ it's a blame game for him and of course hubby and I are the two main culprits who he blames for his short comings... IS it our fault?
I think we carry some pretty laid back rules - good grades are rewarded with an endless amount of entertainment ie; laptop, cell phone, game systems,television, friends... All that is required from 16 yo to keep his privileges is that he maintains AT LEAST a D-average in all FOUR of his classes.. Yes you read right, D-average. even though HE knows he struggles in school HE completely expects the teachers, tutors, learning programs to do the work FOR him...) and when he finds his grades below a 50 he says he doesn't know why the TEACHERS are not inputting grades on assignments.... really??? His bed time on a school night is 9:30 and weekends gets him and extra 3 or so hours more of stay up time (pending yard/house work the next day. He is assigned small task like cleaning his room daily, laundry weekly, yard work (depending on the season and how quick the grass grow or how fast the leaves fall from the tree). He has been given a number of TOYS that many kids wish for, but it is never enough. Sometimes I think to myself "i can not wait until graduation" and then I feel bad because I'm afraid that he is not going to truly be ready or know how to deal with the real world. So my new task is finding a mentor, boys and girls clubs, volunteer work. Getting him more involved with the community to help get his head out of this bubble I call "Western Branch" and into the real world... we'll see what happens.