As a single mom with twins, my children often team up against me and try to take me down. There is never a dull or quiet moment. They seem to take turns driving me insane and getting on my nerves. So, my adorable 11 year old son seems to think fat meat is dry and his mother was born last night. Like many boys his age, he hates doing chores, homework, and anything else productive that removes him from the television or video games. The rule in our house is no video games on school nights and no television until all homework and chores are done. Does he listen? He listens about as well as an elephant does acrobats. My charismatic, handsome, talented, and intelligent son follows instruction and abides by rules with as much accuracy as a blind man trying to playing darts.
For some reason, my son has gotten into his head that he can continue to miss classwork and homework assignments with no consequences. I don’t think he even cares anymore that his video game system is not plugged in. Taking things does not affect him. He finds other things to occupy his mind and time. You really have to admire his creativity and imagination. This boy turn pens and pencils into fighter jets, erasers into missiles, and crayons into wrestlers. Why listen to the teacher when there is wrestling match happening courtesy of your pencil pouch? Who cares about positive and negative integers when Triple H and John Cena are going at it?
So the question becomes this…how do you punish, discipline or motivate such a kid? He does not care to anything unless it directly affects him. He doesn’t even want to chip in and help around the house, but he will surely ask everyone for help when he has a task to complete. The vicissitudes of life, maturing, and responsibility are all things he would much rather ignore. I don’t blame him. Why grow up, embrace change, and become responsible if the only thing that happens is loss of all privileges and some else is going to do the work?
In my sneaky mommy mind I have come up with a plan to fight back. He wants war, well he’s got it. There’s no way my 11 year old son is going to out smart me. My plan is simply this, I will give him a hefty dose of his own medicine.
Tactic #1 – For each missing/late assignment, he will do 50 push ups, up-downs, or leg squats (I reserve the right to decide which). This will take place every day the assignment(s) are not turned in.
Tactic #2 – I will no longer do anything for him. Let me explain. Of course I will cook and drive him to school, help as needed with homework, etc. However, I will no longer be washing his clothes or his dishes. He will wash, dry, fold, hang, and put away all his own clothes. He will be given a set of dishes; 1 plate, 1 bowl, 1 cup, 1 set of eat utensils. He will only eat from these. It will be his responsibility to clean them. The same with his bath towels, and bed linens.
Tactic #3 – He will only be given what is required by law. That means he gets food, shelter, a ride to school, and a place to sleep. All the extra stuff like Movie Night with popcorn, cookies, and ice cream are gone. When I take special trips to get frozen yogurt, he will get what his money pays for. Since he has no money, that will be nothing.
Tactic #4 – Make him practice his playing the drum until his arms get tired. Maybe this way he will stay focused instead of trying to hit the other kids with his drum sticks.
Now I have just typed a pretty good game plan if I don’t say so myself. Will I follow through? That remains to be seen. I can be a pushover. Get me frustrated enough and it’s World War 3! Parenting does not come with a handbook. Rather it is a daily, lifelong, learning experience. Whether or not I stick to all the things I have mentioned, the important thing is that I recognize the need for positive change and improvement in key areas. I will continue to do my best.
Lord, help me so these kids don’t conquer me!