Amie and I were discussing parenting techniques especially as it pertains to our teen-aged Foster son, Azur. I was surprised and a bit put off to learn that she did not share my views on what was acceptable or unacceptable behavior. It actually made me stand back and question myself. Am I becoming irrelevant in regards to today’s teens? Am I too harsh? Do I even have what it takes to cope with my boys when they turn into teenagers? Am I a teen player and should I take one for the teen?
This whole thing started when I reluctantly had to wash the dishes after making dinner, while a young, healthy and capable kid ate and disappeared into his room. (It wasn’t his scheduled dish-washing day. He does the dishes two days a week and the puts out the garbage once a week). “We didn’t take him in to be our servant”. Amie said in his defense “No we didn’t but we also didn’t take him in to be his either.” Was my old and outdated reply. So we settled for leaving his schedule the way it was. No need to cause undue stress. Oh, I also agreed to ignore the old ‘remove all hats in the house’ rule. Gosh, that’s so ancient and old testamentish! I can’t believe it actually bothered me to see him with his hat on while indoors…I must be getting old…and bothered.
Note: The very next morning, I opened up my daily devotion. I was starting a 7-day series based on the website and media broadcast, ‘Focus On The Family’. The topic for day one leaped at me, “Children And Chores“. I kid you not! Probably written by and old-fashioned and irrelevant guy like myself because it stressed that parents should actually get teens to do chores as it teaches them responsibility plus other intangibles.
We are from different cultures, worlds apart literally. So when Amie asked, “Don’t you remember being like that as a teen?” I couldn’t. Not that I couldn’t remember, I couldn’t be like that as a teen. It wasn’t allowed and accepted. Not unless I wanted to live on the streets. Even staying in my bed after waking hours was not an option unless I was sick. But then that was so long ago, things have since changed, right? The wiring is all different now. Elbows on tables at dinner? Good to go. Walking away from your parents while they are still talking to you? Acceptable. Not letting your parents know that you’ll be 5 to 6 hours late getting home after school? A non-issue. They all work themselves out in the end.
I need to get it out of my head that all teens are guilty of the crime of disrespect until proven innocent. Sorry teens.
So I am understanding that I will only have control of my kids until they are around 12. After that, I must allow them to be teenagers, not too many chores, stay in their room, text while I talk to them or at the dinner table, wear hats in the house…just be teens. So much for me being the man of the house…Ladies and gents, tough love is no more.
Good thing I am good at adapting. (And adopting). I think I could still be the coolest daddy yet! Son, grab us a couple of beers from the fridge and let’s talk about sex. Oh and just one little thing, can you at least remove your shoes before climbing into bed? Pretty Please…I just hate washing mud off the sheets, that’s all. Sorry to be a bother and hope I don’t cause you undue stress.
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