Yesterday I made an adjustment in how I deal with Teenager. I am making a conscious effort to be less confrontational when he slips up. Instead of always being on the offensive and confrontational, I am going to try a new approach and see how it works.
Yesterday, I made a list of his problem areas, the glaring issues that generally get me going. I awarded a points system to each depending on their importance. At the end of the week, when the points are tallied, if he gets a set total in the positive, he gets to bargain for extra time allowed outside or anything within reason. If he goes above the allowable amount in the minus, (for failing to adhere to rules etc.), then he gets fined by docking an hour off his time allowed outside or whatever depending on parental discretion. (I haven’t presented it to him as yet).
So far, yesterday went well. I picked him up from a psychologist appointment and on the way home, engaged him in light convo. Get this, he even bought a burger for the both of us! I am taking him for burgers on the weekend as a settlement.
Last night almost undid all the above. We were sitting down having another light-hearted when the topic got a bit more serious. Let me pick it up from the serious part of the convo.
Teenager: Hmmm…there’s something I wanted to tell you but I forgot.
Me: Well Ok. Must not have been that important then eh?
Teenager: Well…You will only get mad anyways.
Me: Well if it’s something that would make me mad then it is serious and I should know about it now and not later.
Teenager: Well…remember those Nike Gym shoes you guys bought me? I lent them to my friend…
Me: (interrupting) What? You gave your shoes away? Hmm…I am not sure you should be lending your shoes to anyone…(still maintaining calm and poise).
Teenager: Well, (here’s the kicker, pardon the pun), he said he gave them back and they were in my locker and now I can’t find them.
Me: (Getting exasperated but still calm mind you). So you put your shoes in your locker, locked it then when you went back to your locker, you opened it and your shoes were gone?
Me: Come on, tell me exactly what happened. Did you really get it back from your friend? Did you misplace it? Just the truth.
Teenager: See? That’s why I hate telling you stuff. You never believe me! I said I don’t know what happened! I put it in my locker and now it’s not there! ( I could see he was getting agitated).
Me: (Calm again. How do I do that??) Ok, see it from my point. If you had a son who comes home and tells you that he locked his new and expensive shoes in his locker and no one broke into it but they are gone, what would you say?
Teenager: Well I will tell him he can buy another from his allowance next time.
Me: And that’s it?
Teenager: Well yeah…
Me: Ok, well I guess you can just buy another one with your allowance. Heck, I’m thinking you should maybe buy two or three so when you lose one you’ll have backup. (sorry, couldn’t resist the sarcasm but I’m still even keeled mind you).
Teenager: OK (you know the way teenager say it as it ooo kayy)
Me: Hmm…that’s some weird story though. Those shoes just walked out of your locker like that. Hmmm…sounds like you guys have ghosts in your school…
Noticed the ‘new’ me? I could have responded with ‘What??! You went and lost those kicks that you wanted so badly and begged us to buy for you? You shoe-losing-non-stop-texting-non-compliant-kid!!” Then got the belt out and flogged him. (Relax, I am just joking about the
texting flogging). Anyways I didn’t and you know what? I felt all the better for it. Let’s hope that this ‘new’ me can withstand the first major obstacle that comes along…
You still on that flogging thing? I said I WAS JOKING!