Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Abuse of Power?

Yesterday at breakfast David was very ornery. Nothing was going to make him happy—not even homemade blueberry muffins. So at the breakfast table I tried to explain that his attitude wasn’t going to make for a great day at school. He then told me that he was mad at me because I was mean to him, just because I was the parent and was allowed to.

Hmmm, now what was this about? So after asking him about his statement I found out he felt that I was abusing my power because I made him clean his room, hang up his coat after coming back in and take off his tennis shoes when he came in from playing in the mud. I have no idea how he can imagine these common courtesies of life could ever be considered abusive.

So, I decided to teach him a little lesson about what Mom really does. I explained that he would have to plan, make, and clean up his own meal last night. I would cook the meal I had already planned and take care of Rich’s and my meal, but he was on his own. I also explained that since his room is a mess with K'Nex and Legos all over the floor, I would not be putting his laundry away. So if he wanted warm cloths in the morning he would need to put them away himself.

David began his meal prep as for an adventure, “I don’t mind, this will be fun.” It only became an issue when the food was cooking and I made him clean the items he had used in preparing his meal. The cleaning wasn’t any fun.

During the meal Rich told David he needed to eat with his fork, since David was using his fingers instead of the fork. That’'s when David whined, "then I’ll have to wash the fork!" This from the same child that in the last week had to change from using a fork to using a spoon and then back to a new fork—all duringone meal.

Following the meal he was not a happy son as he was made to clean up the pan, cup, plate and fork he used.

I am happy to say this morning’s breakfast was a much happier event for us. When we talked about the situation from yesterday I explained that he only had to take care of himself for one meal on one day. Think about what I must do when I cook for three people, three times a day and it’s every day. He looked shocked as I said this and asked “three meals?” Since he is at school he never thought about the fact that Mom and Dad still eat lunch even when he’s not here.

The room is still not clean, but the cooking, cleaning and taking trash out took a lot of his time last evening, more then he ever thought it would.


Mrs.RGS said...

Another wonderful teaching moment! Funny that he came back to the "you're being mean to me" ploy. That is what he was saying during the "clean your room" struggle.

David is in that confusing time of life -- to young to be independent but to old to behave as a child.

You've got your hands full. My hat's off to you. And my prayers for your continued wisdom are on my heart.

Kim said...

I know it's hard since he has entered the teen years. We try hard to treat him and discipline him with more adult-like responses. It can be so hard when he then reverts to child like actions.
I will say that we didn't even mention cleaning his room last night and he did it anyway! That's a first. I asked him right before bedtime what was the difference between last night and the previous day. He admitted he had never known how hard and how much time it took to take care of the house.
Your prayers are very much appreciated as this fall we look to the whole new adventure of HIGH SCHOOL!
I am already preparing for the change between the schools. The middle school he's in has a uniform- khaki pants and white, dark green or black polo shirt. The high school has no uniform so I just started setting aside money each week so that before school starts we can buy new cloths. This way we can go and he can pick out what he would like to wear. I am hoping that his curent school pants can last until the end of the school year, I bought them too long at the beginning of the school year and he has grown so much that they are quickly becoming high waters.