Sunday, January 13, 2008

My ass is sore from sitting on this fence

If you do not want to hear about the vagaries of raising teenagers, by all means please stop reading. But I'm going to go on a little rant, vent a bit, and get this out of my system before I hurt someone. And then I will ask for advice. I submit the following:

Exhibit A
For the Precious Daughters, school is their job. That is their main focus. We have decreed it so. As such, we do not expect very much from them around the house. A few daily chores, the dishes after dinner, a load or two of laundry every week (their own, God forbid we'd ask more) . And for the love of all that is holy KEEP THEIR ROOMS CLEAN. This is not a space mucked up by other people. They each have a room of their own. So why? WHY? is it that the beds are not made? The clothes not hung up? The laundry not put away? The trash cans over flowing? The closet doors gaping open?

Exhibit B
The Precious Daughters are academically excellent. They don't party. They have nice friends. They work their plans around our family dinners. Their extracurricular activities include, but are not limited to, debate, choir, robotics, recreational volleyball & basketball, and teaching CCD. They work part-time jobs and don't ask us for money beyond their monthly allowance. (Which ain't much folks!) They don't miss curfew. They tell us they love us at least once a day.

So tell me people; bring down the hammer or cut them some slack? Because seriously? My ass is killing me.


Ree said...

Slack dudette.

Shortman is not an excellent student. He's trying, but he's been lazy and now that he realizes that he's responsible for getting into college next year? I think he's a little scared.

But, he's an excellent person. And for that, he gets a reminder. I have to say, a reminder generally does the job. A couple of times, he's had a privilege taken away, but those times are few and far between.

Close their doors. Thank goodness you have good children.

You asked ;-)

suburbancorrespondent said...

There is no right answer here. But if keeping a non-disgusting room is one of their jobs, then they are not doing one of their jobs. If it really bugs you, then they are not being considerate of your feelings.

I try to get my daughter (teen) to hold to some basic standards of cleanliness, but I swear, it's like trying to get a grip on a handful of jello. So maybe you should just shrug and close their doors. I don't know. But if that makes you feel annoyed or used, it's not a good solution. It is your house.

If you do decide to crack down, a specific list is in order, to wit:

1. bed made
2. nothing on floor
3. top of dresser cleared off

something specific you can point to, so you don't have to rant. Just, is it done, or not?

For me, I decide it is my house and certain minimum standards of cleanliness need to be maintained. If they aren't, privileges disappear. I figure I may be doing a future son or daughter-in-law a favor by trying to teach my kids to pick dirty laundry up off the floor and put it in the hamper.

The kids (read, teens) may try to recast this philosophy as a power struggle, but I'm not going to let them define the rules of engagement. Oh, and they do well in school? So, they are able to do what the teacher asks, and not what you are asking them to do? Isn't that insulting?

But my teen daughter hates me. So, maybe slack is the way to go. Though I think she'd hate me anyway.

Mary said...

I think I give too much slack. Your descriptions of your teen girls sound more than I could hope for. I ask the teens to just keep their rooms from attracting rats and if ever there is a fire, the fireman should be able to enter the room and be able to find you. How hard is that?

Academics? Just PASS!!! I am so disappointed that my girls don't ever make the honor roll. I have no idea why they don't. Their standardized tests all come back with Proficient scores. And their grades show otherwise. I think they do it on purpose.

My oldest is in her first year of college. Living at home. She's really enjoying college and it seems like a good fit for her even though she got mediocre grades in high school. Middle child is a Jr. this year. She got a $1000 college scholarship when she was in the 4th grade. Oh well, we had that one great academic year I guess. I'm cherishing it!

Child #3 already has more rules and we are being more rigid and strict. We're trying a new approach. So far that's not working. I haven't even weaned her yet. *Deep Sigh*

Oh well. They are still precious! Don't fall off the fence!!!

Vanessa said...

I think your kids sound great, no doubt the product of caring parents who are engaged in their lives. I'm not saying lower the bar, but maybe a little more flexible on the bedroom issue? A compromise of sorts? Let them keep rooms more like they like them, but no food, drinks, plates etc since that can cause bigger problems. And maybe just close the door.

drawer queen said...

My vote, let them go on the rooms. It is the space that is theirs and if they wish to live in squalor, that is their choice. I was required to keep my room modestly neat and to make my bed. I got progressively messy from the time I went to college (although had room checks to pass) and when at last I was living in my own one bedroom apartment, one night my phone was ringing, and I couldn't find it. Now this was not a portable phone. I literally had to find the phone jack and follow the cord as my entire apartment was blanketed in clothing, papers, books and shoes and the phone was buried. That day I finally owned my mess and the choice to live differently. I am not excessively neat still, but I can usually find the phone : ) . (at least from a not buried perspective, often it is lost due to portability and misplacement. ) I say let them own their mess and live as they like, in their room of course. They will probably have their come to Jesus moment someday, and then they will know it is in their control to make the choice to live in chaos, or not.

drawer queen said...

Oh, and that said, I do require a cleanup once a quarter or so (and prior to Grandparent's visit)

Mary Alice said...

Oh - this was the topic of the weekend at my house. Your teens sound very much like my teens...their main job is to do well academically and my kids are good too, polite, happy, nice friends, not partiers….all is good...except… for the trail of crap they leave in their wake. Lazy Lazy Lazy.

It all came to a head this weekend when we discovered the eldest had run the car he was using out of oil...never bothered to check the oil. ever. Didn't notice the oil gauge going crazy or the deathly clanging that was coming from the unlubricated engine. Now we are looking at $4,000 minimum to rebuild said engine. I was beside myself, as I see this is another symptom of The Laziness, not taking care of things etc etc.

Messes and thoughtlessness cost us money, in lost items, in time, in things that get broken that didn't have to get broken.

I don't know what you should do about yours, but I told mine I was going to ride their ass like a monkey until new organized energetic clean synapses form in their brains.

Was I too harsh?

blackbird said...

How about a mid-point?

You could, for example, show them this post.