Thursday, October 27, 2005

teenagers addendum

Well, my teenager came home last night - said he was willing to converse. We both apologized for losing our temper. But, he refused to admit that he held any blame. He told my mother that I had kicked him out. He told me that I had 'locked' him out. I reminded him that the entire sentence had been "if you're not going to live by the rules in this house, get the h*ll out". That he did remember. He just conveniently didn't tell his grandmother, his friends, his friend's parents the first half of the sentence. He thought he was going to come in and explain to me what it would take for me to not push him to the point of losing his temper.

I asked him if he really thought that he could ask me to allow him to talk back to me, be disrespectful of me, not do anything I tell him to... While I know I need to take part of the blame for what happened the other night - I'm not going to just let him do whatever he feels like whenever he feels like it and never do the things he's asked to do.

But, we did at least discuss how to keep it from happening again. If we have another confrontation over 'talking back' - I'm to tell him that I don't appreciate his tone/attitude/lack of respect. Then I'm to 'nicely' tell him what I need him to do for me, and then if things go bad - say "we'll discuss this later". If he feels I'm not respecting him or giving him a bad time - he's to say "you sound upset, do we need a break?"

Do I think it'll fix anything? Nope... but I want to try to teach him how to 'fight fair' even if I have trouble sticking to the program. With the temper he inherited from his father and myself, he's in for a rough future with friends, girlfriends, etc. If he doesn't figure out how to keep things from getting to the 'point of no return'. It takes a lot for me to reach that point - but I did reach it the other night when he became violent. That was always his fathers way to push me as well. Too much history there to deal with or think about.

I talked to him about the point when he had become violent. It was because I was frustrated that he was being disrespectful and quite simply, I had reached a point of wanting to 'stand firm'. I told him that I was going to shut down his computer... that was the breaking point for him. I calmly said - I'll shut it down properly - and he freaked out and grabbed me in a choke hold over shutting down a pc.

teen - 'my pc is really precious to me'.

me - 'but posessions can be fixed or replaced. Family you love can't be'

teen - "but it's really precious to me, and it was expensive"

me - "my SUV was expensive and it's precious to me"

teen - "so you'd get violent if I - oh wait - I already wrecked it"

me - "Yes, and I know that you being safe is more important than any vehicle. I didn't get mad at you for having an accident."

teen - "Yeah, but if I were to try to destroy something in front of you that you found precious - you'd get violent with me to get me to stop"

me - "No, I wouldn't. Besides, do you really think shutting a pc down is equivalent to destroying something?"

That got him thinking... who knows? I doubt the conversation did much to make a difference, but I had to try.

We also had the conversation about the fact that he had agreed when I bought his car for him that he would pay the payments... and if he didn't have a job - he'd be paying them with 'sweat equity'... and that he's refused to do anything above and beyond his chores because 'I'm going to get a job any day now'. He said I had to 'make a list' and he would 'pick things he wanted to do off of it' and I said - ok 'everything, that's the list'. Since he wanted a more detailed list - i.e., don't say kitchen, say clear counters, clear table, clean oven, sweep and mop floors, do dishes, take out kitchen trash... that kind of thing. And I said - there you go, you can make the list yourself... that is the kitchen. Now go around to all the rooms - and you can come up with a list for each. Somehow, he knows what needs to be done, he just doesn't want to admit it - because then he'd have to admit that he just doesn't want to do it - typical male!

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