Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Can healthy 9 yr old's have heart attacks?

DISCLAIMER: Sorry - title is my sense of humor... this post is about my twisted parenting style, not health issues for children.

My 9 yr old is REALLY stubborn.

I know this and recognize it - because my 24 yr old son was too.

And they come by it honestly - I was worse as a child. I used to call my mother up to complain about my kids and she would just find it utterly hilarious that I was saddled with stubborn children. It was just too funny.

So, I've been working on getting my son to clean up after himself better. It's been a battle. The battle I've been losing the worst of all - is the car. The backseat is pretty much his domain. I don't ride back there. I don't store things back there. 90% of the time, he's the only one back there... and I've let things slide because I was trying to win the battle IN the house.

But, it's gotten so bad in the back seat that we're losing things in it. Like, he has no room for his legs because the trash, toys, mittens, hats, etc are up to the seat and overflowing.

I've tried several tactics and nothing is working. Until last night.

Last night I offered to clean it out for him (which I have done before when he was younger).

He liked that.

But I told him that I was going to throw any toys, video games, etc that I find - into the garbage.

He was still actually ok with this. Sadly, he's pretty thrilled with getting 'new' things. And not so much into taking care of older things. And while there are some things that I am sure are hidden in that back seat that he would love to find? It's kind of out-of-sight, out-of-mind for him. He won't miss what he doesn't realize he has... and he's willing to risk losing it over doing the work to clean up after himself.

BUT.

Then I told him that if there was even ONE video game, cartridge, or whatever that got thrown away?

....

...

boom-boom-BOOM...

That I was NEVER, EVER going to buy him another video game ever again. EVER. For his life EVER. As in, if he can't do the bare minimum to keep his video games, then he doesn't deserve new ones.

...

dramatic pause.

Ok, mom. I think I want to clean the car out by myself.

...

Pretty, please, mom? Can I clean the car out by myself?  How much time do I have, do I have enough time to clean it?

Mom, can I have some plastic bags? I can fill them during the ride to daycare or ride home with the trash. And I can put the good things I want to keep in my backpack.

...

I think I hit a nerve. I'm not sure I feel guilty. It really, REALLY is messy back there. And he's old enough to throw away his own trash. He really is. I just had to find a way to get past that stubborn-ness gene.

We'll see how long it lasts. I'm sure that I can expect it to get cleaned, but not necessarily stay that way... but he's a boy. And clean cars aren't high on his list of goals. I get it. But I think I know what might kick him back into gear when he lets it get too bad in the future now.

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