~my thoughts about life~

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Oh, the drama of being a 12-year old boy!  So many responsibilities....where to begin???

Son #1 has been getting quite mouthy lately.  Anything we say to him is met with sarcasm, complaining, yelling, or eye rolling.  We haven't even entered the teenage years yet!

Last night, Hubby asked #1 to take out the trash.  His response was "I have to do everything!"  Everything?  Really?  A list of my daily activities immediately started scrolling through my mind - Laundry, Cooking, Cleaning, Chauffeuring, Financing, Grocery Shopping.... the list could go on and on, as each of you know.  Well, Hubby had had enough of his attitude and blew up.  It involved screaming, phone and iPod grounding, and lectures.

Then, as a typical Mom who hates to see her kids in pain, I began questioning myself.  Do I really give him too many chores?  That lasted a whole two seconds before I started laughing hysterically.  My kids all have responsibilities.  Those responsibilities get greater as the child gets older.  Baby Girl just has to help pick up her blocks and Legos when she's done playing.  Big Sis has to keep her room somewhat clean (I help out from time to time) and do her daily chore.  She is responsible for lining up the many pairs of shoes kicked off on the rug.  The boys have to keep their room clean and bed made and they do one chore a day. 

When chores were being reevaluated some time ago, we had a discussion.  I gave them a list of things they could help out with.  They picked folding laundry and emptying the dishwasher.  Fortunately, both of these things need to be done daily.  So we alternate back and forth.  If you folded a load yesterday, you have dishwasher today.  That's not too tough, is it?

The boys also have to help take the trash out each week and drag the trash cans back up to the house.  They watch their sister outside and do little odds and ends ("Go put that stroller back in the garage.")

But then I began thinking about what an Amish child of the same age would be doing.  Of course, he's homeschooled so he would have more time at home.  But he's up and moving while my kids are still in the middle of a REM cycle.  He's milking cows and feeding chickens.  He's hauling corn and hay and sweeping out the barn.  At the age of 12, he's surely driving the horse and buggy (or large farm tractor if they're progressive Amish).  He works from before sunrise until dark.  Do you think he complains?  I would guess not.  He would likely get a switch across the behind if he talked like that to his father.

We have always prided ourselves on being tough on our kids.  We hold them to a high standard and expect a lot out of them.  In turn, we hope that this will help them become well-adjusted adults who are capable of managing their lives.  So I think it's now time to raise the bar and demand more respect from our son. 

We may have a tough road ahead of us as we near the teenage years.  But as I look back, I remember pacing the floor with him in the middle of the night as he was teething with gas pains.  If I was able to handle that, I can certainly handle this.  A tween is just a different kind of screaming, teething baby.


Theresa said...

I completely relate to questioning yourself and also to kids being mouthy. I am not looking forward to the teen years at all.

Thanks for reminding me of the Amish. I am going to try to remember that the next time my kids complain about doing chores and I wonder if I really do ask too much of them!

k said...

Oh boy. I do not look forward to this. But, like you, I think about what kind of adults I want to churn out. Not being able to handle responsibility, whining about hard work and being shiftless is not what I want for them.

Hopefully helping them not be this way won't put me into an early grave.

imageisee.blogspot.com said...

You are soooo on the right track. Maybe you could make a deal with son #1. "Complain about doing this chore and you'll get another added to it". If you follow through, he probably won't complain too many more times.

The teen years are really rough for the mom, but just to give you a head's up, when the girls reach that age it could be even worse. I'd develop a game plan now if I were you.

In answer to your question about asking permission when taking a person's photo, sometimes I get nervous and sometimes I won't get the shot because of nerves. I ask permission if I'm real close to them, otherwise I don't. The legality is that "in a public space, there's no expectation of privacy", and since I'm using these photos for my own personal purposes (not to send to magazines, etc), I usually try to bite the "nervous" bullet and shoot away.