What I do not tolerate - rudeness. Zero tolerance for rude kids. Kids do not tell me what to do, they are allowed to voice their opinions (and often do) but they are not the boss in this household. Please and thank you are a must. When I ask them to do something, they are more than welcome to not like having to do it, but do it they will.
When we arrived home this evening I asked Monty to take the garbage down to the road for pick up tomorrow. I always forget about it in the mad dash to get out the door in the morning and then it sits for another two weeks in the bin. Do you know how gross that is? Anywhoooo, this is how it went:
Me: Monty, take the garbage down to the road please.
Monty: I'll do it in the morning.
Me: No, you won't, we'll both forget about it in the morning.
Monty: I'm not going to school tomorrow so I won't forget.
Me: Oh? Is there no class tomorrow?
Monty: Yeah, there's class, but I don't want to go tomorrow.
Me: Laughing hysterically
Monty: Moooooommmmmmm why are you laughing?
Me: In what type of warped reality are you living in my dear sweet boy? You will go to school tomorrow.
Monty: Why? Why can't I stay home?
Me: Why would I let you stay home? You're not sick.
Monty: Everyone else at school gets to stay home when they're not sick.
Me: If everyone else at school jumped off the bridge, would you? (OMG, I can't believe I said that to him, it's so fucking lame and my mother used to say the exact thing to me and it would drive me into an absolute fury because it's just so stupid)
Monty: Fine than, you can take the damn garbage down to the road.
This is the part where I pull an exorcist, my head starts spinning on my shoulders and vomit flies everywhere.
Me: Oh you did NOT just say that to me.
Monty storms off into the house. I follow. He goes to his room. The other two children are cutting a wide path around me, because they know the explosion is coming.
I proceed to pour my evening glass of wine and start preparing dinner. Monty is still in his room. Jimmy comes out to the kitchen to inquire if I'm mad. His brother puts him up to this. I firmly believe having children that are scared of their mother is a parenting necessity.
Eventually dinner is ready and I call Nora and Jimmy to the table. That's right folks, I'm going to starve the little asshole for being a dick. Monty is a 17 year old boy. Next to sleeping and that thing he does in the shower, eating is his favorite pastime. He is 6'2" and weighs over 200 lbs. He loves his food. Denying him dinner is pure torture. I swear it was purely coincidence that we were having chicken jambalaya...his favorite.
The two kids and I are just sitting down and Monty comes creeping out to the kitchen. I inform him he can sit down with us when he apologizes for being rude. An argument ensues over whether what he said was in fact rude. My house, my food, my rules is my motto. I explained that it is not ok to shout at me, refuse to do something that I had asked him to do all because he was pissed off by my refusing to let him skip school. (I see the absolutely horrid structure of that sentence) Monty is stubborn, I don't know where he gets this, but he's incredibly stubborn. He stomps off to his room and the rest of his happy family resume enjoying their delicious meal.
He does not come back out. We finish eating, Nora clears the table, Jimmy does the dishes and Monty is still in his room. He has enough fat stores to keep him alive for several months without eating. No, he's not fat, the kid is over 6 feet tall and on the wrestling team, I'm not worried about him starving because he misses a meal.
The lure of mama's chicken jambalaya was too much for his weak- ass will. One hour and thirty-eight minutes (yes I tracked every second of it) he comes to me and says, "Mom, I'm sorry I was rude to you", Then he puts his sneakers on and takes the garbage down to the road.
It kills him to say it. I can clearly see that. I thank him for his apology and heat up his dinner for him.
One could argue because it was a forced apology, it means nothing. I would argue that it's more about setting boundaries than the actual apology; about teaching our teens that they cannot be assholes whenever they fancy. Teenagers have an infinite ability to be assholes if left to their own devices.
I'm sure a child psychologist would have a field day with my parenting techniques.