I Was a Teenage Asshole

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I think I have a realtively fucked up unique parenting style.  I allow the boys to play video games for hours on end.  I let them watch too much tv.  I don't get worked up when I hear the accidental "shit" come out of their mouthes.  As long as their clothes are clean when they go off to school, I don't really care whether Nora's shirt matches her pants or Jimmy's sweater is on inside out.

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.


Aunt Juicebox said...
November 19, 2009 at 10:49 PM

Excellent! I think you did just the right thing. I love the whole "flying vomit" image! I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. You remind me so much of me. I will let my daughter pretty much say ANYTHING she wants to, she can even talk back to teachers and other adults, IF it's warranted, but don't DARE tell ME you aren't going to do what I say, and for sure don't tell me to do it my damn self. When you have a sudden uncomfortable pain in your asshole from your momma's boot, you'll remember your manners.

Daffy said...
November 20, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Fantastic! Bravo! STANDING OVATION! Now, please hop on a plane and march your bassass self to the school I work in. SOMEONE needs to slap some sense into these mutants and no one here is going to do it!


Vinomom said...
November 20, 2009 at 10:38 AM

God can you come and give me some techniques? While I would love to say I don't tolerate rudeness I get way more of it than I deserve. Just thank your lucky stars you didn't have GIRLS.

I, also, was a teenage asshole. My kid is nine. So just look at what I have to look forward to!

Great job!

Anonymous said...
November 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM

NICE work! Doesn't matter if his apology was forced: bet it will be a long time before you get another "You can take the damn garbage down to the road."

Here's my take out the garbage exchange with my daughter:

Her: Are you going to pay me?
Me: Yes. You get to live here.

Jennifer said...
November 20, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Good for you! Sounds like what i would have done and I, too think ones children should be afraid of you. My hubby disagrees but I think he should be afraid too. LOL. (jk, I think)

TONI B. said...
November 20, 2009 at 4:20 PM

I hope I'm as good of a mom as you are when my kids are teenagers! I probably would have smacked my son in the face...if I had a son (because I have anger management issues! lol) but your way was non-violent and still got the point across and you didn't have to hurt your hand :) Love it!

adrienzgirl said...
November 20, 2009 at 6:58 PM

We have the exact same parenting style. Although, I don't tolerate swearing. I don't care if they do it, just not in my house.

I have had almost the exact same scenario happen at my house with the daughter.

Aunt Becky said...
November 21, 2009 at 12:50 AM

Brilliant. That's the way to do it, my friend. We don't do rudeness here, either, and while Ben isn't a teenager yet, the ground rules have been laid.

dadshouse said...
November 21, 2009 at 1:32 AM

I think your techniques are great. I am similar - my kids are encouraged to express opinions, but they need to be considerate and respectful. And I am considerate and respectful to them. I've pulled the no dinner trick on my daughter when she's staying on Facebook too long. I dish stuff up for her brother and me, then put the rest away in the fridge. She apologizes, serves herself, and isn't late to dinner the next night.

prashant said...
November 26, 2009 at 2:12 AM

You can take the damn garbage down to the road."

Work from home India

Laura said...
December 12, 2009 at 10:03 AM

LOVE IT! You're my twin aren't you. This is exactly me. I completely agree with you that it is about them understanding that they can't always decide they are not going to follow rules. I feel it is also extremely important that they grow up understanding that in life you have to do things you dont' want to do.

kanishk said...
January 1, 2010 at 9:52 PM

i would have done and I, too think ones children should be afraid of you. My hubby disagrees but I think he should be afraid too. LOL. (jk, I think)

wagyu beef