Too Many Irons in the Fire

Tales of a crafty, working mom of four.

Teenagers – argh! 06/03/2009

Filed under: Family — TypeAMom @ 9:58 pm
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I dearly love my teens. That said, they can really drive me up the wall. They are pretty good kids. We have open lines of communication, we have a great time hanging out together, they do their chores (most of the time) without being told more than once, and they are (mostly) good to their siblings. So what is really getting my goat? My oldest darling son doesn’t feel he needs to do school work or answer for himself.

This is a child that has been and can be in advanced classes. He is very intelligent he just chooses not to do his work half the time. If the project is interesting he will work on it. Over half of the missing assignments are completed but never turned in – not even for late credit. It drives me nuts. He barely scraped by second term of his freshman year this year. His GPA was 1.74 with 4 Ds. He literally passed by the skin of his teeth. And that is after he worked his behind off for the finals because he was failing a few of those and didn’t want to go to summer school. Granted he could have fixed it long ago or been turning in extra credit. The icing on the cake was the sticker on the report card stating he didn’t bother to return his French book and I owe $45 or the book immediately.
When I asked him about it he said it was in his room, then he took a nap (which I woke him from) then apparently thought it was within his childhood rights to go play video games in the rec room instead (I also corrected that decision). Now he says he turned it in already. I have heard that story so many times in the last 3 years it isn’t even funny. I would like to believe my son but when it comes to school he is rarely honest.

I have wanted to pull him out and homeschool him for years. To fix this joint issue. It isn’t all him, there is a little responsibility with the schools and districts too. I have had to endure emails from his literature teacher telling me that she is in class with him as she is typing and he is staring at the wall and refusing to work, what should she do. Holy moly, really? I had to start copying the counsellor in on my replies because I honestly thought this was the teachers job to deal with this. Was I supposed to take of work and sit in English class with my high schooler to make the teacher feel better?

As a parent it is my job to make sure my children are prepared to be productive members of society. At the rate my son is going he won’t be and I will have failed him.

I am more than willing to take corrective action but I am alone in my frustration and my plans to correct it. I love my husband but he is rarely supportive of my parenting plans, goals, and decisions. Perhaps it comes from his upbringing that parenting in this fashion is neither necessary, important, or appreciated.

Anyway, I am frustrated so I did something I have never done and blogged it.

If you have another way to get through to a teen who just won’t do his school stuff let me know. I have tried awards, taking things away, and so on. He just doesn’t seem to care.

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A close call & a deep breath 01/21/2009

Filed under: Family — TypeAMom @ 1:32 pm
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Crying by Onion at Flickr

Crying by Onion at Flickr

While watching American Idol last night we heard a big crash, then another, and another – all coming from the loft above. Before we could even question what the cause of the sound was we heard the Princess (our 4 year old daughter) screaming and more crashing sounds. Adrenaline kicked in and I went into super mommy mode, launching myself over the pet gate on the stairs and up the stairs three at a time. Princess was curled into a little ball under what used to be part of the desk and screaming like there was no tomorrow.

This desk had a fixed keyboard tray that jutted out a bit further than the rest of the desk and it had come loose from the desk while she was leaning on it. I have told the children not to lean on it however, it was a cheap Wal-Mart design that didn’t have room for the mouse on the tray. There really wasn’t any way to reach the mouse if you are 4 years old without leaning across the keyboard tray.

When it collapsed she fell forward into the desk and then toppled down into the space that used to be the tray. The repeated crashes were the keyboard, the mouse, the speakers being yanked from behind when the keyboard cord came ripping out, stacks of CD-Roms crashing to the floor and so on. She managed to escape the incident with only one small bruise on her upper arm but I felt terrible when she kept screaming she was sorry between sobs.

It gave me the chance for the talk I have with all the kids but this was Princess’ first one. “I am not mad at you for the desk breaking and you are not in trouble. I tell you not to lean on the tray because it isn’t strong enough and might break. I know that if it breaks you might get hurt and I don’t want you to get hurt.” Princess’ older sister and brothers were very concerned for her and even one of the cats came tearing upstairs to see what the commotion was all about. This was an excellent time for the a talk when a lesson can apply in real time, especially when there are no major injuries.

This was also an excellent reminder for me of how much my children mean to me and how devastated I would be if something really serious happened to them. As parents we make rules to protect our children and sometimes we forget that the rule we made is to protect them – thinking how much that piece of furniture cost us and shifting the focus to the material item instead. When we should be explaining that we don’t want them leaning on a keyboard tray because they could get hurt, we may be sending the message that we don’t want them leaning on the keyboard tray because it will tear up the desk. While I want to impart to my children that they should take care of their belongings, I don’t want them to place more value on belongings than on people or heaven forbid, make them think I care more about a desk than I do about them. The emphasis in the lesson should be on their well-being and when everyone is healthy and money is tight, we don’t always think about (we are only human after all) where we are placing the emphasis, taking for granted that our children understand.

In the end we had lots of cuddle time the rest of the evening (giving my rapid pulse a chance to slow down). The desk is currently off limits and non-functional and the kids are upset that they can’t use the computer. As for a replacement, hopefully I will find a more practical and sturdy desk at Goodwill in the next few days.