Adolescence: In Which Parenting Gets Scary

June 2011, The World of Coca-Cola ~ If you ever go there, be sure to sample the soda called "Beverly" from Italy. It's the best. For realz.

Thank you for sending along birthday wishes to my sweet girl. How is it that they grow so quickly?

Just yesterday Kyra and Jaiden were born. Now they’re ten and are barreling towards the end of their elementary school careers. Next year, they’ll be up at the middle school with me, albeit a couple of halls over with the sixth graders. Still, it freaks me out to think of them up there rolling with the big dawgs. Seriously – I look at middle schoolers and it is amazing to see how much growing they do between the time they start sixth grade and the time they make it up to the eighth grade where I teach. The chorus room is on my hallway, so twice a day I see midget sixth graders scurrying to and from there. They hug the walls and look up at the eighth graders with wide-eyed and fearful astonishment, as if they expect “the big kids” to slam them into lockers and give them atomic wedgies at any given moment.

Getting back to my point, it does cause a bit of a constant spazzniption – knowing that the twins, my delicately innocent genius spawn, will be in middle school next year. WE DEAL WITH GROWN FOLKS’ BUSINESS THERE. The grade levels are fairly segregated, but next year at age 11, the twins will still be considered “classmates” of my eighth graders, some of whom actually may turn 17 before the school year is over (yes, really).

When I was pregnant with the twins, I didn’t fear becoming a parent. I truly didn’t. I didn’t worry much about how our lives were going to change. I didn’t fear changing diapers or breastfeeding or balancing, even with the knowledge of having to do twice as much. The Terrible Twos and the even worse WTF?-I-THOUGHT-IT-WAS-OVER Threatening Threes were barely a blip on my radar. I didn’t fear not knowing what to do.

But this? This growing up thing? It has me freaking the FREAK out. I have seen kids lose their tiny minds once they start middle school. It’s the whole adolescent, OMG MY SOCIAL LIFE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER, WHO THE HELL NEEDS SCHOOL BECAUSE I KNOW EVERYTHING ALREADY, YOU OLD FART thing. I have to look through kids’ permanent records regularly. Many students make the honor roll all through elementary school, and then for whatever reason can’t handle the rigors of middle school. They never seem to adjust fully. Kids who were once respectful and agreeable turn into snotty, insolent turds. For some, it’s typical adolescent growing pains. For others, it’s the true start of who they’re going to be when they’re adults.

And let’s not even talk yet about puberty. I get dizzy thinking about things like maxi pads and morning wood in reference to my children. 

I can’t help but wonder how our kids – all four of them – are going to evolve through the second halves of their childhoods.

Let’s discuss (please let’s discuss, for the sake of my imagined sanity) –

To everyone: What was your early adolescent phase like? Did you have a hell-on-wheels phase? Be honest. I won’t tell your mama you lied (unless you’re my sisters; I’m TOTALLY telling Mommy if you sit here and tell some untruths).

Parents in general: What phase of parenting spazzes/spazzed you out the most? Is/was it one stage in particular, or does the whole thing have the deer/headlights effect on you?

Parents of kids 12+: Is puberty/adolescence/the middle-to-high school years as frightful as I expect it to be? How tightly do I need to gird my gangsta loins?

Word.

 

29 Comments

  1. Delenn on October 4, 2011 at 7:43 am

    My son is in 7th grade and I totally get what you are saying about seeing all those kids GROWN up! He is in band, and when they have concerts–I see those girls who look soooo–omg! And some of the boys are still little kids (like my son) but some are, well, looking grown up! There are times when he is so totally acting like a teenager–and some times when he is still a kid. Sometimes it is hard to let go. But I am also proud to see him starting to actually embrace growing up.

    I think 6th grade was harder for me to deal with emotionally, just because of the transition from grade school to middle school. Now, I am good with it. (Oh, but wait until HIGH SCHOOL!!)

    As for me personally–I was very awkward in junior high school…I had hit puberty and was chunky and the teasing/clicks started. I was more comfortable by high school where I was part of the band/theater crowd (still a nerd, but a less picked on one).

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

      Delenn, does your 11-year old self want to come hang out with my 11-year old self? I was awkward in early middle school. I didn’t really feel like I hit my stride until 8th grade, which was when I was 12/13. I felt awkward internally even though externally, I was no longer treated as if I were awkward, if that makes any sense. I started my freshman year when I was 13, and that was when I also fell into the band/drama club. We need adult band/drama geek t-shirts or something. 🙂



  2. Brad on October 4, 2011 at 8:10 am

    So our two boys, 18 and 14 couldn’t be any more different from each other. Our 18yr old was pretty happy-go-lucky and we gave him great latitude and never regretted it. If you got in an argument with him and he said something hurtful, he’d often return on his own to apologize. The 14yr old? Knows everything, is rude and demanding, shows poor judgment, is anxious and generally speaking worries the snot out of us. We’ve had to apply a lot more structure in his case and constantly reinforce that. On average I guess we’re the same as most parents but we seemed to have gotten two kids who are very far apart on the spectrum. I guess my point (I think I have on in here somewhere) is that we’ve had very different worries/concerns for each of the two boys.

    And for what it’s worth, in my experience the kids who end up doing well no matter what comes their way tend to have parents who ask themselves the questions that you have above. You care and they can’t help but know that.

    As for me… I’m just happy to have survived my late teens.



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 8:54 am

      “…the kids who end up doing well no matter what comes their way tend to have parents who ask themselves the questions that you have. You care and they can’t help but know that.” *scribbling this one down for future reference*

      Thank you, Brad, for chiming in with your experiences of parenting adolescents. You can’t take a “one size fits all” approach to parenting. We never have, but it’s still good to see that this ESPECIALLY holds true for those teenage years.

      Your comment is reassuring in the sense that if we keep doing what we’re doing, no matter challenges we might face with them in these tenuous years, they’re likely to come through the other side of it with all the good sense we’re trying to help them develop.And since YOU seem to be a great father despite having barely survived your late teens, you serve as embodied proof of the case in point. 🙂



  3. niobe on October 4, 2011 at 9:49 am

    My oldest just turned 20 and I have to say that, basically, the whole adolescence thing was really, really easy. As in, almost totally painless and drama-free. But I realize that that’s not typical and I’m sure that the two little ones are going to be a lot more challenging.

    So, I guess that’s zero help, right?



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Yeah, pretty much zero help, other than letting me know that while possible, the chance of having a painless and drama-free adolescence is probably .002%. The fact that I KNOW YOU means that you’ve probably sucked that chance from me.

      I’ll pass along advice in another ten years after the oldest three have gone through it and your youngest two are just beginning it. 🙂



  4. Megan on October 4, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Why would you DO this to me? I manage to push this to the back of my mind, but when it gets brought forward again, I start huddling in a corner, rocking, and breaking out in hives. I am terrified of the kids’ transition from kids to adults. I can’t imagine how I’m going to instill in them enough confidence and self esteem and sense to withstand the tide of peer pressure and confusion and change and angst and aaauugh! that is going to hit them at that stage. And my oldest are not even three yet.

    As for myself, I was pretty much an angel child all the way through. Not to brag, but I was always the best helper, the kindest, the best in school, the most obedient, the most responsible, etc. I don’t doubt that if you asked anyone in my family they’d tell you the same thing; that’s how sickening I was. I was kind of a loner (see: your post about being a military brat dropped into a civilian school — that’s totally how I spent 8th grade on), so I think that made it easier to not pick up bad influences. Then again, I probably could’ve had more friends if I had been more willing to do things that could be trouble, so maybe I was actively making good decisions? (Jeez. If I can’t even figure out how I got through it, how am I supposed to help my kids do it?) I think, though, that of all my parents’ six children, I am the one that turned out the least like what they would’ve hoped for me. I started my rebellious phase about three years after I left home for college. Go figure.

    It also doesn’t help that a guy who is a distant acquaintance of ours (I didn’t recognize him, and my husband exchanged a sentence with him once, but still) confessed yesterday to having molested a handful of adolescent children (who knows how many it’s actually been). Even if I were able to help them prepare adequately, what about the stuff other people could do to them? Gyyaaargh!!

    Sorry if I have said nothing to help your “sanity.” Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take an antihistamine and get back to my corner.



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Umm…is there space for me in that corner? I always worry about the pervert that you don’t know is a pervert, especially now that my kids are involved in activities in which they’re under the direct supervision of an adult, but they’re still not right there under our immediate thumbs 24/7/365. I feel all sorts of momrage and fear just thinking about it.



  5. Amelia on October 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I really don’t want to share my story as it would serve no purpose but to drive you to drink. So I’ll try to be vague, and hope that the strength of your family will affect them as much as the flaws of mine affected me. I was BAD. Drinking, smoking all available to me, boy girl things, BAD. My mom knows next to none of it to this day. I was a mediocre student, and lied my ass off. I’m fine now, but I FEAR G growing up like it’s the boogey man in my closet. 🙂 Good luck.



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 8:38 am

      “[I] hope the strength of your family will affect them as much as the flaws of mine affected me.” That is a POWERFUL statement. I just want to reach out and hug the adolescent you and give you the support that you seemed to need, but not get. xoxox



  6. Barb on October 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    You evil evil woman! We have “Beverly” here at Epcot. I have tasted it. You are trying to make these poor folks choke!!

    The best is the Chinese watermelon. :p



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 8:35 am

      ME? EVIL? 😀



  7. julie gardner on October 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Maxi pads and morning wood – HA! Oh my. Oh no. Yeah.

    My daughter is 12, in 7th grade; my son is 14, in 8th. They are socially “unsophisticated” and I never thought I’d be so grateful for that…

    Really.

    They work hard and still like to spend time with my husband and me.

    However.

    I am not stupid. I know this can and will change on a dime. At a moment’s notice. Without warning. Leaving me in the dust. (Should I work in a few more cliches?)

    Scary is right. Girding loins? Even righter.

    The best we can do, I think, is love the hell out of them while also letting them know who’s boss. And oh yeah occasionally embarrassing them so they don’t get too much self esteem.

    Good luck to you, my friend. I feel your pain. I am your fear.
    Yep.

    Hang in.



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 8:01 am

      This comment right here of yours, Julie? This is why I’m convinced that we should be BFFs and make friendship bracelets for each other. I just nodded my head in agreement with each line. Our kids are socially unsophisticated. I think we both intend that to mean that our kids are AGE-LEVEL-APPROPRIATE. They do not already have adult-type stuff in their minds and they still have the innocence which youth should have, but many kids today just don’t. Your kids are 12 and 14. I bet that in her unsophisticated social life, your daughter has probably never gotten into a fight with another girl because they were arguing over which one of them did a better job screwing the same boy. Seriously – I have broken up a hellacious girlfight between a 13 and 14 year old and that was what prompted them to start scrapping.

      Our kids work hard in school and still enjoy spending time with us, and I don’t really see that changing any time soon (I hope it doesn’t). But like you, I know that these changes can and probably will happen in the blink of an eye.

      “The best we can do, I think, is love the hell out of them while also letting them know who’s boss.” <— This is ALSO going in my Notebook of Good Things to Remember.

      xoxoxoxo



  8. Alexicographer on October 4, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Can I just say that I came to motherhood as a stepmom to a 16- and 18-year old (if you count the date of DH’s and my marriage as the beginning; at that point, we’d been dating, much of it pretty serious, for 3 years. I didn’t first meet the kids on my wedding day.)? Because I am not sure that anyone, anywhere gets just what that meant in terms of taking a deep breath and plunging in way over my head but oh yeah, did I.

    Um, what was the question? Oh, right. My teenage years were pretty dull, really. I was mostly “by the book” and I had the sort of adult behaviors needed to get away from (and cope in or out of) my parents’ pretty dysfunctional household. So. But as for experiences of stepmotherhood, oh I don’t know. I mean the kids are out there doing kid stuff (or do I mean adult stuff?), and you just kind of know that at any minute, anything could go freakily wrong. We were lucky; it didn’t, but there were still times. Most of the ones that occur to me involved cars and stupidity (our teens’ or others’) involving cars (several accidents, a speeding ticket). Weirdly, I always worried more about my stepdaughter (I worried about someone “doing her wrong,”), though in reality my stepson was probably more likely to come to a bad end than was she (so if she was late coming home or whatever I’d be thinking, “OMG I hope she is OK” and if he was I’d be thinking “OMG I’m going to kill him[for being so irresponsible].” But in reality the biggest issue by far was cars, and he was as or more likely than she to have trouble there, I think).

    Cell phones — not around when I was a teen — and the ways kids use them are weird. The one real car accident my stepson was involved in (as a passenger), we first heard of when a friend of his called us and said, “I hear DSS has been in an accident.” And I was all, “Oh gosh, no, he’s fine, he spent the night out at [house of friend who threw party the night before]; I’m sure they’re just out there cleaning up now.” Well he had been in an accident — t-boned, fortunately no one was seriously hurt, not even the kid who was thrown from the back of the pickup truck and no, I am not kidding or exaggerating — the guys had, indeed, been cleaning up post-party and were taking trash to the dump, and when they pulled out from a stopsign into the path of an oncoming car (entirely the fault of the friend behind the wheel), they got smacked and — did they start by calling, say, their parents? Oh no, they called their friends. Oh yeah.

    I think it’s true that you are (a) with it and (b) care, and that those 2 things together will get you far. Beyond that, thinking through our experiences you could do worse than to (a) get them to understand that one must ALWAYS wear a seatbelt, ALWAYS (and so must everyone in any car they — or you — are responsible for); (b) enforce pretty strict rules when they start driving, or riding with friends (and no texting — we recently drove past a church that had on its out-front sign, “Honk if you love Jesus, text while you drive if you want to meet him!”); and (c) let them know that it is OK to be sexual and that they don’t need to get drunk to express that … it is a normal part of human life and not something to be ashamed about (I think particularly for young women a lot of young drinking, etc., often relates to a desire to claim one was “not in control” of sexual stuff).

    Sorry, this is rambly. I think I’m advocating girding loins, but there are of course lots of good parts. I’m realizing I’m glad I’ve got some years before we land there again.



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 7:48 am

      I’m glad that you got all rambly and semi-sidetracked, because that is exactly how my mind works when i start thinking on this level. The fact that you just publicly showed how looped your mind gets when thinking about this phase of life helped show me that I’m not too much of a spazz for approaching near-panic level modes when my mind gets going too fast. 🙂

      I like what you said about being with it and caring. I’ve quite literally written that little sentence down in my Notebook of Good Things to Remember. It makes for a good mantra to repeat to myself when those parental doubts start creeping in. xoxoxo



  9. Baby Smiling In Back Seat on October 4, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I was perfect at that age in every way except to my mother to whom I was a miserable shit. So yeah, good luck with that.

    I was at a K-8 school so the middle school transition wasn’t really a transition. My husband went to a school that was K-6 for the lower school and 7-11 for the upper school. The 6th vs 8th contrast is nothing compared to 7th vs 11th!

    I can’t even fathom my twins speaking full sentences, so thinking of them as tweens or teens or beyond is just too much.



    • JW Moxie on October 5, 2011 at 7:44 am

      Eeee, yikes. This makes me think clearly to my adolescent days. There were times when I knew I was being something of a shit, but I just couldn’t get over my adolescent self enough to A) admit it or B) stop myself from doing it again. I wasn’t the aggressive, blatantly disrespectful type. It was my procrastination and general disinterest in putting forth too much effort in things like chores and school work that kept me in trouble. Right, Mom? RIGHT?

      I felt the same way you did, Babe Smilz, but then it seemed like they were in diapers, I blinked, and now they’re in 5th grade and I’m buying training bras and explaining what purpose a cup and jock strap serves. It sneaks up on you. Just get ready. 🙂



  10. El Cinco's Gran-Gran on October 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    JW Moxie said, “I wasn’t the aggressive, blatantly disrespectful type. It was my procrastination and general disinterest in putting forth too much effort in things like chores and school work that kept me in trouble. Right, Mom? RIGHT?”

    You’re right….except for your one year of temporary insanity! Since it was a year, I can’t complain. Being the creative Mother I am, I gave you the level of responsibility I felt you could handle, to include how far you could go out of my sight. Remember you ended up being able to go as far away as Dani could, who wasn’t 3 years old yet? But I won’t tell that story. And then, there was that one teeny incident in which I had to go “gangsta” on you.

    When we got to GA, you returned to your normal state. I can remember overhearing your buddies trying to talk you into hanging out in the cemetery. After telling them, “No” several times you finally said, “No I’m not going! You don’t understand, My mother is crazy and if I get caught…” Everyone ended up staying at the house rather than leave. I remember thinking, “way to go!”

    Adolescence is darn near the same as the toddler stage. Toddlers will often push their parental boundaries. The easy compliant tot suddenly says no to bedtime and becomes picky with food. “Let’s see if I can push a few boundaries and have a bit of fun is the go”.

    Pre-teens and teens play the same game. You may find your once pleasant, easy-going children suddenly become moody and challenging. They begin pushing boundaries in ways they haven’t before. It’s the push for some independence and a greater say in the way they are raised.

    Now what you both fight about is different. “Don’t play on the couch” is replaced by “Come home on time!” You need to hold your ground with pre-teens and teens just as you do with an unruly toddler.

    This phase can be so sudden you’ll wonder if you’re in the remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. Quote from the original movie: “Maybe they’re the result of atomic radiation on plant life or animal life. Some weird alien organism – a mutation of some kind…Whatever it is, whatever intelligence or instinct it is that govern the forming of human flesh and blood out of thin air, is fantastically powerful…All that body in your cellar needed was a mind…”

    My advice: Don’t be a buddy. Expect to be tested, prepare for it. Expect to want to choke the living daylights out of them and prepare for it. Don’t get into power struggles. I advise my parents to walk away from the tantrums. Whaaaaattttttt? Me walk away? Yes! Walking away puts you in control. Remember they have to come back to you at some point. Practice the “You know what…?” look and walk. Walking away gives them time to think about their actions and behavior, rather than you both getting overly angry and the focus of the “thing” that caused the momentary intense insanity within the temporary insanity.

    Respecting their choices works wonders. Lay down the rules, partnered with the negative consequences and if they choose to do the wrong thing, they have chosen the negative consequence, give it to them. They may hate you for the moment but will learn cause and effect. Later in life they will respect you for it. Allow the natural consequence to happen without the double whammy from you when the natural consequence occurs. They will remember the natural consequence vs. the one you gave them.

    NEVER be a Rescue Ranger when they screw the pooch! They need to learn how to face negative consequences from others and when you rescue them, they learn to expect it later in life and when Mommy can’t rescue them life can be rough. Saving the preebies and teens from the messes they make does them an injustice.

    Teach them there are times when you will choose to do the wrong thing for the right reason and if you do, be ready to face the music.

    Don’t ask why they did something. They won’t know or the answer they give may not be one you wanted to hear. I remember answering the “why” question and my mother felt I was being a smart ass.

    Parents kill me when they forget how confused they were coming into that age. I honestly feel, the kids are not the BIG problem but the parents are because they forget how hard it was for them and the feelings they had at that age. Here’s a BIGGIE! Remember how YOU felt. The trials and tribulations. Be empathic but not sympathetic. Big difference.

    Become adapt at knowing the difference between valid reasons and poor excuses for not getting things done or for inappropriate behavior.

    Though you want them to be able to solve things, understand there may be times when you will have to don your Super Mom cape and kick some adult ass if need be. Remember how I would ask you all if it was time for me to get involved? When you or your sisters said, “yes” I knew at that moment you had done all you could to figure it out and make it work or the situation better. Therefore, when I went to see what the dilly-o was, I was wearing my cape.

    Remember it’s almost a rite of passage to sneak and do things, try things. This is where consistency in rules come in to play in a serious way. You all use to tell me I turn even a simple movie into some kind of lesson. Remember my speech about how all of the bad things that happened to Fievel Mousekewitz in An American Tail wouldn’t have happened if he had just listened to his parents. He caused a lot of grief not only for himself but his parents. But… that’s life. Expect it.

    Keep an Open Door Policy so they can walk into it when they need to and not when you want them to.

    Don’t try to keep up with the Jones, you’ll loose. Not only that; it does little to create individuality. I for one, would not accept certain styles of dress that I see today. Yes there are some things you will want them to have because they want it and NOT because everyone else has it, or does it.

    Try to think of sassy one-line comebacks that may piss them off but will make perfect sense. Such as, “so and so’s mother let’s her/him do (file in the blank). A good come back is, “well that’s their mother, not me.” (No duh, they know that.) A good sassy comeback is, “OK if I’ll go call so-and-so’s mother and ask if you can live there since you want to follow their way of doing things.”

    The most important advice I can give you is this: You have to love them more and show it, when you feel they deserve it the least.



    • Alexicographer on October 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm

      “Don’t ask why they did something.”

      Oh dear, can you educate my husband? Not about how he manages our son, but at his attempts at managing me, for example, “Why is your coat on the floor by the laundry room?” (“Because I was trying to get the mud covered clothes off the wriggling toddler/the towel with dog vomit on it rinsed off/my [actual] senile father’s laundry into the machine before it stank up the whole house) and I dropped my coat there and haven’t had a chance/didn’t have the energy/forgot/couldn’t be bothered to pick it up. Why else?”)

      As I try to remind him, the question he wants me to answer isn’t really “why.” Alas, to little avail!

      I don’t remember him asking “why” of my stepkids (his older kids) — just me. Hopefully he’ll manage as well (with the offspring) when the little one hits his teen years.



      • El Cinco's Gran-Gran on October 7, 2011 at 6:59 am

        Try this the next time he asks why. Give him the answer in detail like the one you gave in your response. He’s looking at how illogical or weird something you’ve done is, to HIM. It may frustrate you but in the long run he’ll stop asking because he’ll begin to see there is a method to what appears to be madness.

        Another thought; maybe he really does want to know “why”. Men tend to want to figure things out when something doesn’t seem right or makes sense to them.



        • Alexicographer on October 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm

          LOL — thanks! Yes, I’ve tried that and while it gets the point across in the moment it hasn’t changed his behavior. I’ve come to accept this as one of his endearing quirks (grin)



  11. El Cinco's Gran-Gran on October 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    This sentence: Walking away gives them time to think about their actions and behavior, rather than you both getting overly angry and the focus of the “thing” that caused the momentary intense insanity within the temporary insanity.

    Should read: Walking away gives them time to think about their actions and behavior, rather than you both getting overly angry and the focus of the “thing” that caused the momentary intense insanity within the temporary insanity, is lost.



  12. Alexicographer on October 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Hey, again.

    Got a book recommendation — this is really distinct from my comment above and not exclusively related to the teen years (but certainly including those) but I’m far enough through it now to feel comfortable recommending Madeline Levine The Price of Privilege. It’s framed in terms of how affluence (and busy-ness) hurt our kids but really I think goes far beyond that … overall I am finding it very informative, concrete and helpful in terms of thinking about how I parent, what I do well, and what I could do better and how. The author is a bit over-confident / self-congratulatory in spots, but not too annoying. And while you could I think skip the framing chapter on affluence that appears early in the book, it’s a short one and not terribly annoying (though also not, I think, essential to the main message which is along the lines of — get to know your kids, encourage your kids, support your kids, discipline your kids, with specifics about ways to do each of those things at different stages of development).



    • JW Moxie on October 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

      Thanks for the suggestion! I hope it’s available on the Nook.



  13. El Cinco's Gran-Gran on October 7, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Other great parenting tools are the STEP ((Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) book series written by Don Dinkmeyer, Sr., Gary D. McKay and Don Dinkmeyer, Jr. and the Positive Discipline series by Jane Nelson, Ed.D.

    I’m a STEP, certified trainer and have been using STEP training since I first learned of it years and years ago. The series now include STEP books for various family dynamics such as blended families.

    They make sense, are easy to read and implement. The best part (to me) is it gives parents assignments to do. The assignments are real eye openers for parents and it’s interesting to see their reactions when they begin to realize how some of their actions create the very behaviors they want to stop.

    My girls will tell you, they heard me speak about logical and natural consequences often when they were growing up. I hear my grandson, Jaiden told JW her getting sick was a natural consequence because she wasn’t taking care of herself.

    One of them and I think it was JW asked me once why I couldn’t just spank them like everyone else got. My sassy answer was this: “Well if I just spank you and let you go on your merry way, you’ve learned nothing from it. But… since you will have time to think about your actions because you’re about to miss out on some fun stuff, you’ll think about it the next time and make a better choice.”

    Logical consequences are a bit tricky and you have to get real creative at times.

    Dani had a habit of slamming the door when she got angry (yep pre-teen, early teen stuff). One day I gave her a “How to Close the Door” lesson so it wouldn’t slam and eventually break the frame. You know, I had to be absolutely sure she knew the correct way to close the door. (Of course I knew she knew how to close a door but the mere act that I showed her was my way of getting in her head-space and making my expectation clear.)

    I told her the next time she slams a door she would be showing me she gets amnesia when angry and forgets how to close a door properly. She got angry not soon after that and WHAM!!!!!!!!! SLAM!!!!!!!!! went the door.

    Without a word to her, I got my handy-dandy tool chest and took the door off its hinges. No door to slam, no change of damage, which would lead to me having to replace a door frame.

    The beauty of this move was: At that age girls LOVE to have friends over and she was pretty social. The main bathroom of the house was right in front of her bedroom. Since she didn’t have a door anymore. There was no privacy for her and her fellow preteens that had the same craving for privacy. When anyone went to the bathroom, automatically folks would glance into the room. Of course there were times her sisters would linger there at the door and ask asinine questions. They went from being music blasting, talking, laughing, and loud as hell to eerily quiet.

    Dani asked me when she could have her door back. I told her I didn’t know but I wanted to be sure she knew how to close a door, when angry before I put it back on.

    A month later she came to me and said, “Mom I know how to close the door now.” (Took her that long to figure out she needed to come to me.) I put the door back on and I promise folks, I can’t recall her slamming a door again.

    See how logical that was? I wasn’t about to spend time lecturing. So her consequence had to be something that would motivate her to change the behavior. Grounding her to her room would not have impacted her. Making her stay out of her room until bedtime may have made a dent but allowing her to be in her room, without a door was a major in yo face impact.

    I actually enjoyed the challenge at times. It kept me on my toes and them on theirs.

    It’s amusing when my daughters sound like me. All I can do is smile. 🙂



    • JW Moxie on October 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

      That question about spanking – definitely NOT me. I’m pretty sure that one was Chanel. She had so many of your “eye-jiggle” lectures that she got tired of hearing them and the idea of a quick spanking began to sound more appealing to her.

      You need an ADVICE blog, mom. Parenting advice from a family/adolescent counselor mixed in with a dose of humor. It’s a natural niche for you, Lady. Think about it.



      • leanne on October 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

        Your mom needs an advice blog for sure. Though I LOVE that she comments here on your blog with her perspective. And the suggestions on this post in particular are priceless.



  14. leanne on October 7, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I’ve been thinking about this post for a few days now. And the thought of my kids growing up is scary. They are just 7 and 3. I know the challenges I face now pale in comparison to those ahead of me (even if my daughter is 3. And boy, is she 3.). And yet, somehow, my husband and I have not only kept our kids alive, but so far they seem to be turning out to be good, decent kids. We must be doing something right. Now if we can just keep doing those somethings right…

    As for me… I was the good girl, a bookworm who played soccer and kept my nose clean. I was also rather shy. Junior high wasn’t too bad — I was in a large enough school that there were enough girls sorta like me (though at times the whole clique thing could be difficult). I found high school a lot tougher (but I also switched schools going into 10th grade and went from that rather large school to a rather small one). And then there was college… which was awesome. But I also made a point of making more of an effort to come out of my shell.

    As a parent, certain phases were tricky… like I don’t do well when sleep deprived so that whole newborn part… well, I was very glad when my kids started sleeping through the night. The terrible twos were not bad at all (if I ignore my son’s surgery and hospital stay when he was 2.5). My son’s behavior was awful at 4, and as previously mentioned, my daughter is 3. I am counting the months til she turns 4 (when it will magically get better, right? Also, I’m not counting days because there are still way too many of them).

    So I’ll be following along as you (and your mom) share your stories…