Parenting

Parenting: Pity Fest

It’s been a pity-fest at my house this week.

Biding Time

The boys survived their punishment. Actually, MK is off groundness (is that a word?) today – GD still has another full week of no video games or computer. I’m sure I’ll be forced to endure yet another few days of heavy sighs and stubborn silence from the boy as he’ll be so jealous of his little brother having his privileges back that he won’t be able to keep his eye on the ball of reality.

In case you’re just stumbling into my block of cyberspace – we had a pretty ugly scene at my house last Sunday. The boys not only tested their boundaries, they erected a tent and tried to camp out on the other side of “let’s see how far we can piss mom off before something bad happens.” I won’t go into the sordid details again, you can read about it if you wish, but suffice it to say, this past week … sucked.

Both boys watched more TV this past week than I think they have in the past year. My boys are not into TV, at all. They LIVE for their video games and online interaction with their “friends.” So, when they do something unacceptable such as, oh, I don’t know, hit me or curse in my face, then you bet we’re going to step in and take their precious LIVES away from them.

Humpf.

The first few days after the incident, and they realized their punishment, were torture. None of us spoke to each other. We were all walking on pins and needles – GD was nearly impossible to be around. He sent me so many hate looks that I’m surprised I’m not a walking, smoking skeleton. Which I don’t quite understand considering he was the one who disrespected me and who, in my opinion, got off pretty light with only being grounded two weeks. And at first, I felt pretty guilty about my participation in the ugliness. I’m a fair person, I absolutely take responsibility for my part, in anything I screw up in.

But enough is enough. Stop with the pouting and stop acting like a spoiled brat. What happened, happened. You can’t take it back, we can only learn from that bitter experiment (and I’m including myself in on that hard lesson learned, too), and move forward.

It’s our fault, really. We’ve spoiled our boys. They have everything they could possibly want. They get nearly everything they want, either from gifts (birthday or Christmas, we rarely buy them anything any other time), or with their own money they’ve saved up from their grandmas’ generosity. They are content, and believe it or not, happy, most of the time. And we’ve told them that we’re happy to spoil them as long as they follow the rules, do well in school, and just BE good people, step outside those guidelines and all bets are off.

But we’re in the teenage years. And even though I hate labeling or making excuses for irrational behavior, it is what it is. GD is trying to push out of the box that I’ve had him trapped in for most of his life. I know this, I get this. I WANT him to exert his independence and I’m trying really hard to give him a little rope, but to be THIS pissed off, to be THIS bored and refusing to even TRY to take an interest in anything BUT his games/computer, has me a little worried. No, scratch that, I’m worried. Is it healthy to be THAT focused (as the hubs calls it – I prefer OBSESSED) on just one thing in your life? Shouldn’t he have other interests? Shouldn’t he CARE about anything – something – other than one aspect of his life?

But GD has always been this way. Even as a baby, I couldn’t get him interested in ANYTHING outside of trains. The boy was positively obsessed with trains. It seriously worried me. But what can you do? The boy liked his choo-choos. Finally, he outgrew trains only to divert his obsession to Pokemon/Drazon Ball Z/Yu-Gi-Oh.

This phase lasted for another handful of years. He collected cards, he had every game, he dressed up as a Dragon Ball Z character for Halloween, he went to Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments and “battled” other kids. It was insane. I tried to get him interested in other things. In fact, a few summers, I MADE the boy take breaks and tried to interest him in paint-by-numbers, reading, or doing something physical, like shooting hoops or going swimming.

And though GD would do these things, he only did them because I made him. He had one eye trained on the clock the entire time, just biding his time until he could back to what really interested him.

*sigh*

MK likes his video games, but he’s more diverse. He at least makes an ATTEMPT to enjoy other things. In fact, give the boy a stick and a rubber band and he can entertain himself for hours. Not so with GD. The boy is focused. The hubs keeps reassuring me that this is a good trait, I’m not quite so sure, if you want the truth. There’s being a perfectionist, then there’s irrationally obsessive. It’s all or nothing for GD.

When GD and I talked about “the incident”, I apologized for my role in the theatrics. I opened my heart to him and told him things I’ve never told him before. GD now understands me a bit better. He now realizes that I’m weak in so many ways and that I’m not only human, I get hurt and am hurt by the way he acts sometimes.

Instead of being compassionate, which is normally his reaction, he’s been cold and rude. I think he sees my confession as a sign of weakness. I think he thinks that he can now walk all over me and is looking for ways to take advantage of me at every turn.

Does this boy never learn? I can’t believe he still doesn’t know me well enough to know that that will NEVER happen. I’m fair, but I’m stubborn. I’m still his mom and he still has to live by our rules. We may negotiate and re-evaluate those rules as he gets older, but the bottom line? They are our rules and he must respect that, take it or lump it.

I’m all about tough love, baby. I’m all about teaching my boys respect, courtesy and getting along with people. Even if that means they hate me for a while until they learn those lessons.

*sigh* Is it time for school to start yet?

*Update: To add insult to injury, GD went and had his elastics put on his teeth today. He’s about three months shy of having his braces removed and apparently, elastics are the final stage. As a result of these rubber bands being in his mouth? He’s TERRIBLY self-conscious. So, to say the boy is cranky would be putting it mildly. AARGH!

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