Monday, July 7, 2008

Parental Lessons

Here's what I get for speaking too soon about how MY son is so perfect. He's not perfect, I know. But he so rarely gets in trouble that sometimes I forget he's a kid, and not a mini adult. Big mistake.

So, I continued to monitor Golden Boy's text messages, and found them to be increasingly .... potty mouthed. I didn't say anything about it, because GB wasn't the one using the foul language. Well one day GB decided to press his luck, and while not using a four letter word, he used one that he would never ever utter in my presence. Two messages later, someone is asking to be added to GB's myspace friend list. Yes, the myspace page that I had told him he couldn't have. I had a feeling I knew who helped him set it up, because I knew damn well he hadn't done it at home.

I dragged his skinny little butt out of bed and told him we were going to talk about his text messages, and asked him to tell me which ones he thought I was angry about. He quickly named the two swearing boys. I asked about myspace, and his expression said it all. He said yes, he'd set it up knowing that I had told him no in the past. In a rare case of me being speechless, I told him we would discuss his punishment when I got home from work.

All day, I turned this around and around in my mind. Not sure what upset me more, the direct disobeying me or the questionable language. When I got home, we sat down together to talk. He sat next to me and had trouble meeting my eyes. He told me he knew he was in trouble, and his heart was pounding. When asked if he understood why I was upset, he did, and he explained it pretty well. It was, after all, very simple. I asked him what he was going to do about the text messages, he said he'd already told him friends to stop swearing, and that he got in trouble for it. (Incidentally, after that, the nameless kid whose messages were the worst, stopped sending them at all. The other kid apologized.) I told him that for the next week, he only gets his phone during the day when he's at camp. Next came myspace. Not only did he go behind my back to set it up, but he was listed as a 25 year old male with the headline, "i'm the only pretty boy on this site bitch!" At this, I went back to talking to him at a level I expect him to understand, rather than the level of a ten year old. Told him how I was so disappointed to see that, because every parent wants their kid to be better than that. Every parent wants their child to be the exception. I told him it hurt me to think that when I'm not around, my sweet kid turns into a cursing, bravado heavy "typical" boy. He got teary eyed and emphatically said, "No! I'm not like that!" Call me naive, but I believe him. I don't think he's like that. I think he responded to the front his friends put up by putting up his own. He says he was jealous of his cousins and his friends always pulling up their myspace accounts, and he really wanted one of his own. We walked through deleting it together, then I told him that if he can show me over the next few months that he is the kid I know him to be, and not a clone of his friends, then his dad and I will help him set up a new account that will also be monitored by us.
I almost lost my anger when he told me how he'd been jealous of his cousins and friends. I don't think myspace is some big bag pedophile spot (any more so than the local park) but I won't tolerate the sneakiness factor. I even explained to him that if he'd come to us and stated his reasons why he thought he would be responsible enough to HAVE an account (wouldn't use bad language, wanted to keep in touch with his cousins who live out in the suburbs, etc) we probably would have helped him set it up. He just went about it the wrong way. So I'll reconsider that at a later date.... after he regains his internet privileges, that is.


Charmed said...

My daughter did the same thing. She went behind my back and set up an account after I told her not too. She too, was jealous of everyone talking about their accounts. I worry more about girls than boys on sites like that.

Colleen said...

I said it before, but I think it's worth saying did good, momma.

And I think he was sincere when he was upset...shows that he values your approval, your judgement of his words and actions, and that he realizes he did something wrong.

I like that you told him that he has to earn the ability to have a safer, monitored account to use to keep in touch w/friends & family. I think that's a much better option than banning it altogether (which often causes the child to be even more sneaky about it). This is at least a carrot dangling in front of his nose. :)

kristi said...

Man, raising kids is hard!! I won't let my daughter have a My Space page......she is 12. I don't feel she is ready yet.

carrie said...

I know what he did was wrong, but do you know what I would give just to see one IOTA of that kind of remorse in my oldest when he does something wrong? Whatever you're doing, keep doing it. You can't force repentance, and I desperately would love to see that in a couple of my kids lately.

Dead Tree Studios said...

I had something like that happen whith my oldest. I'm glad you saw the issue was one of him disobying you on somethign rather than the issue of him having a myspace, etc.

Marmarbug said...

Great. This is what I get to look forward to huh?
WellI mist tell you great job for following your instincts. Things are SO much diffrent now then when we were young. Things are much scarier and I worry all of the time about kids.

Monique said...

I couldn't help but laugh at his headline! LMFAO

Oh sweetie times are tough right raising our kiddies around so much questionable influence. Both our kids go to private school and they are still going to try and play with fire. I give you kudos I think you handled the situation the best way. The consequences make you re-think the law of the land.

SissyMerks said...

You are doing good momma. I hate to say it but I am going to, it will only get harder. It drives me crazy that my oldest does things behind my back. I try to keep involved but it gets harder the older he gets. He pushes me away.

Joe and Leanna said...

This (I'm sorry to say) was cracking me up!

I believe that us parents seem to all go thru the same process of raising our children...what counts is the 'way' we handle each situation!

You are AWESOME!

I was lucky enough that my oldest DID wait until he was 14 and it was with the knowledge that I would check every day and if I didn't 'approve' of any of his friends (and the way they talked) then he would have to delete that friend or close his account. Luckily that hasn't happened. Be sure you set up as private too and make your own site and be on his as a friend.

Guess 'boys will be boys' huh?