Friday, July 11, 2008

Good Cop/Bad Cop

Hubs is accusing me of playing Nice Parent to his Mean Parent, after a ritual cleaning out of the dump that is the kids' room. He tosses everything not put away. I back him up, tell the kids they knew this was going to happen, they have to be more responsible with their stuff.
Then later Hubs and I disagree about the extent of his thorough throw out session - in front of the kids. So he feels like I'm sending a message to the kids that Dad's the bad guy who is MEAN and Mom is sticking up for them. That wasn't my INTENTION, but I can see where he's coming from.
The resolution was to put away -not THROW away- all the video games, Game Boys, DS Lites etc and give them a chance to earn them back. I say resolution, because this is what I want, and by god, that's what's gonna happen. As for the many many toys that ended up in the junk heap, GB and I will go through it and he can decide what to sell at his day camp's flea market, and he and Belly keep the proceeds.
Hubs and I do not like to stay angry with one another. We talked shortly after and aired out grievances. I apologized. (Yes, I do that once in a while) I made it known that I felt his actions were too harsh, too all-or-nothing. He feels the kids are too spoiled and they don't care about their possessions.

How do you handle things like that, when you don't agree on something about the kids? No two parents are going to have the same discipline style, tolerance for mess, or preferred bed time. What about when one parent indulges the kids when the other feels it's too much?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Music Tuesday

Newly added to my ipod:
Sara Bareilles - Little Voice (thanks for the recommendation, Carrie)
Usher - Here I Stand
Michael Buble - It's Time

Hubs snuck in the Buble, assuming I'd like it. Not so much. Not in the mood for it. Reminds me of Richard Cheese, who did Lounge Against the Machine.
Usher and Sara, however, are both keeping me from throwing my ergonomically incorrect chair through a window today.

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.