We have a 13 year old daughter right now who’s going through some pretty typical middle school attitude issue for us. She’s an intelligent child, cute as a button, but hasn’t gained full control of her filter as she lets some things come out of her mouth that just make me wonder what in the world have we been teaching her. Along with lack of filter control, she’s also has no control in her eyes as they keep rolling back in her head! 🙂
Because of this, we are on her case a lot about what is acceptable behavior in our house. She’s lost her electronics numerous times because she cannot keep mouth under control, and it gets tiresome after a while. It would be so easy to let some of the less offensive comments go, to just ignore that behavior and move on from it. However, being who we are, we simply cannot allow that. No, it’s not always a stress-free environment in our house, but we take this seriously and feel that our daughter should be able to behave in a respectful manner towards her parents.
Yesterday, we watched as a student in our daughter’s class completely disobeyed her mother in a very public forum numerous times without consequence, and it led to a rather spirited discussion on the way home. My wife and I were appalled by the total lack of respect and made it known to our daughter in no uncertain terms that if that kind of behavior were demonstrated to us, we’d have no issues with publicly calling her out on it. She understood that entirely, and it led then to a discussion her own public displays of throwing her hands in the air, sighing, rolling her eyes when we ask her to do something. She found nothing wrong with that, thus the discussion.
My question to my wife: we watched this girl sit at this public spot, ignore her mother, and text on her phone the whole time. Why is it that this mother didn’t take the phone away? Why didn’t this mother call out to her daughter, bringing her to where she needed to be? Why is it that we hear parents say “oh, I couldn’t take their phone away.”
Since when is taking a phone away, or any piece of electronics, or any privilege for that matter off limits?? Why is it that parenting isn’t just that: parenting?? Shouldn’t we as parents have that right to say “you’ve done something that is not acceptable for this family and the consequence is this” without feeling like we are some out damaging our children? As I teach, I’ve hear “oh they won’t mind” or “they won’t care” any number of times from my students, and usually, the child is wrong, their parents are all over them. Problem is, that is happening less and less. That’s the worry.
We’ll keep battling, knowing that our daughter will eventually move out of this stage (our oldest did so we can only hope). However, we’ll also keep battling knowing that this is the right thing to do, regardless of what we see going on around us. Right now, our daughter needs us as parents, not just friends. And someday, she might even that thank us for that too! 🙂