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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Parenting 201

Teenagers. What are you going to do? My daughter Gracie is downstairs sniffling and feeling sorry for herself because I am making her clean the kitchen. She pulled out all the stops to try and get out of it, but this time, I didn't fall for it! In case anyone else is dealing with a teenager type, this seemed to work:

  1. First she tried the old "rearrange the mess and quietly disappear up to her room and say she did it" scam. I called her on it and told her to finish the job.
  2. Then she tried to argue her way out of it, but I cut her off at the pass and told her that regardless of who's mess it is, (it was her mess), she is going to clean it up.
  3. Finally came the waterworks, with well-timed sniffing so I would notice, and the accusatory "Nothing I ever do is good enough!" ploy, i.e. "you are permanently damaging my self esteem by daring to say that the kitchen is still dirty" guilt trip. I didn't fall for that one either, and mused aloud so she could hear me: "You are certainly putting in a lot of effort not to have to clean the kitchen." Then directly to her, "You are still going to clean the kitchen".
Guess what? The kitchen is now clean! Gracie is now in her room feeling sorry for herself, but the kitchen is clean. I told her, "Thank you, you did a good job". She grumbled something under her breath (probably better that I didn't hear it), stomped up the stairs and began her official pouting session.

That's OK, she can pout. She can feel sorry for herself. The first rounds of kitchen cleaning were NOT good enough. She knew it, I knew it, and it would have been damaging to her self-esteem if I had let it slide. (Not to mention damaging to my morning plans if I had done it for her.)

Today, I get to chalk up a victory, albeit a small one, but a victory nonetheless. As many of us know, when dealing with teenagers, you need every point you can get.

RH

1 comment:

Rootietoot said...

I don't understand why a teenager would rather spend 90 minutes grizzling and moaning about a job that would take 30 minutes to do.