The Parenting Card

I really hate it when my kid forces me to parent him. I’m much better at being a rational human being but some days he forces my hand. We had an incident the other day where he let his phone die (rule number 1: don’t let your phone die) and I couldn’t get a hold of him (rule number 2: Text me what you’re doing and where you are)  and we had to go searching for him (rule number 3: Don’t make me come looking for you). I found him where he was supposed to be, but it was past his curfew. I gave him a little talk and told him he would have to do better and text me whenever he changed locations. It’s summer time. He’s fourteen. I know he wants to be out exploring, but the world is not a safe place anymore and although I do not want to be a helicopter mom, I’m working my way there. I don’t have a problem with any of his friends, but he has one friend who has parents who are even more laid back than me, which seemed totally impossible because I’m pretty easy going. I don’t scream and throw a fit (anymore), I just talk to him rationally and then I rationally tell him my expectations and then rationally tell him the consequences of not following my directions.

He’s pulled two little disappearing acts since school got out. The last one made me change the rules on him. Now, he has to call me by 9 if he plans on staying the night with a friend or with my mom. Or he has to be in the house by 9:30. I think that’s fair. It gets dark at 9 here so he doesn’t need to be out running around after that. Plus, we aren’t exactly in the best neighborhood. I think on a city map our neighborhood is listed as “gun zone” so I’m being very liberal with this rules. I also told him throughout the day whenever he changes locations to anywhere,  I want a text. He doesn’t have to call but if he goes from one friend’s house to another or if he goes swimming or if he leaves the swimming hole and goes somewhere else, I want to know.

Today, he decided to try me again. I’m not hard to get along with. He should know that. He should also know that he is not my first child. He had two examples to learn from growing up. But, no, he wants to learn things the hard way. So today, he only text me twice. The last text I got from him was at 6 telling me he had just gotten done swimming. He had been doing really well checking in over the last few days. I sent him a message back telling him to let me know before 9 if he was staying with his friend he’s been staying with basically every other night for the last two weeks, it seems. He said Ok. He acknowledged that he understood the expectation and he would comply.

8:55pm I sent him a text asking him what the deal was.

9:15pm I’m calling because I haven’t heard from him.

9:30pm I’m sending him a text that says, “Call Me Now!”

9:40 I’m calling my oldest son to ask him to go get Mel and bring him home when he gets off work because his job is right around the corner from the kid’s house.

9:50pm Mel calls me and I tell him that Bradley is coming to get him and bringing him home.

Bradley gets him home and I’m trying to have a talk with him. Again, I’m calm and rational and I just basically tell him, “If I have to hunt you down again, you will be stuck in the house for a month with no phone, no internet, no ps4.” He tries to make a joke, which I’m pretty sure is hereditary. I think we all have that nervous laughter thing and the make a joke at the worst possible time thing. So he says, “so you just want me to sit around and get fat?” And he’s smirking which makes me smirk because he’s so damn cute I want to break his nose. So I tell him not to worry, I will be more than happy to make him a list of all the things in the yard I need done that I haven’t had time to do. And then I get serious again and tell him how the world is an unsafe place and that he can’t trust his friends because they will more than likely run or lie or point their fingers in his direction when the shit hits the fan. He tried to argue, but I’m always right and I had Bradley there to attest to it.

I ended up refraining from grounding him. I changed his curfew to 9pm, told him he can only stay at his friend’s 2 nights this week, and I told him if I get home and he is not here, he will wish he was in boot camp or prison compared to the life he will be leading until school starts if he pisses me off and worries me one more time.

It’s funny because I forgot what 14 looked like. And he’s getting really good at reminding me. The problem is that he is a good kid and can’t lie to me because I would know and wouldn’t lie to me because he’s pretty honest and respectful. So I use that  Chinese guilt parenting technique to make him think about his actions and how they effect everyone around him and I hope that he figures it out before I have to snatch his summer out from under him like Aladdin’s magic rug. Because he will learn one way or the other how to continue to be a decent human being and how to avoid going down the wrong path. I succeeded with the first two and I’ll be damned if my last kid will be the one I fail. So I really hope that he does not choose to learn things the hard way. And I guess I’m gonna have to pull the parenting card out of the deck and show him the mom that existed when he was younger and didn’t have his shit together because clearly he forgets her.

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