Kids & Parenting
Parenting without a Mate
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What does a widow do when her teenager does not cooperate?
Sometimes, we might compromise. But beware that it does not violate our code of ethics.
Raising teenagers requires flexibility. My body gets tired and I usually go to bed early. However, this is just the time when my teenager felt like talking. I compromised my bedtime schedule. In my nightgown I lay down on my bed and listened. When appropriate, I responded.
In those instances when we decide we have to lay down the law, it will not be effective without a means to enforce it.
On school nights it seemed reasonable to expect my daughter home by a certain time. I informed her, "If you're not home by 10:00 p.m., you can sleep in the car." I left a sleeping bag and pillow in the car. It worked. She came home on time.
What if Tina refuses to clean her room? Do I close the door and try to ignore it? Maybe she will clean it when she loses the car keys or a boy friend's picture. Or I can be creative.
"Tina, would you like to have a slumber party and invite all your girl friends?" Tina smiles and nods her head. "If you want a party, you know what you have to do about your room." Usually, this will solve the problem, at least until the slumber party is over.
What can I do when Tina refuses to get up for school? First, I can do the obvious. Check her temperature, feel her pulse, and maybe even get a flashlight and look at her throat. She does not appear to be ill.
Then we take a deep breath and count to ten. After all we don't want to lose our heads. However, most teens will respond when Mom gets cranky. If that doesn't work, we get them out of bed anyway we can. Use ice water or drag them out; whatever works with our teenager.
When a teen rebels, sometimes nothing works. Pulling out your hair accomplishes nothing. Call in the law. It may be the only force strong enough to handle it. We mothers wring our hands and say, not my teenager. Yes, our sons and daughters may have to learn the hard way. Sheltering them from the consequences of their wrong doing only makes it worse. Criminals grow up in homes without discipline.
Sometimes Tina co-operated. She attended church services with me without coercion.
However, I am not an ideal parent. Both of us made mistakes along the way. What can we do about it? Confess, forgive and start all over.
Now Tina is grown and on her own. Having a little more experience with life, she respects me more than ever. Though we do not always agree, we have a good relationship. We can talk about our concerns. Teenagers do grow into adults. Look forward to that time, and in the meantime do the best you can.
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