Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Please Don't Burn the House Down Again

One thing I neglected to mention is that on Saturday when we got back from Bellingham, we found an empty pot sitting on a stove burner set on high, and my 14yo son asleep in his room. He'd started to boil water for pasta, and apparently been distracted by the Sandman, leaving the water to boil off and the pot to roast on the hot burner for over two hours.

When confronted, his first response was to deny having done it, however faced with the fact that he was the only one in the house, he took responsibility and I banned him from any and all stove/oven/range use for a week.

So here we are Tuesday morning. I heard Tyler up and about (most likely having stayed up all night), and went into his room to remind him about our counseling appointment. Then I went upstairs to the kitchen to find... (wait for it)

A pot full of boiling pasta. Completely unattended.

Now, call me paranoid, but I'm just a tad obsessive about fire hazards and situations that could possibly, you know, burn the house down... AGAIN. I could have railed and stormed about, cursing my son's name and making my blood pressure spike. But I didn't. I'm actually pretty proud of myself. I didn't get angry, I didn't raise my voice, I didn't set a bad example by throwing a tantrum. I simply informed him that his punishment was doubled, then made sure he finished his cooking, turned everything off and cleaned up.

We've been having a continuous debate ranging all over the place ever since. He's a fighter, that kid. A master of absolutism and deflection and projection and hyperbole (where he gets that I couldn't tell you). He's also quite adept at standing in a hole of his own making and continuing to dig deeper. And what frosts his shorts most of all is when I'm calm and don't let him get a rise out of me. His kung fu is good, but mine is better.

I believe we have a counseling session today. Not a moment too soon.

Honestly, I love my kids, and that's why I care enough to stand up and challenge the frustrating slob-monster called Adolescence. The battles I choose now are going to be what makes the difference later. I know, because I was 14 once - incoherent, hormonal, dramatic and self-centered. But I was a good kid at the core, and had people around who knew it, and who kept me honest. And that's what I'm doing for my kids.

It's just a bit "grrrrrrrr" sometimes.

1 comment:

Ali said...

My 15 year old hates the calm but immovable parent too. She certainly knows that the calm immovable parent is much more threatening than the parent who has a right ol' red head hissy fit every now and then. Rem knows that my hissy fits blow over very quickly and that I'll probably soften my response in half an hour or so. But that calm response, well, heck, what's a teenager supposed to do with that????

You're doing good Todd and Tyler will love you for it one day - though you may be a grandfather when that day arrives! (Actually, I think Tyler loves you for it now, he's just too much of a teenager to know that he loves you for it....)

Ali