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12 September 2009

I Care Too Much....

According to my oldest teenager (I have 3 teen boys), my current crime as a parent is "caring too much". His words were meant to upset, yet they did the opposite. My teenage son will someday realise that as a parent, "caring too much" is not a crime. Quite the opposite. I am smiling as I recall our discussion last night, as difficult as it was to see him upset, it confirmed that my husband and I have been doing a good job as parents. When he was born, I was offered a lot of parenting advise, which I ignored. I also had a lot of parenting books (I do so adore books), all well meaning, although I questioned those written by authors without children. It did not take me long to realise most of those books were not helpful beyond the newborn stage and I donated them. Parenting must be learned through trial and error. I digress. I also should not type before my second cup of coffee.
What led to my son's accusation? Curious this morning I see. My son is "gifted" (a term I dislike, but that is a subject for a different post), which to me has meant, he has never had to study a day in his life and therefore has not learned how to study. This is a problem. Being the wise old mum that I am, I figured he, a high school student, may find his two college level courses a bit difficult, considering his lack of knowledge on how to study. To prepare for this I set into place ground rules. If his grades dropped, he lost privileges. Why not teach him how to study you ask? I would love nothing more. However, I am his mum and therefore intellectually challenged. His father, a professor of chemistry, is equally intellectually challenged. Apparently becoming parents has that effect. At this point I must add in that I have 3 wonderful sons. They do not miss curfew, they do not drink, smoke, or engage in other activities that would not be appropriate. My oldest has a job and was recently promoted. In short, I was blessed with good sons. Yet being a teen means testing limits. This is not new. I tested my parents, they tested their parents, and so on. In the end, my oldest had to be driven to his cross country pre-meet-carbo-loading-feast. Imagine the embarrassment of having to be driven by a parent. I know, we are dreadful! Yet, he took the loss of a car fairly well. After calming down, testosterone surges are wicked, he and I discussed why I "care too much" and devised a plan that worked for both of us. We emailed one of his teachers (why do people no longer use phones to communicate?) to plan a time for our oldest son to meet with his teacher and explain how he "studies" and in return have the teacher explain to him a more effective strategy of studying. Fortunately his teachers have all their intellectual facilities intact, unlike me, his humble mum. We also devised a new order, a law of the house, to help guide him into studying. I will share what we devised, with the understanding that those of you with younger children may think me silly, and those of you with grown children are chuckling (you know, you have lived it) and those of you with teens (understand, you are living it). My oldest, my darling sweet child, who I "care too much" about, has a new schedule (his twin brothers already adopted this schedule on their own years before). No telly during the week, all studying must be done in his room, earlier bedtime, and absolutely no FaceBooking during the week. The latter being the largest of all problems. Hopefully, this will help my oldest teen learn effective studying that will see him through the remainder of high school, through college and beyond.
For now, I shall continue to "care too much" about all 3 of my sons!

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15 comments:

Tiffany @ Eat at Home said...

Teens are fun, aren't they? It's just such a challenge sometimes. I care about mine "too much" too.

Samantha said...

My husband and I don't have any kids yet, so I can't relate as a parent, but I do know what I did to test my parents as a teenager! Caring too much, while frusrating for him currently, is something he'll appreciate later in life. I definitely came to understand and appreciate all those times I thought my parents "cared too much." It's such a great thing that helped me achieve some of my best accomplishments!

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest! :)

jennie.newland said...

You know I think I remember saying that same thing to my mom when I was a teenager! My little one is just two at the moment, so I am waiting on the day that I have that conversation. Its sounds to me that you made a good plan! Dropping by from SITS, Happy SITS Saturday!

Maizie. said...

Ha! Love this article. Boundaries are always good and he will thank you as an adult and one he WILL understand why you put such boundaries into place.

Have a great weekend!

Mighty M said...

I love that teens think we know nothing. Pretty sure I was EXACTLY the same way. Someday they will think you are both brilliant! ;-) Have a lovely weekend!!

Naomi said...

I just read this after having to physically hold Jasper down on the daybed and essentially force him to nap as he kicked and flailed and screamed bloody murder at me. It's a little disheartening that the boundary testing won't stop for a couple more decades! It's draining and makes me feel like such an awful parent...

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I only have one son and he is only 20 months old. I care enough for the whole world when it comes to him. My husband teases me that I worry enough for the both of us. But it's the best thing ever being a parent and I can only hope he turns out as good as yours.

:)

Kristen Andrews said...

can you ever care too much?

Tami said...

You are a wonderful mommy! Missed you..

Tami said...

You are a wonderful mommy! Missed you..

Tami said...

You are a wonderful mommy! Missed you..

mannequin said...

I think you might be in violation of something, but I'm not sure what.
Whatever it is, I think we all might be guilty of it.
The thing, whatever it is, makes us highly unpopular if we do it and highly incompetent if we don't do it.
Of course, I have no idea of what I am speaking, I'm just a silly ole mom.

Nichol said...

Oh I am so dreading teen years! I will always care way to much. That is what moms do!

LiveLaughLoveCj said...

Brava! Brava! Jennifer, you and hubby are doing it right. I am living it, I've got great kids, but they sure do test the limits of my ability to stay sane sometimes.

I've heard the words a time or two before "You care to much"! I then know, with that knowing smile, I am doing my job. You are right, parenting beyond the newborn stage is trail and error. I hate the error phase, they go through it, I go through it, but we do live through it and that is all that matters.
Studying skills are tough, especially when one has not had to study before. I'm sure it's a challenge and your new house order will encourage and help him to focus in a way he's not had to do before. Kudos to you!!
Loss of privileges I so understand, one of the teens at some point in this house is going through that same thing. It's the computer stuff that gets them the most not the loss of anything else.
We do live in a technological age don't we?

Keep on keeping on Jenn and Steve-O your doing right by your children and how lucky they are to have you both in their lives, intellectually challenged or not. ;)

Leane said...

You are spot on with the statement 'crime as a parent'.....we are not always viewed by our children to be in the right, but we have a duty to commit these parenting crimes diligently. Soon enough, they will know for themselves just how right you were. It is a parents job to protect their child and prepare them for the future so that they can learn to protect themselves. He is not yet an adult and no longer a child, and that is a difficult phase to live through. This is an excellent post! I have a (2yrold)son who is all about testing boundaries every day, so I am learning little by little how to commit my 'crimes as a parent' with pride!