Without fail every morning my hubby brings me a cup of coffee in bed. Married 14 years has it’s perks. Now and again my mischievous teen offers to make a cuppa. On Saturday was such a ‘now and again’.
‘Mom, did you drink your coffee? All of it’ he asked later in the day. Now the fact that he was so curious and had a smirk of sorts on his face, got me thinking something is up.
‘Nope’ I answered, ‘It got cold before I had the time to take a sip’. He walked off to the kitchen where I heard him telling his father of his disappointment that ‘it didn’t work, mom never drank the coffee’ Plenty laughter happening in the kitchen. I went through to investigate.
Yip, that would be me who almost got pranked with a cup of coffee containing laxatives. I felt rather chuffed with myself that I was spared the loo for the day.
I am the ONLY female in the house – with four boys, Mr being a right real Peter Pan, I can either sulk and cry or wise up on the games. I chose to wise up and play them at their own games. As the saying goes, When in Rome, do as the Romans do. That sums it up.
Watch your back boys, mom is the chef in this house.
I grew up labouring away at my bit when it came to household chores. Having three sisters though made the work load that much lighter. I was never paid so to speak for doing chores, however , if ever we needed or wanted something within reason – we didn’t go without. Movies, ice-skating, drive-in, tuck money and so it goes.
My wonderful young teenager recently dug his heels in when it came to a short list of chores I felt were standard for any teenager all of 14 years old. I contacted a few friends and family who too have a child of the same age to compare what is considered a reasonable list, as well as the reward be it financial or other.
I came up with ten chores a week. TEN. I really didn’t feel that was child labour although my son differs. My list was something along these lines.
- Clean your own room. Inspection is once a week.
- Unpack the dishwasher after dinner.
- Mow the lawn once a week – all of a 15 min job.
- Take out the trash when need be.
- Feed the dogs daily and ensure fresh water mornings.
- Pick up your own dog poop.
- During school holidays, to help hang the laundry.
- Make your own bed weekends.
- Help dad bath the dogs on sundays.
Oh wait – that is all of 9 chores. One would think this to be child labour for that is what my child seems to think. Banging heads about this list has left me with migraines. I believe all children should be raised having to do chores. Heck I did. Chores teach children far more than responsibility and the value of a dime.
Then we had the debated issue of what was considered a satisfactory financial reward. Boy, the kid should join the debate team as he sure threw some at me. Yet again I turn to family and friends and what would you know – we seem to pay our teen a little above the considered ‘average’. My sister suggested I start a monthly spreadsheet for him. On which I write down every cent spent on his luxuries –
- A new clutch cable for his off road motorbike,
- weekly petrol to run both his bikes – this is recreational,
- bike parts when he crashes, lately that’s often
- constant new clothes and shoes as he seems to think they are best used while working on his bikes.
- The maintenance of his tarantulas,
- mobile contract
- Blah blah etc –
This list can go on and on but it hit me – My sister hit the nail on the head with her advice. Sometimes when kids see things on paper, the reality hits them a little more and they can digest it properly. I’m not talking a childs living luxuries or expenses. I’m referring to his hobbies.
There you have it. I sat down with my son and asked him what he felt was acceptable and reasonable to be on his chores list. We negotiated the list so not all was selective. What teen is readily going to volunteer a pick up his dog poop before mowing the lawn? Having his participation gave him a sense of having a voice and choices. He is now responsible for his chores list. As for his rewards, they come in many forms and he is slowly realising this. Thank goodness as being the eldest, he sets the example for his two much younger brothers.
Keep Calm and Parent on.
So what would you feel is an acceptable list or pocket money amount for a 14 year old teen?
Big Boy Mac
It’s fun being the eldest I constantly tell my big boy, Austin. And I start with the list of all things first – first to get your license, first to celebrate the big milestones like your 13th, 16th, 18th and 21st. You enjoyed a whole eight years and some of being the only child, never having to share mom, dad or your toys. Most of all though, I say being a big brother is the most awesome of titles. Being my first-born enduring a bumpy ride since conception – our bond is a tight one. Yes, like any mom to a new teen, not all is smooth sailing. We clash at times when the boundary between parent and friend are blurred. Although we have a very relaxed style of parenting and allow for much freedom of expression, there isn’t a thing I wouldn’t do to protect or defend my sons regardless of the situation. That is after all a mothers natural instinct.
My teen really lashed out at me last year angry at my pregnancy and how he felt a new baby would impact upon his life. His biggest concern was the time alone with his parents. Austin thrives on his one on one time with us, “like the old days mom when it was just you and me” Needless to say I had a difficult pregnancy over and above this. When my hubby brought Austin to the hospital to meet his baby brother, right there in that beautiful moment – their bond was sealed. Austin is so protective and so in love with Ethan. He is a fantastic big brother often saying “mom, i love him so much can’t i have him” LOL. However the buck stops at those poo nappies and I’m okay with that. As for our relationship, things are back on track but we still bump heads on some teen issues. Children just don’t come with a manual, it’s a journey through life we share as we walk through the years. Love you Austie, gazillions over xxx
via PicsArt Photo Studio
Our teens tend to think their parents were not teens at some stage in their own live so what could parents possibly know – right! As my Mom always said ‘quick, grab a teen while they know everything”
Having just entered the teen years with my son, a parent fast becomes a private investigator. All the social networking available on every smart phone, and yes, what phone isn’t a smart phone by todays standards, how can a responsible parent not keep tabs on what their children are up to yet maintain and respect our teens space and privacy. Tricky one where balance and responsibility as parents are key.
We had my son’s friend come over and spend a few days with us during the school Easter holidays. While standing in the kitchen making myself a cup-a-tea, I over heard our teen house guest say to my son, ‘so how come your parents only have sons?’ to which my son replies, ‘Didn’t I tell you! My dad only has one ball’ Implying the left makes boys and the right – girls.
Gobsmacked. I pack up laughing in the next room trying to be ever so discreet. Needless to say our guest clearly took some time to digest the comment in his confused state as only the following day when he brought it up again did we release his presumption that it was not fact. I guess every family has their own sense of humour understood by its members. This left me wondering – as we raise our children, do we as parents influence their sense of humour too ? I think so. My son has such a witty sense of humour, I enjoy our laughs together.