Wednesday, February 20

Older Kids Won't Listen!

So I have to rant a bit (what's new?)

My kids. Won't. Listen. Aaaaaaahhhh!!!

Third, sixth, and seventh graders, good kids, good grades, all of it. I love my kids. But when I ask them to do something, they do only that one tiny thing I ask, then go right back to their game, book, or chasing the cat. Example: I get home from work yesterday totally wiped out and want to crash on the couch. Can you guys make dinner? Spaghetti, no bread, no salad. Not rocket science. And do I get, "Sure mom"? Ooooh, no. No, no, no. I get "the look." The exasperated, my-life-is-so-hard-Do-I-have-to?? look.


YES, you have to! For crying out loud! Get some water boiling and put some pasta in it! Sheesh. So my oldest gets a pot, salts the water, turns on the burner, and leaves.

Cue crickets chirping.

Hello??? Is anyone watching that water? Apparently...not. So I yell for my youngest. She checks the water but doesn't know if it's boiling (guess we haven't gotten that far in the cooking lessons yet). So I have to haul my tired butt off the couch and go check. Great balls of fire, the pot is only 1/3 filled! So I add water and yell, "Poppy, you have to add more water!" No answer. I give up and look around. Table isn't set, sauce isn't out, cheese isn't out...blah, blah, blah. So I call to my 6th grader. "Mimi, come help me!" She wanders in and graces me with a blank stare, so I try to poke that stare in the eyeball with a fierce, "Get dinner ready!" By now I'm getting super fed up and just want the simple curtesy of them looking beyond their immediate twelve inch radius and figuring out what else needs to be done. "Mimi! Good grief! What else needs to be put on the table? What's missing?"

And we all know the end to this story. I end up having to spell every little thing out and direct traffic, pissed off beyond helping. And it didn't help that as soon as the meal was over, they just walked away from the table, leaving their dishes, crumbs, and good will to mommy.

I could scream.

So I query my husband with an exhausted, "Why, WHY won't they listen to me?" And he looks at me like I've just tried to drink lemonade with a fork. "Honey," he cautiously ventures, "you're too nice. Of course they don't listen to you."

WHAT???!!!! Too nice?? Are you freaking kidding me? I've got a broomstick! People think I'm fierce, dominant, commanding. I've got a reputation to keep, here! I tell him all this and add, "When I'm at work, I keep my therapy kids in line! I don't let them get away with squat!" He just shakes his head and stares. "Honey, I have a hard time believing that."

OH my gosh.

People, are we too nice? Is that why our kids don't listen? After spending a little time to reflect, I don't think that's it (just like me to argue). I think we're just checked out. I was checked out yesterday - didn't feel like giving my kids the time and direction they needed. I just expected them to mind read and know what to do. News flash to's not happening! If the house is a mess, it's because I don't sit on them to clean it. A quick yell to clean it up isn't going to work. We have to sit there and stare at them until they get off their duff and do it. To me it kind of defeats the purpose of teaching them how to do stuff on their own (thus giving us a tiny break) but I guess that's life. If the goal is overall independence, we must trust that one of these days, it will all click and they will be ready for the challenges life throws at them. In the meantime, we are still desperately needed by our kids to keep them marching toward that little road sign that says, "Success."

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