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Badassery: My Toughest Parenting Assignment Yet

I have a very good boy with newly developed very bad attitude.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to hang out with an out of town friend. Things were going swell until Boy Wonder’s wicked ‘tude showed up uninvited. What initially began as mild defiance progressed to ignoring repeated warnings and finally, some of the rudest, most disrespectful back talk I’ve ever had the horror of witnessing.

While thinking your parents are total idiots is a normal part of development, the smarter tween keeps their mouth closed and sticks with heavy sighs and eye-rolls. Perhaps the biggest problem I face with Boy Wonder is the fact that if he disagrees with something, he somehow thinks he’s exempt. He’s not. Respect doesn’t mean agreeing or even understanding the reasons behind things. Respect is doing those things anyway.

The tipping point for me yesterday was when he called me “Dude” out of anger. DUDE? WTF CHILD?! I ain’t your “dude”; I’m your mom. You’re very, very pissed off mom.

The entire day culminated in a perfect storm of tween defiance and grave embarrassment. He embarrassed himself, he embarrassed me, but mostly, he embarrassed himself.

If I was my friend watching all of this go down, I’d swear Boy Wonder was one of the most disrespectful children I’ve ever encountered. What a total shame, because he’s really not. I know a large part of yesterday’s behavior was about testing his boundaries in front of an audience, but no matter the reason, he’d need to be punished.

Softer disciplinary actions might include a long-winded conversation about the how’s and why’s of the undesirable behavior. Tougher disciplinary actions might include stripping his room of everything but books. While I’m well-versed in both, this time I’m trying something different.

I’m stepping out.

See, if he’s going to defy me on everything from doing his own homework, to what I make for dinner, to how “unfair” things outside his favor are…well then I guess he’s on his own. Sucks to be him.

This morning I didn’t make his breakfast or his lunch. If he wanted them, he’d have to prepare them – which he did. He didn’t understand it, but he did it anyway.

It’s easy to believe your parents don’t know anything until you’re in a jam. It’s easy to develop an ungrateful attitude when things are done for you. While I’ll stand back and protect him from certain harm, I’m no longer here to force his hand to do what’s reasonably expected.

My son is a good boy with an independent spirit and a fiercely strong will. While I believe these qualities will one day serve him positively in terms of resisting peer pressure, leadership potential, and free-thinking; learning to reign in those qualities is equally important.

Mom’s not out to hurt; she’s out to humble.

What are your thoughts on parental badassery?

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