As previously mentioned, I have an almost-teenager at home. In just a few days, this almost-teenager becomes a full-fledged teenager. And with 13 years of life experience under his belt, comes an attitude, a desire to do nothing but play video games and whine about wanting an iPhone, and a know-it-all demeanor that is annoyingly stubborn lacks responsibility to do homework.
Oh, and this teenager, who I will be lovingly referring to from now on as "the teenager," is my boyfriend's son, which means I get the line, "You're not my mom. You can't tell me what to do."
Ummmm...you live in my house, buddy. Yes I can.
The teenager causes a lot of tension in the house and I am really really really working on not yelling or raising my voice in order to maintain the peace, preserve my sanity, and keep a balanced relationship. Because honestly, I have yelled a lot in the past and while some of it was probably deserved, it also could have been handled differently.
I recently stumbled upon The Orange Rhino Challenge and became instantly inspired. This woman is a genius. Her concept of "no yelling" for a year is an incredible goal and I hope to be able to follow suit.
I am working on my "no-yelling" policy and in order to do that, I am focusing on one major area for a few weeks that I will really work on in terms of not yelling....
The dreaded homework issue. At 13 years old, should a parent still have to check to see if homework gets completed? Because I feel like, unless I ask about it and look it over, it doesn't get completed at all or it is barely completed. It's always something.
When the teenager came to live with us a few years ago, we were VERY diligent about checking his homework, staying in contact with the school...almost to a point of obsessive. As a teacher myself, I wanted to do everything I could at home to support the teenager. Especially because the teenager came to us from a very different type of lifestyle (aka..no responsibility, no effort, no life-lessons being taught). As the teenager's teachers say, we put him through "boot camp" and it was the best thing we could have done for him.
Now though, it is causing fights between my boyfriend and myself, and fights between the three of us. I am working on not getting involved so much but the problem is that I feel anxious knowing that there is homework or studying to be done but nothing is happening.
So, when I get the weekly report that there were multiple missing homework assignments, I will not yell.
I will not yell on a daily basis to ask "did you do your homework? Let me check it".
I will not yell when my boyfriend and I have different views on how to handle it: His idea is along the lines of "whatever, it's just homework" and "I'm sick of having to punish him". I, on the other hand, would like a consistent consequence for missing homework: lose electronic privileges (TV, computer, video games, etc) until the next weekly report comes in. If its a good report, you get your privileges, if it is not a good report, well then...you've made your bed, now lay in it.
I have to let it go. I have to let him fail a bunch of homework assignments and let the school take responsibility for that. I have to understand that, at the end of the day, the teenager isn't my son and I don't want to jeopardize my relationship with my boyfriend and my relationship with the teenager anymore.
Therefore, no yelling about it. I am letting myself ask/gently probe only one time per day about it and will drop it after that. I am learning to relinquish the control freak in me. I am also taking a lot more bubble baths when I am feeling worked up.
Yesterday was day one of no-yelling. Well, no-yelling about homework. But hey, it's a start.