For those who followed my recent journey with a man-child, which resulted in me making some serious (and foolish) threats, you might be wondering how things ended up. Well as promised, we did sit down with said man-child, and had a very frank conversation about what we expected IF he stays at TAFE, and IF he chooses to live at home. And we insisted that IF that was the case, he HAD to agree to our conditions for living under our roof, particularly as he is still not 18 (and to be frank, even afterwards).
We also added that we are not actually unreasonable parents, and that he just needs to “suck it up” occasionally, and just accept NO for an answer. We even made him literally say the words in agreement, so he couldn’t say his grunt was misinterpreted (and people wonder why I am cynical)! So naturally he spent that night at home, but had the rest of the weekend out with friends, as was his wish.
What followed the next Friday though was the stuff of text books. Man-child walks into kitchen and casually asks if he can go out that night. I immediately tell him that no he cannot go out since he spent the day at home, missing school, due to being unwell the previous night. He looks at me in complete shock, and proceeds to attempt to enter into a debate with me (yes the exact behaviour we had expressly asked him not to exhibit every Friday night). I park the conversation, and tell him to ask Father of a Man-Child when he arrives home. Naturally the response is identical – you spent the day at home, you can’t possibly go out tonight, etc etc.
So then the tirade starts, the constant “why”, and “why not”,” what a stupid rule”, “what is your problem” etc etc. We just let it run its natural course, and eventually he stopped long enough to eat dinner (food is a good alternative to arguing you know). Then to our surprise (and my sister’s), we eventually made the decision to let him out. Why you may ask? Because we decided to reward him. Yes that’s right, to actually try the opposite tack. Now whilst you may be thinking that he did exactly what we asked him not to do (nag), the fact is he did stop. So we chose to reward that behaviour, and let him know that the simple stopping nagging was enough to earn him some brownie points.
So did it change anything? Well I am not really sure. We shall see what the next few Friday nights brings. And we will just keep trying to keep him on the right path, and ensuring that he at least respects us as his parents, and our decisions.
So what do you think, other parents of teens or toddlers? Is punishment or reward the way to go? Which one has worked for you in the past? Or is reasoning the way to go (me thinks not based on experience)!!
If you missed the fun of my original encounter you can read more here: Choose your words wisely!