Ultimatums…..

By now, you’ve no doubt heard the case of the young lady suing her parents for financial support. If not, it goes like this:

Girl doesn’t want to live by parents rules. Parents request that she follow rules or move out. She moves in with her best friend but takes her car and continues to attend the private high school she’s been attending for years. Parents take car back, cancel insurance, stop paying tuition and cut off her weekly allowance. Best friend’s parents encourage her to sue her mom and dad.  That pretty much sums it up.  At this point the judge in the case has ruled against the teen, but also emphasized that this was probably a good time for family counseling and encouraged all parties to attempt to settle things outside of the legal system.

 

When I was a teen I knew several people who were “kicked out” by their parents. I had a problem with them using that term. These kids were given a choice. They could follow the rules OR leave. They chose to leave.

The rules seem to be the sticky point that kids have a problem with. I think it comes down to the faulty logic that turning 18 makes you an adult. Turning 18 makes  you legally responsible for lots of things. Your actions. Debt. Military service. Consent on contracts. It does NOT, however, make you an adult. Only your maturity level makes you an adult. And if you’re still living at home, going to high school and fighting with your mom about doing the dishes, then you my friend, are NOT an adult!

With the exception of the two years I was away at college, I lived at home until my wedding night. I lived by my parents’ rules. I had a curfew. I did chores. And I did this because I was a member of a household and I respected the other members of my household.  And because it was a lot cheaper than moving out.

There were some nights I came home late.. or didn’t come home at all, but those were few and FAR between and not until I was into my 20s. But I always called. I let my folks know where I was so that they wouldn’t think that I was “dead in a ditch.”  Yes Mom, I know you’re reading this.. I know what you’re thinking… but that was all before I was 18. 😉

When we have littles we tell them that they have to obey. When they ask why,  we tell them “Because I’m the mommy and I said so.” When they’re a little older we might toss money into the mix and the answer becomes “Because I pay you an allowance.” I think that as our kids get older we need to impress upon them that chores must be done and rules must be followed because they are part of a family and we respect one another. Our actions affect other people and we have to take their needs into consideration when we make decisions.

My teen will be 18 in four months. An adult. That’s kinda scary. He’s a good kid and although we have our differences I can’t imagine that I would ever ask him to leave our home. I hope I always feel that way.

You know what irritates me?

 

I don’t kick puppies. I don’t hate babies. I don’t even pull wings off of flies. But I am a cynical person when it comes to playing the special ed sympathy card. So when I saw a piece on a Good Morning America about a little boy who got a  huge celebration for his birthday, my eye started twitching.

Here’s the gist of the story. A mom asks her son to help plan his birthday party. He tells her that he doesn’t have any friends. She creates a Facebook Page and asks people to tell her son how much they love him. The page goes viral. The boy winds up on GMA and gets free trip to Disney.

Let’s step back and examine this. The mother starts off her new Facebook Page by explaining what has happened.

I am Colin’s mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th. Because of Colin’s disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don’t like him. So when I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn’t a point because he has no friends. He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone to be unhappy with his presence, he sits alone in the office. So I thought, if I could create a page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words, that would be better than any birthday party. Please join me in making my very original son feel special on his day.

His mother, known only as Jennifer, states that her son has a disorder “similar to Asperger Syndrome” which limits his ability to interact appropriately with his peers. Her answer to his situation is to ask the internet world to “Show my son how much he is loved.”

Let me see if I understand. This child has a disorder that keeps him from having appropriate relationships, and Mom thinks that asking complete strangers to tell her son that they love him is a good way to handle this? This isn’t realistic. This is sad. I am a mom, and I’ve seen my fair share of pity parties. My son once canceled his birthday party because most of his friends had decided they’d rather do other things and kept dropping off the guest list.

If this mom wanted to help her son have a good birthday party and build some friendships, perhaps she could have, I don’t know, had a birthday party with the kids at school who say they don’t want to sit with him at lunch and show them that Colin can be a friend if they give him a chance.  If her son already has a difficult time understanding typical interactions, asking 2,000,000 strangers to send her son “love” isn’t the way to make him understand.

Why did this story touch a nerve with me? Why am I irritated that a sad, sweet little boy got the Rock Star birthday treatment? Because it’s not real. Because he still doesn’t know what it means to have a typical friendship. He got all this attention because he stated the truth; “I don’t have any friends.” He doesn’t. And what this mom should have been focused on is helping in son in the real world where kids eat lunch in the lunchroom, not the office.  Her greatest gift to him could have been to help him figure out how to be friends with even just one other person. But instead, she made him an internet spectacle.

According to this quote by Colin’s cousin, his mother never expected all this to happen. She thought maybe 40-50 close family and friends might say something to him and send him cards.  So after reading that, I’m left wondering why Colin said he wanted to go viral for his birthday; why the mom didn’t turn down a GMA appearance; why they allowed things to get so out of hand.

Parents, if you want to help your kids, give them skills that will help them in realistic situations. Don’t let them think that they are so special that the whole world will want to tell them Happy Birthday and give them a trip to Disney.

 

Promposal… say what?

Let’s take a moment to go back to school. Back to high school. Back to your senior (or maybe junior) year. Remember when you were waiting on that guy to ask you to the prom?

You asked your friend to ask his friend to ask him if he was taking someone. Then he told his friend to tell your friend to tell you that he wasn’t sure yet. Then at some point he managed to catch you when you were alone at your locker (like THAT wasn’t planned) and he practically choked on his own tongue as “Willyougototothepromwithme?” tumbled out of that terrified boy. He was sure that you were going to laugh at him and he would never live it down. He’d be scarred for life, unable to ever regain his confidence. But you said yes.

Let’s look at this from his perspective. Perhaps he asked his friend to ask her friend if she was seeing anyone, or if someone had already asked her. Then he waited outside the classroom room door to catch her between classes or at her locker after school. When he finally uttered those seven little words, “Will you go to prom with me?”  he released an audible sign that the pressure was off. And if by some chance the answer was no, the only witnesses were John Stamos and the guys from Duran Duran staring out from inside her locker.

Oh, What’s that? You had been dating your boyfriend for six months prior to prom and the only question he asked you was “What color tie and belt thingy do you want me to wear?” AHHHH those were the days. Not so simple anymore my friend.

Welcome to the age of the Promposal.

No longer can a boy just ask a girl to the prom. He must do it in such a way that will make her friends “ooohhh” and “aaahhh” and make her the envy of all the underclassmen. It must be something that can be photographed and posted on Instagram (#SheSaidYes #Promposal #MyGuyIsAwesome).

Here are just a few examples:

Simple: Image

Romantic: Image

Elaborate: Image

Quirky:Image

and EXPENSIVE (That’s $50. I checked!) Image

So now what happens if she says no?  THE WHOLE SCHOOL has just witnessed what might be the most #AWKWARD! moment of a young man’s year.  How does one recover from such a public rejection with dignity? This guy has just gone to great effort and expense to create this scrapbook worthy moment that she’ll never forget… and he’s got dozens of witnesses. Pressure? I’d say so. I can’t even imagine. Guys, make sure she really likes you. Girls, be gentle.

My son has completed this rite of passage. He has been dating his girlfriend for about six months. But no way was he getting off the hook with out some concerted effort. So he went with the sentimental approach. Since we live at the beach, he had to tie that in somehow. But someone had already dug  the word PROM in 40 foot high letters and photographed it from the 20th floor of the condo. And someone had already spelled PROM in seashells. So now what?

A PICNIC! He and his dad cooked a pasta and meatball dinner and he took her to the beach for a sunset meal. As he was unpacking the bag he asked her to hand him the napkins and on the top napkin he had written “PROM?”

Of course she said “yes”. So now we just need the tux. And corsage. And dinner reservations. And Limo.

Getting started…

I’ve toyed with the idea of a blog for a long time. And now that everyone and their dog has a blog, maybe it’s time I joined in. Because, lets face it, what the world needs is more blogs. Am I right?

There’s nothing special about me. I’m a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher… well, I WAS a teacher. But that’s neither here nor there. Those words merely state my titles in certain arenas. They don’t define me. They don’t even really describe me.

So within these little blog posts I hope to be able to reveal pieces of myself to you, and to me. And maybe you’ll be able to see a little bit of yourself in my words.

Stick around…