A Teenager’s Rights…

My teen daughter has been complaining lately that I’m mad at her all the time for just about anything, and that it’s getting both annoying and boring to her. She claims to listen to me, but cites that she has absolutely no idea why I am mad at her.

The sad thing is that she knows exactly why I am mad at her, and she makes the conscious choice to go down that wrong path. She knows that there are three basic things things that can set me off on a daily basis as a parent: (1) being disrespectful or having a terrible, nasty attitude; (2) making me wait for her when I pick her up after school; and (3) not doing her chores. Of course, this list is not all-inclusive and allows for other heinous real-life offenses such as flunking her core classes, sneaking out in the middle of the night to attend drug and alcohol parties with 18-year-old boys, and drinking vodka at a supposedly all-girls’ sleepover — with boys there!!

The first annoyance is almost inevitable. All teenagers have nasty, petty, horrible little attitudes at some point, so there’s really nothing that can be done about that. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to lie down and put up with the nasty, petty, horrible little attitude, but that problem should eventually go away — at least by the time she’s 30 years old.

The second issue, not showing up on time to be picked up from school, is very much avoidable on her part. There have been numerous occasions when I have been forced to wait up to 45 minutes for her to show up — with no real explanation or apology. Generally, all she has to do is to go to her locker, pack up whatever books she needs, and come to the side of the school to meet me; that takes about eight minutes, ten minutes at most. Her showing up late has become such a regular occurrence that I now arrive 10 to 15 minutes after the final bell in an attempt to avoid the volatile situation completely and the resulting inevitable confrontation. Yet, on occasion, she still makes me wait at least a half hour; just this last Monday she showed up 37 minutes after her last class — again, with no reasonable explanation or apology; she could only account for 15 minutes of the 37. On those now-frequent days she is properly waiting outside when I pull up, she interprets “Thank you for being on time today!” not as a token of gratitude, but instead as a reminder of previous offenses. If it’s not a day she gets yelled at for making me wait a half hour for her, it’s a day she brings home an issue with her from school. Either way, attitude usually ensues.

Number three is one of the biggest issues in our household — she will not do her chores. She’s luckier than most kids, because she only has six things to do every day: (1) clean the cat litter box, vacuuming or cleaning the surrounding carpet when necessary; (2) fill up the cats’ water container, cleaning it when necessary; (3) fill up the cats’ food container, cleaning it and the surrounding countertop when necessary; (4) change the frogs’ water; (5) take out the recycling that is accumulated indoors; (6) empty out any indoor trashcan that have anything in them. That’s it. It takes ten minutes. Twenty minutes if the cats are truly slobs that day. There are other weekly or as-needed chores, but this is the small list of tasks that must be performed every day.

She completely refuses to do her chores, citing that homework is more important than doing chores. When called to task on it, she states that “no one acknowledges that… teenagers have rights of a free mind and the freedom to say what they want, whether people think so or not.” She goes further, stating that she “is a human being and that she has the biggest say in her life — because it’s her life.”

Wrong. And irrelevant.

First of all, homework is not necessarily more important than chores. Both of those tasks are lumped together under the heading of Responsibilities. If a straight-A student graduates first in her class and she repeatedly ignores and refuses to follow the instructions of her new boss, not one of those A grades will prevent her from being fired. Responsibilities you are given as a child develop discipline. Without discipline, you are guaranteed to fail in the future.

Here are a teenager’s rights:

  • you have the right to live with people who love and care about you
  • you have the right to an education
  • you have the right to be safe at home and at school
  • you have the right to have food to eat, a place to live, and health care
  • you have the right to have a say about things that affect you
  • you have the right to be treated fairly and with respect
  • you have the right to be protected from harm

Addressing the first right, my teenager already knows that we love and care about her. She also knows that if we didn’t we wouldn’t care what the heck she did, or didn’t do.

She has the right to an education, which we and the State of California provide to her. I have never told her not to complete her homework, but I think it fair to request that she curtail talking on the phone, watching TV, playing with the cats, and generally goofing off in favor of completing her chores and her homework — her responsibilities. She also has the privilege of having her own work desk in her room, along with her own computer, phone, and restricted high-speed Internet access.

She has the right to feel safe at home and school, and to be protected from harm. We live in a neighborhood where our houses do not need bars over our windows and doors, and she has yet to come home from school suffering the losing end of some schoolyard brawl. ‘Nuff said there.

She has the right to food to eat, a place to live, and health care. With the number of PopTarts that kid eats, she can’t have any complaints about available food! While I wish I could afford the best possible health care for my entire family, our budget-minded plan suffices for everyone. And, last time I checked, the roof over her head doesn’t leak.

She has the right to have a say about things that affect her. That doesn’t mean she has the final word, only that she is allowed to have input. On children’s right, the Supreme Court says: “We have recognized three reasons justifying the conclusion that the constitutional rights of children cannot be equated with those of adults: the peculiar vulnerability of children; their inability to make critical decisions in an informed, mature manner; and the importance of the parental role in child rearing.” We as parents must continue to exercise our more experienced judgment in most manners, especially as she has not demonstrated adequate decision-making skills in many, many areas.

Even the right to privacy as established by law protects children from privacy invasions only by outsiders, and does not establish legal rights to privacy from a child’s parents. Luckily for her, we generally respect her perception of her right to privacy, although her email and incoming calls are sporadically screened.

She has a right to be treated fairly and with respect. It wouldn’t surprise me if our views on our treatment of her and her treatment of us differ greatly. She doesn’t like getting yelled at for not completing her chores and thinks it is unfair — and yet this week she has not completed her chores since Tuesday (today is Friday). One recycling bin has been unemptied for almost two weeks, a bin that should be emptied every day. If she wants to be treated fairly and with respect, then she has to treat the rest of the family the same way. If someone knowingly and willingly shirks their responsibilities, then they should expect to get into trouble. Punishment is therefore fair. When she exudes her usual teen attitude, the fair and respectful consequence is for us to nip that attitude in the bud. If you are fair and respectful, you will be treated fairly and with respect. Remember that.

She continues to insist that she is a young adult, common among adolescents. But she is physically, emotionally, and legally still a child — despite her own thought and ideals. If she was responsible, trustworthy, and capable of making appropriate decisions, then perhaps she could be considered by us to truly be a young adult in all respects except legally, but she has yet to demonstrate that level of maturity. She is making — forgive the expression — baby steps: a greater interest in school, a decreased interest in boys, an increased awareness in the importance of hygiene.

Simply put, our household would have greater peace if she just stepped up to the plate and assumed all of her responsibilities, not just the ones of her own choosing.

In the past, it has always been her choice either to perform or not to perform her required responsibilities (whether they be schoolwork or chores), and she has always known that. She has also always known that consequences for failing to perform those duties have always existed.

It will continue to be her choice for the rest of her life.

More information on children’s rights:

18 Responses to “A Teenager’s Rights…”

  1. Keith

    I have to agree with you here. I have a daughter that is turning 14 in Nov. She is a cheerleader, goes to a performing arts school, yada yada yada. Now, is great because she is outgoing. BUT..she is not so outgoing with her family at home. Thinking back though, I think most teenagers are like this at some point. The thing is, it is almost a “cool” thing to do to act as if your home life is hard, you are not understood, etc. In this way, somehow the teenager’s identify with each other and it is “their team” type of attitude. Regardless of the fact they are irritating as all hëll sometimes, there intentions are probably innocent. BUT…watch out for those boys!! That is my peeve at the moment with my daughter. She thinks she is so grown up in High School, etc. Uggh! Hey this is your blog, not mine right!?? Keith

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    i am a 14 yr old, i try so hard to be good at home, i do all my chores (and more!) without complaining just so that i dont get on the wrong side of my mum! i do well on all my exams, i have even done my GCSE in maths this year (that’s 2 years early) and i got a level 7 in my SAT’s for maths (my friends told me), i don’t know my marks yet because i’m not in school any more…wondering why?? well on the 10th of july we are moving to New Zealand and i am not happy!! but after the inicial shock and all the shouting that i wasnt going and they couldnt make me!! i decided to just make the best of the time i had left here with my friends and now that we had finished all our exams for the year school was becoming less stressful because our teachers were cutting us some slack as we had finished all our exams… then the end of year report came through, i found it in the post and my mum had been drilling into me that i should be a perfect student and i was supposed to have cut down on chatting in class because at the last parents evening all my teachers said i was really chatty (and i did cut down) so i got my report and 7 out of 14 teachers said that i was distracted or chatty or i needed to make more effort in class and with my homework but the other 6 said i was the perfect student, i was polite, punctual and well mannered. of course i knew how this looked…it looked like i hadnt been improving since we last spoke and my mum had told me if i didnt there would be consequences, so (and i regret doing this now) i hid it! and i figured i would leave it there till me and my mum had stopped arguing all the time and maybe she would be more understanding then that this report was from the whole year and i had made a great improvement recently!!(and i really had! no lie!) and it actually wasnt that bad a report! well that was my biggest mistake, a few weeks later she was going through my room and found it! i thought she would be angry that i hid it but after telling me not to do that again she went into the comments from teachers…and my consequence for ‘not improving’ when i had! and she told me i was going to be home schooled till we left!! which meant i had 3 weekends (6 days) to spend with my friends. i wasnt really bothered about the school i would be quite happy to be home schooled, its just the situation! now i dont think this is very fair! and as if moving wasnt enough of a shock! now i was being home schooled! i proceeded to explain to her that the report was from the whole year (she didnt believe me) i told her to contact my teachers…and she did (well shes only spoken to 1 so far who did say i had made an improvement) but she still didnt take that as enough. for ages me and my friends had planned a big goodbye party for me-around 25 of us going to thorpe park for the day! and then coming back to my house, watching a film and then the boys going home and the girls sleeping over and my parents were fine with that, so once i got over the home schooling i decided that i should look forward to thorpe park and i was being really good at home because my friend had booked all the tickets and i still hadn’t been told a definite yes but i was told if i impressed my mum i could go…..so i was impressing! big time! this morning i heard my mum making plans for this saturday (which is when my goodbye party is supposed to be) and i reminded her about it, she turned to me and said that she had told me before that i wasnt allowed to go and i said that she didnt say that! she said i had to impress her, she denied that and said i wasnt allowed (she doesnt know that the tickets are booked) and she also said she is still considering my sleepover! now my step dad thinks she is going over the top with all this and thinks i should be allowed to have my whole goodbye party because he undertsnads that i ahver learnt my lesson and that i may never see some of thses people again but at the end of the day, its my mum who wears the pants in this family and i doubt he can change her mind but i am just wondering if its just me or is this really unfair?! (while i have been writing this my maths teacher rang and im not supposed to pick up the phone when my mum isn’t home so i didnt and she left a message saying that she was very proud of me and i achieved a level 7 on my SAT’s and that was very well done! but my mum wont take any notice of that, she never does she’s always looking at my bad points!) can you please write a message back richard because i’m going insane! and you sound like a decent person who might be able to give me some advice. thank you very much. troubled teen x

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  3. richard

    Well, as a parent twice over, it’s a tough decision, especially when only hearing one side of the facts. You were completely wrong to have hidden your grades as you admitted. But the punishment of being denied a final send-off before you leave the country does not seem to fit the crime of chatting in class and then covering it up. Home schooling for the last few weeks seems overly disruptive as well. Having one final bash at Thorpe Park seems that it would be one of those memories you’d always carry. (I wish I could go! Rush looks absolutely terrifying!) But it’s not my decision, is it? Do your best to deal with the situation in an adult manner and try to work out a solution that everyone can agree to. Rather than trying to make the point of not being punished at all, maybe an alternate sentence would satisfy? No matter what happens, have fun in NZ (make the most of it!) and congratulations on the level 7′s – RDL

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  4. Alex

    humm..im 16 years old..and i have a question is out of the topic its about my rights…

    do i have the right to pick who i want to live with?

    like do i have the right to choose if i want to live with my mother or

    with my dad? because im tired of my mother i cant stand her anymore

    i just want to go live with my dad.. but my mother keeps telling me that

    im under her custody and is not what i want is what she wants and

    that i have to do whatever she wants me to.. nd im kind of old now nd

    i think i have the right to choose who i could live with..

    Reply
  5. Mary D

    Hey My name is Mary, My mom has been going threw financial problems no money for anything. Lately I’ve been ” messing up” and she makes a big deal out of things that where responsible choices. Like I was in a car with a friend and a guy stood out the window with a worried look on his face, and expensive cell phone. So instead of just waiting out side I role the window down half an inch and asked what he wanted, he asked for gas money, I said no and he left. tjan I got out of the car after he was out of sight. Than the one person who means the whole world to me, I want her to meet, and she refuses to because I’m only 14. I just can’t stand living in this house. I want to see how it is to live with someone else for once. even if its for a month. I don’t care. So what is going on?

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  6. Tony

    As an eighteen year old getting ready to move out my of mother’s house (yay college?), I’ve experienced a few squabbles in my time. I’ve never actually tried (because I’ve always rethought it), but it should be possible to ask the courts if you can live with your father, Alex. Just intimate this to your father and I’m sure he’d at least talk with you about it. It may not be the best thing to do, or it may be a good change. I know that for me, it would not have worked out. My dad goes into work a little later, so he comes home from work anywhere from six to seven at night. That’s if he doesn’t have anything going on after work. My dad absolutely loves to tango and is thinking of starting a local tango class in the area. My dad would have no time for me. I’d have to do things on my own. At the time I was tossing around the idea of living with my dad (maybe fifteen or sixteens years of age), I hadn’t a car, or a license. I would have been very limited in the things I could do. I wouldn’t be able to hang out with friends as much or as easily, I’d have to make myself dinner and lunch (no way my dad would give me lunch money), and I would generally have to be more responsible for myself. I thought about this and realized how good I really do have it with my mom. What you need to do, Alex, is really think about this and talk about it with your father. I never did ask my dad about it, but I realized that I didn’t need to.

    Mary, I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but it seems as if your problems are quite.. simple. It may have just been a bad day if you mom didn’t want to meet your friend. I know that some days my mom is in a horrible mood and won’t put up with any of my friends. They’re generally well behaved, but we have been known to get a little out of hand sometimes. I really do think she despises one of my female friends, I’m not exactly sure why, but my mom can deal with her if she’s in a good mood. Yesterday, for example, I was going to hang out with my friend before work and my mom said, in a rather nasty tone after finding out that we didn’t exactly know what we were going to do yet, “Well, she’s not hanging out in my house!” I just attributed it to her mood that day and waited for my friend to arrive, told my mom we had decided on Taco Bell for lunch (true), and left. My mom had also said that if we didn’t know what to do, that I should hang out at her house rather than she at mine. So… we went to her house and watched a movie. Sometimes you just have to work within your parents’ bounds, whether you like them or not. Don’t necessarily think that she’s trying to limit you or make you feel bad. As you said, your mother is having financial problems. She’s probably not the happiest person right now, trying to make ends meet and all, so I’d expect she’d be a little short-tempered. Yes, that’s no real excuse, but it’s reality. Just give her time, try and be nice to her, help her out, etc. It will come back to you. She’ll see that you are more responsible and will maybe start to look at you a little differently. As for living with someone else, who would you live with? Are your parents divorced, does your father live nearby? At fourteen, there’s only two people you can really live with: your mother and your father. If neither of them look like viable options to you, you’re going to have a hard time convincing the courts to give custody to someone else.

    -Tony

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  7. Manny

    This is a paradox in many parents such as your self to tyrannically control every aspect of your child’s being without being challenged by your child. You want peace in policing your kid, so when she’s 30 minutes late so YOU can pick HER up you yell at her. My parents where lucky if I spent 37 minutes in school after the first bell; you’re making an issue of her staying in school an extra half an hour. It is understandable that you want her to be grateful, but as a teen she has the right to explore and make mistakes that she will learn from. I’m not necessarily stating she should explore sexuality and drugs (she may because you never made the effort to speak critically on the topic). She may be rebelling as a cry for help. Sit down and talk to your daughter and don’t blog about her. The general public doesn’t need access to your personal beliefs of your kid. You need to discuss your concerns instead of spewing this trash.

    Reply
  8. richard

    Sounds like someone should have spent a bit more time in school, Manny! Far too many people who visit my blog leave insightful and intelligent comments; thanks for providing diversity!

    Reply
  9. Sean D. Martin

    I’m a very close friend of Richard’s. I’ve been to his house many times. I know his family. I’ve spent time with each of them and I’ve seen them interact with each other. I’ve had conversations with Richard and his wife about our respective kids and how we deal with them.

    And yet, with all that familiarity, I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to say I know what meaningful conversations Richard has or has not had with his daughter.

    So how is it, Manny, that you just know that Richard hasn’t sat down and spoken with his daughter about his concerns?

    Reply
  10. samantha

    My school is being very unfair to students and not listening to what we have to say. My school is very small so little stupid mistakes impact everyone. Some kids ran to lunch or something because are schoo was saying we needed asigned seats, so everyone wanted to pick their own and get good spots, well it was the other class. And now just our grade has assigned seats for lunch. I know this may not seem as big as u think it is but lunch is the only time people have to associate with the other class and now if we have assigned seats than we cant. I am righting a opion paper for my writing class and I wanted to put a quote on what u have to say about this. Please I really need this!

    Reply
  11. Garfield

    My reply to your seating for lunch:

    Just replace the word teenager with adult. Does it sound ridiculous if adults had to sit in their assigned places for lunch? If yes, it is also ridiculous that teenagers are required to sit in assigned places because another person decided that was a good thing. It is a pity we have the same rights as a baby. Parents have complete control. School officials and other adults have control. In this transition we ought to have more rights. Such as the right to own property.

    “She continues to insist that she is a young adult, common among adolescents. But she is physically, emotionally, and legally still a child — despite her own thought and ideals. If she was responsible, trustworthy, and capable of making appropriate decisions, then perhaps she could be considered by us to truly be a young adult in all respects except legally, but she has yet to demonstrate that level of maturity. She is making — forgive the expression — baby steps: a greater interest in school, a decreased interest in boys, an increased awareness in the importance of hygiene.”

    Oh my! She is a young adult. She is not physically a child neither is she mentally and that is the problem. How do you know that she is capable of making what you deem appropriate decisions without allowing her to do so? Teenagers are babied and are treated like mental retards. How do you expect them to act? Frustrated yes.

    Also you will probably think what I am saying has no real importance because I happen to be below the age of 18. It is probable that she is being late on purpose. I am glad you try to pick her up on time I have to wait for an hour sometimes for my parent.

    I ask you to give her a little space and not to even mention her homework. Try it as an experiment per say. You might be surprised. Also don’t do it for just a day. Do this experiment for a month. Only mention the chores once a day in a polite way. No demands. A simple reminder such as did you do your chores? The tone of voice is critical. I can read disappointment, sarcasm, frustration, annoyance, and many more feelings in my mothers voice. If she is frustrated with me I feel frustrated. If she is disappointed in me I am feel disappointed in myself even if I did something wonderful.

    It is scary letting go of the leash but you can do it. For your daughter’s sanity. I often lose mine. Step back relax and let her trip. It is nice to do things your own way as I am sure you can attest to since you are enjoying the freedoms of adulthood. Treat her like another adult for awhile. See what happens and it will take awhile because she has been used to consistent badgering. Of course warn her and let tell her the facts about drugs, sex and other awkward subjects of this world if you haven’t yet. Then armed with this knowledge she is likely to avoid such things.

    You can sound angry just by raising and lowering your voice. The tone the expression the movements. She has been watching you for years. I bet she knows your body expressions by heart and hopefully you know hers. You may not be angry with her but your body language and tone of voice may have been crying out anger and that is what she probably read. You are obviously upset with her for not living up to your expectations. She can see that as easily as she can see the sun. Body language speaks volumes words make sentences.

    “She completely refuses to do her chores, citing that homework is more important than doing chores. When called to task on it, she states that “no one acknowledges that… teenagers have rights of a free mind and the freedom to say what they want, whether people think so or not.” She goes further, stating that she “is a human being and that she has the biggest say in her life — because it’s her life.”

    Wrong. And irrelevant.”

    She does have the biggest say and it is very relevant. I agree wholeheartedly with her. Just picture this to put it in perspective you have a mind like your own right now and your mother does the exactly same things to you as you do to her. How does that feel? Would you be annoyed? Would you feel like she is treating you inappropriately, badly? How would you feel if someone who knew you since birth did not believe you were capable of making good decisions? Ask yourself how you would feel if someone were doing the same things to you. Don’t brush it aside because she is a teenager and you have the power of the whip and the reins thanks to your status of parent.

    Don’t think of her as a child. Try it. Think of her as an inexperienced adult who needs to be allowed to make her own choices. At this time you are there to give advice and rules for your household. Nagging her (which I suspect since she is not willing to do the chores) will only make her annoyed and want to do it less if she is similar to me. If someone keeps on demanding you to do something do you want to do it? If your boss kindly asked you to get coffee several times and you were doing some various tasks first then she comes in and yells at you to get some coffee would you love to go and get her some coffee?

    Also please do not think employee boss relationship that you are training her for. It makes life especially annoying when your parent cites that they are training/teaching you to be an employee. What if you want to be the boss? Own a business? Or you already know that a lot is required as an employee and do not need to be bothered about it.

    You cannot know your daughter completely. Her mind is not completely open. Neither is mine. As a teenager I have to act. I have to pretend to be something I am not to keep the adults happy. As a teenager people automatically assume I do not have reasoning, intelligence, common sense, a knowledge of what is right wrong. They assume I can easily fall into peer pressure, start taking drugs, smoking, believe everything the media says.

    It is not true. I am not even tempted to smoke. Want to know why? I know that it kills me slowly and there are many unpleasant side effects later in life. I do not want to mate early. I know the likely hood of getting pregnant. I know the dangers of sexual diseases. I do not want to drink. I know it will cloud my brain and that I would act like a total idiot. I know that it is illegal.

    You see when you explain the bad side effects respectfully it is pretty easy to see why not to do such things. What she needs is respect. You need it too but you are the parent. You are suppose to be tough.

    Respect

    Value her opinions (Don’t tell her she is wrong. You are saying that as usual you the parent have more valuable opinions than hers.

    Value her power to make decisions (Don’t cut her legs off from the start of the race because you believe that she is not capable of winning)

    Value her view of the world (All of us have a different view of the world. No two views are identical. Isn’t that grand? It would be interesting to see what she thinks about things. If you don’t contradict her she might tell you more often)

    Somethings are just her choices. (Chores are mandatory since she is living in your house. Education is her decision. She wants to work hard okay. She doesn’t okay. It is not the end of the world. Who she makes friends with and hanging out with guys. I can’t stand being around girls and I have no romantic interest whatsoever. It would be depressing not to be allowed to be around boys just because of this myth that girls and boys want only one thing from each other.)

    Her mind is almost completely formed and she is ready for more challenges. Let her take them head on. Don’t pull her back. Let her make these important decisions. You can advise her but don’t act as though you are right and she is wrong. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder well so is this idea of right and wrong, good and bad, stupid and smart. You are the beholder, and so is she. What she thinks is good, smart, right will win out in the end anyway.

    “She knows that there are three basic things things that can set me off on a daily basis as a parent: (1) being disrespectful or having a terrible, nasty attitude; (2) making me wait for her when I pick her up after school; and (3) not doing her chores. Of course, this list is not all-inclusive and allows for other heinous real-life offenses such as flunking her core classes, sneaking out in the middle of the night to attend drug and alcohol parties”

    1 Are you respecting her? Respect is not required it is earned it only can be earned. You can get what looks like it through fear or manipulation but in the end respect is what matters. If you don’t give it you don’t receive it. You are the adult you expect so much and yet think she is capable of so little. These terrible nasty attitudes can be set off. Does she start having these attitudes when you start nagging her, yelling at her, talking to her as though you are better than her and know best? By doing these things you demean her. Maybe she just had a bad day. Remain calm and respectful and she just might catch on. I believe we as humans need to be able to express the full range of emotions including anger. Encourage anger to be expressed in ways that lead to a solution to a problem.

    2. Making you wait is not nice. Have a calm talk with her asking her to come out on time because you do not enjoy waiting. Say this in a polite way without being domineering or demanding.

    3. It is not heinous to flunk core classes. There might be a reason for this. Drug and alcohol parties those are more on the serious end of the scale. I ask you this. Do you know why she would want to attend such parties? Have you ever asked her why she did such things?

    You have double standards. You believe you can yell at her without her yelling back. You can disrespect her but it is a crime for her to disrespect you. See the backwards thinking this is? You are expecting her to be an adult emotionally while you can act like a child.

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  12. Gemmany Coleen

    Well actually me being a teenager is so fun!!! Cauze my friends is helping me with my chores, not only my chores but also my assignments my study too.Cauze we study in one school only but we ignore bOyzZz. Cauze they just only annoy us, so there’s no one to like at but ofcourse we have inspirations but only actors. That’swhy I really, really like being a teenager. We go to slumber party too in our own bedrooms but sometimes at my bedroom only cuaze my bedroom is the biggest….

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  13. richard

    @Garfield: Thank you for the lengthy response, and I appreciate both your perspective and your ideas. I will try to address a number of the issues you raised.

    • I completely disagree with the assigned seating at lunch mentioned by a previous commenter. Seems like a bad idea all way ’round.
    • “How do you know that she is capable of making what you deem appropriate decisions without allowing her to do so?” We do allow her to make her own decisions on a number of matters, and she has consistently proven her ability to make inappropriate decisions. Some we ignore; for others we must intervene. It’s called parenting.
    • “You will probably think what I am saying has no real importance because I happen to be below the age of 18.” Incorrect. Otherwise I would either ignore or delete your comment. I would certainly not respond. Making assumptions, are we?
    • “Try it as an experiment per say [sic]. You might be surprised. Also don’t do it for just a day. Do this experiment for a month.” Almost three years have passed since I originally wrote the article above. My daughter is now in junior college and she has not been required to share the results in over a year. Now she flunks classes with her own money, not mine. Nothing has changed about her attitude toward schoolwork, despite the “experiment”.
    • “Only mention the chores once a day in a polite way. No demands. A simple reminder such as did you do your chores?” No difference. Believe me, I’ve tried everything. Therefore, when the cat litter doesn’t get changed, we simply move the litter box into her room for a few weeks. Then the cycle continues anew.
    • “She does have the biggest say and it is very relevant.” That is now true. When she was 14, it was not.
    • “If your boss kindly asked you to get coffee several times and you were doing some various tasks first…” Tried that. Been there. Done that. If it was part of my job to get my boss some coffee every day, and I refused or ignored the “kind” requests and threw a temper tantrum, I’m pretty sure I’d be fired after a few days — let alone a decade or so. I may not agree with all you say, but you have a well-thought-out opinion. How long would it take you to figure out that you need to get the coffee every day? Probably not long. What should the consequences be if you forget? Once or twice every now and then is forgivable. Constant blatant refusal and disrespect is not. Do you disagree?
    • “I have to pretend to be something I am not to keep the adults happy.” Good for you. Daughter doesn’t get that yet, and may never get it. It sucks, but it works. It’s called life. Think I like slaving away every day of my life to provide for my family’s needs? No, but I do it out of love and compassion, and because that’s the job and role I choose to fill. Life isn’t always fun or easy; sometimes you need to pretend it is, or at least wear a mask that hides the truth.
    • “What she thinks is good, smart, right will win out in the end anyway.” That is a very blinders-on view of the world that just won’t pan out. I like your sentiment, but your naïveté is showing — even still, I cannot help but stand up and applaud your ideals.
    • “Does she start having these attitudes when you start nagging her, yelling at her, talking to her as though you are better than her and know best?” I wish it were that simple. It starts with an unfortunate parent saying, “Good Morning!” and does not end until darkness itself has long fallen asleep. Like most teenagers, you are viewing the limited perspective that I originally painted above with selfish eyes, that the parents are at fault. It doesn’t matter who is involved: boyfriend, teacher, friends, brother, parents — all receive the very nasty end of a pointy stick just for being alive in the same room. She was recently fired from her job serving hotdogs in the mall because of her “bad attitude”. Is that our fault, too?
    • “Making you wait is not nice. Have a calm talk with her asking her to come out on time because you do not enjoy waiting. Say this in a polite way without being domineering or demanding.” Been there done that a thousand times. You are more than welcome to try.
    • “Drug and alcohol parties those are more on the serious end of the scale. I ask you this. Do you know why she would want to attend such parties? Have you ever asked her why she did such things?” Because her cousin convinced her to go. Still think she is not susceptible to peer pressure, that she makes appropriate decisions? Granted, that was once; and she quickly learned not to do that again.
    • “You have double standards. You believe you can yell at her without her yelling back.” Actually, I would prefer no yelling at all. While two wrongs do not make a right, wrongs should not always be ignored. You said it yourself — “You are the parent. You are suppose [sic] to be tough.” And yet if she does something wrong, I am not supposed to provide guidance and discipline? That is the double standard.
    • “You are expecting her to be an adult emotionally while you can act like a child.” I look forward to meeting your perfect child someday.

    I am somewhat amused by people espousing parental advice when they themselves are not and have never been parents. I’ve seen pictures of the moon, I’ve mooned people (while in college), I’ve watched Michael Jackson and Buzz Aldrin moonwalk, I’ve enjoyed listening to Moon River, and I am a fan of The Who’s Keith Moon — but none of those things make me a rocket scientist, nor give me special insight into what the moon is really about.

    Reply
  14. Sean D. Martin

    Oh, that’s easy, Richard. The moon is really about 3500 km across, really about 384,000 km away, really about 7.35 x 10^22 kilograms.

    What? I was missing your point? Well why should I be different than any other poster?

    Reply
  15. Narconon Louisiana

    Well for one thing, you shouldn’t be so hard on your kid, they will eventually learn what is needed and they will do that. It takes time. You don’t want to make her feel like she has to do drugs or drink to escape her “troubles” just bear with it and she will eventually do what is expected of her.

    Reply
  16. Sean D. Martin

    She will eventually do what is expected, Narconon, because rules have been laid down and she’s been held accountable for meeting expectations all along. A sense of responsibility doesn’t just appear spontaneously one day. It’s the result of years of having responsibilities and being held accountable for not living up to them.

    Reply
  17. dj

    i have to agree with your duaghter… if you are always yelling at her and making her feel bad about herself she isnt gunna want to help out around the household

    Reply

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