Where Do You Draw The Line?

Sometimes I think the media has sold us a bill of goods when it comes to portraying parenthood — and motherhood in particular. Mothers are expected to be continually patient, giving, self-sacrificing, yadda, yadda, yadda, right?

But what about the days when you’ve had it up to HERE with your kid? When your teenager has been kind and pleasant to everyone in his world except the person who brought him into this world? Are moms allowed to say “Enough!” when a child says, in the words of  Tony Wolf and Suzanne Franks in their book, “Get Out of My Life (But First Take Me and Alex Into Town)“?

I’m a mom. I realize teenagers do what they do. I was one myself, and I was a royal pain in the ass at times. I get it.

But I do think a mom has a right — perhaps an obligation — to sometimes say “Since you’ve used that tone (or those words, or those actions) with me, and been disrespectful and hurtful, I won’t be taking you to the mall. In fact, you won’t be going to the mall today at all.”

Teenagers need to be given a pass on a certain amount of “tude.” We know it’s developmentally normal. But there’s a line that can be crossed, and parents should not allow their child to be disrespectful and hurtful to others.

You have tools here: Cell phones, video games, computer time, TV time, goof-off time with friends… All of it is a privilege, not a right.

It’s not your job, Mom, to be treated poorly and then to drive your kid to the theater to see Avatar.

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4 Responses to “Where Do You Draw The Line?”

  1. Joy says:

    I believe that because there are adult relationships in their future…they have to learn the concept of “you scratch my back, I scratch yours.” This is the method I would reiterate to my kids. If you want me to put up with a lot from you and still give you a lot, then I’m going to call in my chips and ask for stuff from you. When you freak out, then I guess you’ve said that you believe the imbalance is okay and boy do I need to treat you a lesson.

  2. Jen Singer says:

    Very well said, Kathy. The people who let their toddlers rule the roost now have teens who do the same. It’s never too late to take back the role of parent.

  3. Susan says:

    Very true, Jen — but the longer a parent waits to take back that role, the harder the child will fight to retain the status quo.