Net Stash Reduction Goal for 2008 – 150 yards
Net Used to Date – 26 yards
Net Yards To Go – 124 yards
Not that I ever feel the need to explain my parenting skills (or lack thereof) but just to set the record straight — we do have rules, we will always have rules and there’s not much room for negotiation. As far as curfew, if there’s something “special” going on, we can change the curfew.
Chad’s a very smart kid. In fact, he’s on the Dean’s List now with close to a 4.0 average (if you don’t count the first semester!) When Chad was in high school, we told him he had to have a “B” average in order to get his driver’s license. He never did it. He thought it was funny that his teachers told him he was brilliant but lazy! He graduated without a driver’s license. Then we told him when he got a job, he could get a license. He did finally get a job and get a license.
We gave him Vince’s Mazda 626 to drive and told him it was his until he got a ticket or had an accident that was his fault. It took him 2 weeks to get a ticket going 77 in a 55 mph zone. He used most of his savings/graduation money to pay us for the car and buy his own car insurance.
The rules about college were that he paid 100% of his tuition and books. If he made all A’s and B’s and maybe one “C”, he got reimbursed totally. The first semester, he made all “F’s” and one “D” and lost lots of money! His own money! He was shocked that he was getting none of it back. I was shocked that he never went to class! He continues to pay his own tuition and books and has gotten reimbursed 100% due to good grades since that first semester.
Life in the “cave” isn’t quite as cushy for Chad as it is for some 20 year olds. I want him to always feel welcome here, to stay here while he’s going to school (mainly because of the cost of living away from home) but I also want life to be not so easy here that he never wants to leave. His bedroom will make an excellent fabric/batting storage room! And, the bathroom in the basement is his bathroom and I’ll be so happy to not have to run up the stairs every time I have to use it!!
So, bottom line is I love him very much, I want him here as long as he needs to be here. Chad is the kind of kid that needs rules and needs very specific rules. My rules will prevail and I hope one day he looks back and realizes part of what he is in life is because we had rules.
One funny story about tough love that wasn’t so funny when it happened. One night in Owensboro Chad was mad at me about the curfew. He came in a few minutes after midnight and while I wasn’t furious with him, I explained to him that the time to be in was midnight and not 5 minutes after midnight and as long as he lived there, he was going to be in when I said he had to be in. He decided he would leave. OMG . . what do I do? Tough love kicked in and I said “I’ll miss you but if you’re going to leave tonight, go ahead and go so I can get some sleep!” He threw all the essentials, including the guitar, in his car and as he was leaving, I told him to give me the garage door opener and the cell phone since I pay for that. Vince was in Atlanta on business and I called him in the middle of the night crying! I called my friend Becky first thing the next morning crying!
Seems as though Chad went to his friend’s house and the mom there, who I’ll always be grateful for her actions, said “no, you’re not staying here if you’ve had a fight with your mom.” It was almost 1 a.m. by now and Chad didn’t have his cell phone to call anyone else so he drove to the Wal-Mart parking lot and spent the night there. The next morning, he came home with roses and much more agreeable attitude. I’ll always believe if he had taken the cell phone, he would have called around til he found a place to stay and might not have come home ever.
Raising kids is tough; sticking to my guns and enforcing the rules is tough. I believe that kids, as well as adults, need to know that rules are specific and not just a guideline. Be in by midnight doesn’t mean somewhere between midnight and 1:00 a.m. Handicap parking spaces don’t mean it’s ok to park here if you’re not handicapped if you’re in a big hurry! I am from the generation that means rules are definite!
As someone said, I pick the battles I want to fight. Chad’s hair is long but it’s clean and that’s not a battle I choose to fight. He spends money as fast as he makes it. I’ve tried to explain to him that he needs to set aside a certain amount from each paycheck for an emergency fund. He doesn’t and I’m not saying anything. When he is totally broke and has a car repair bill that he doesn’t have the money for and is bumming rides or walking, he’ll learn the importance of the emergency fund without me having to say a word.
Curfew is a battle I choose to fight. I think too much bad stuff goes on in the middle of the night (not that it doesn’t happen in the daytime too) but at our house, Chad can get his business done and get home by midnight. Vince and I both usually wake up when Chad comes home so the time he gets in affects our lives.
He’ll graduate from college in 2 years and then, if not sooner, he’ll be out on his own and he will be free to stay out as late as he wishes.