Boring Parental Stuff.

I was the lone teller at the bank on Saturday.  The ABM was there to pick up the slack, which was nice, or it could’ve been ugly. (^_-)

Cut for boring parental stuff: [seriously – no comics, publishing, BL, movies – nothing]

I’ve always hated micro-managing and the whole managerial coaching thing [created by William Deming I think…] and have had it used on me extensively at the bank these past few weeks – I resent it because I know it’s crap and it get results from me only because I know it’s crap and the better I perform, the less I need to hear it.

Imagine my surprise at its success when I decided to implement it in dealing with my son.

He’s fourteen – hates his dad, hates school, is a fanatical gamer, professional griper, expert underachiever, with the added bonus of only recently developing an interest in looking ‘clean’ or taking the initiative to bath himself properly.  He’s a typical 14 year old –

TIME OUT:  I’ve always marveled at these women who turn up on the news for having affairs with 14 year old male students.  My first response is always… EW.

No lie.

I’ve got a fourteen year old boy and I know the evils of the age group. There’s nothing sexy there – it’s just a big trash bag of gross.  I’m not talking about the boys on tv, those 14-15 year old characters played by 19-20 year old actors NOT REALITY – those are idealized reps of the age group—the real deal is just downright nasty.  AXE and Tony Hawk’s clothing line hasn’t made things better – their products just mask the aroma of funk and disguise the gangley physical imperfections that are the typical zit-faced punk who often forgets to wear his deodorant or wash his hair, and always forgets he has homework.   Not sexy, ever.

Ladies into the fictional 14 yo boys in BL, Harry or Draco, or the boys from Twatlight…your lust is not based on anything REAL, you’re the normal ones. Women aroused by and then in pursuit of, actual fourteen year old boys? Ew.

Back to topic.   I decided to use the old positive management shtick on my son because he wants a Netbook for the holidays.

Report cards arrived in time for the pre-holiday shopping season – and of course Maggie’s report card is perfect and will save the world – the added bonus of a letter from the school informing us she’s in the top two percent of her class was a nice touch.  Ian, on the other hand, clocked in at a 74 average overall, two points down from last semester. :/  I got home from work and my spouse informed me he bought Mag some canvas and paints from Hobby Lobby – my first instinct was gripe about it because this was not planned spending – especially with the holiday so close.  BUT – how can I argue with him when he says ‘hey, she busts her ass in school, I wanted to reward her.’  I shut my mouth, how can I argue with that? I can’t.  We had dinner and walked around the shops, wandered into a Best Buy and discussed the kids’ holiday requests.  Mag wants the new iPod Nano – that’s doable. Ian wants a Netbook so he can cruise Youtube, listen to his music, and visit StickPage.  This is why he’s in the Netbook range and not in consideration for a full court Laptop. I’m not spending a fortune on what the boy will use simply as a tool to entertain himself.  So we got to looking at Netbook prices. 0_0  Not as cheap as a Nano…and the spouse is very unsupportive of me spending this much money on a boy who doesn’t give a shit about school, and hates his guts.

Once we talked yet again about Ian’s dislike of him being a normal right of passage for most boys [I don’t discount how much it hurts my spouse though, it sucks massively and he’s really struggling with the change in my son’s attitude toward him] I decided to pull the ‘manager’ mask out of my closet and sat down with Ian and had ‘an employee sit-down’.

I explained the current netbook situation, and how I wasn’t comfortable with spending this money, considering his current level of performance.  I told him it was do-able if he was could meet my basic expectations:

  • Keep your room clean
  • Bring up the grades [80 average overall would work for me]
  • More respect for your father and less hostility.

Then I switched gears and I asked him what “I” could do for him, to ensure more positive results from him.  I needed these results in order to justify to ‘dad’ that I was going to spend the money on this netbook.  To my shock, he opened up without arguing, rolling his eyes, or being pissy with me.  He delivered his expectations [what he wanted from me]:

  • Private time alone
  • More time on the Xbox 360 [his dads]
  • …a raise in his allowance.

Inside, it made my stomach turn to utilize tactics like this, because to me they’re so conformist and hokey – but I was doing it and it was fucking working.   We came to some terms, and he shocked me with his suggestions and adherence to my terms –

  • I’ll raise his allowance to $10 a week – but he must add his bathroom, AND the trash, to his WEEKLY responsibilities.
  • I’ll buy a lock for his door,  so he can have his private time.
  • He agreed to take on two more days of tutoring after school, in order to bring up his grades.

The xBox thing?  It’s his dads xBox – I told him he’d have to work on being more respectful with him in order to earn time on the xBox.  He also shared with me his desire to start working out with weights so he can get bigger and have no one ‘mess with him’.  He hasn’t had any physical issues as of yet with any students – but he feels that if he’s strong [muscles], he’ll never have any.  My spouse decided to take this on with him; and today they worked out in the garage.

As I sit here now I realize that I strategically managed my ‘employee’ toward a more positive and productive ‘work experience’.

Ugh.

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6 Comments

  1. I once created a pie chart to show my teens how much of the household budget is spent on them. I followed with a bar graph that compared how few chores they did around the house versus the money we spent on them divided by an hourly rate. Something sank in, because they each took on a few more chores and started doing them better. I felt so hokey while giving my “presentation”, but hey, you do what works.

  2. Hey Katrina!

    I know…I just couldn’t believe it we had a coherent conversation about “his” issues without the rolling eyes, angst, and scowls. Perhaps the whole ‘positive management’ thing grew out of an industry with loads of youthful employees? ^_-

    How was Bishiecon??

  3. Hey Hayden!

    I didn’t realize I typed that!! You know who coined that phrase? The brilliant Brittney-Jade Colangelo – at her horror blog Day of the Woman http://dayofwoman.blogspot.com/ [I read it religiously]. ‘Twatlight’ has now seeped it’s way into my consciousness; I slipped one day and say it in front of Maggie, and she said ‘what?’ and I said – Twilight. 🙂

  4. Tina ~ I always thought middle managers talked down to me like I was a snotty teenager. Maybe now we know why??

    I thought BishieCon went really well! Lots of peeps stopped by my table and seemed receptive to the Western take on things, which was encouraging. I posted a bit about it on my blog, which I’ll like to via the website link below.

  5. Ok. I’ve stopped laughing and crying at the same time. How I sympathize with your youthful drama. I have 16 and 13 year old boys–double your pleasure and fun. The both have zero academic interests and hate their father, who is micro-manager supreme. I am happy to hear your son was willing to negotiate. Our oldest knows everything and our youngest simply shuts down. Sigh. I keep holding on to the “they’ll grow out of it”-blanket I’ve been promised. Enjoying your blog. Thanks for it.

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