Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer, they're pushing the envelope!

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but this summer in the northeast has gotten off to a very soggy start, we've been growing webs between our toes! But the rain hasn't curtailed the behavior of our Gen Yers. "School's out for the summer!" It's almost a mantra, and when it comes to the "rules of the school year" it seems to be the summer when the envelope gets pushed the most, and the rules seem to be pushed right out the window! Or at least there's a serious attempt to throw them out. :) This isn't just about kids who've just graduated from high school, this is also about college age kids and even kids who are living at home after college.

For those of you parents that have been through this, you know exactly what I'm talking about. For those yet to get there, trust me, you will!

Kids and curfews. Kids waking you when they get in to let you know they're home (as requested). How do these apply on a "school night?" A work night? The weekends? Over the fourth? And I'm afraid this is a debated topic when they come home for Thanksgiving, for the holidays, for any of their breaks!

You've got rules in your home regarding curfews. Maybe it's midnight, maybe it's a phone call at midnight to let you know where they are. And then you ask them to wake you when they get home, because if they don't, when you wake up to pee you can't help but go check their bedroom to be sure they're safe and sound. Then of course YOUR REM sleep has been interrupted and if they're not home, then you're worried; you're texting, or calling....Does that curfew stand every night of the week? After seven days of midnights, or one, two, three in the mornings, I don't know about you, but that gets exhausting! Not for them particularly, for you! Maybe you can reach a 'weekend understanding' and the weekdays they're in at a more reasonable hour, say 10. My mother had this saying, "nothing good happens after midnight." That's another one of those things I've adopted, to my kids' chagrin.

Well, something's gotta give, the proverbial 'you know what' hits the fan...and one thing I think many of us can agree on, it's not pretty when Mom blows her gasket. Usually this happens after Mom has had virtually no sleep or at least no continuous sleep and she's been working, keeping the house running smoothly, getting meals on the table, doing the laundry and she feels that she's doing everything and the kid, feeling or acting ever so entitled (or at least it seems that way to you), isn't doing anything but staying out til all hours, sleeping in until noon (if there's no job to get up for....) Does this sound familiar?

If it does, communication is key! Communication between you and your kid. Be upfront! Don't get to the "gasket blowing stage" if you can avoid it. Let them know what your expectations are, they'll let you know what theirs are, and then come to consensus or a compromise.

As your high school graduate is stretching, feeling their oats, saying their "good byes," working on their independence, etc. they tend to push these buttons the most. The second runner up is the kid home from college, having experienced independence and making decisions on their own, they're not used to parents and their rules, and then comes the kid that's been living on their own, 21 and over, and they can't understand why you need to be woken up or why it matters what time they come in at night? Hello?! (Just wait until their parents).

I have to confess, that I was surprised to hear my mother's words come out of my mouth when I first experienced this as a Mom, summer-days run into nights-run into days-curfew vs. no curfew-discussion: "as long as you're living under our roof, it's our rules..." YIKES! I'll also confess that I didn't quite come down that hard, we worked out compromise and consensus. When I was able to articulate how I felt, how rude I thought they were being and how I felt taken advantage of, that though they may not need a lot of sleep, some of us do...and the guilt started to set in (their guilt), they got the message...life's improved dramatically! They don't hear their mother's wrath or maybe they were hearing nagging or as I re-read this, whining...Sleep! Sleep is key! But more importantly, communication, it tends to work things out!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Bep, was feeling a bit alone on this issue and I as DID blow my gasket during one particularly agregious curfew breaking episode, I now use phrases like "crystal clear" when they are headed out the door. Respect, reason and our concern for their welfare does seem to resonate with them as opposed to demands...logic works as oposed to threats and because I said so's, at least for now ( :

Matt said...

Always the best to try and find middle ground. Talking is good.

But there is a double standard for rules applied to the men versus ladies (as was pointed out many times at our house by the sisters which we got around by knowing which stairs squeeked the most).

Why a double standard? The fear of your daughter getting pregnant.

So the talk has to be cordial, but also real allowing your child to make decisions, smart decisions.

Bep thanks again for sharing.

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