Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I will not engage

I've tried this before, and then I slack off because the truth is, I like to argue, too. But this week I've resolved to refuse to engage with the Boy when starts to argue with me. I can't engage anymore because he will not back down and he will argue and argue until I'm down on the floor begging for some peace and quiet. A usual argument starts with me making a statement like "Clear the table". Simple, right? His response is almost always "It's not my job, I did it last time, I'll do it later, I don't want to move, Why do I have to do it...?" Pick one or all, it doesn't matter. The argument is always the same.

When I engage I start to reason with him. But there is no reasoning with a teenager bent on exhausting you until you give up and go running off holding your head in your hands and screaming with pain. So I stopped. Cold turkey. I didn't even discuss it with him, because it would just lead to another stand-down. Why bother?

Today I gave him a direct order. School starts in 3 weeks. He has not started his summer reading yet. He is required to read three books, one that all kids in his grade and class read, one chosen from a list, and one of his choice. The book of his choice is always a book he's read before, and I don't really care because he's an excellent reader and he reads most of the year. But... he hates fiction. Hates it. Unfortunately, the two books he has to read are fiction. So the third book is a non-fiction book about plagues. That's more his style.

Back to engaging. I have nagged and nagged for weeks about reading, and every day it's a new excuse. After hearing every damn reason why he doesn't have to start reading until a day before school starts, I got pissed. And I locked him out of the computer. Tomorrow, if I don't see him crack a book, he loses the Xbox too. If he still hasn't broken a spine on at least one book by Thursday, he can't watch anymore 24 episodes, which I presonally consider a fate worse than death.

It's up to him now. He can either make the last three weeks of his vacation suck or he can start reading. Ditto for other things. He either cooperates or he loses the things that mean the most to him. The arguing is too annoying otherwise.

Of course, he started in on his sister as soon as he realized he wasn't getting on the computer.

In other news, I picked up my new glasses today. It has been so long since I've had a new pair of glasses (9 years) that when I put them on and walked out of the store, I got nauseated. It was really unsettling, but I'm pretty much used to them now. I don't particularly like the frames, but they are sturdy, blend in to my face, and are comfy. I got a tint that is a bit darker than I've had before, but I have to have a tint due to my light sensitivity, especially around flourescent lights. I'll manage.
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Blogger Marie said...

Exactly. Quit nagging and start punishing. Nagging gets you nothing (I have three teen age boys).

16/8/06 4:15 PM  
Blogger NotSoccer Mom said...

i have to do the same with my 7yo son... i threatened to take away his beloved stuffed cat that he's been sleeping with for years. i didn't know what else to do! it's so frustrating.
glad to hear you got some glasses.

16/8/06 5:49 PM  

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