Monday, 20 August 2012

Punishing a teenager

Punishing a teenager
20 August 2012

So, how exactly does one punish a teenager?  And is it even possible? 

I am the ‘proud’ owner of a teenager.  Now for those of you who are not in possession of one of these – let’s just say “it’s challenging”.  Enough said.  For teenagers it’s all about stretching boundaries and limits and seeing how far you can go – with or without incurring the wrath of your parents.  And I’m quite sure that they have a slide rule in their head, with which they’re constantly measuring their options and calculating by how much the joy of what they want to do now, outweighs the punishment or consequences of their actions later.

Clearly, corporal punishment is not an option.  For one, Luke is absolutely huge.  A friend once told me that you can’t give a teenager a hiding, as it would embarrass them.  Is that not the point of doing it?  Now I’m not saying I would do it, but go figure.  Why else resort to those measures?  Which leaves me with only one option really – take away that which he values most.  I don’t like doing this.  It is terrible – for him and for me.  Inevitably I feel sorry for him, but once the punishment has been metred out, I must stick to it and may not cave in.  And I may not show weakness.  If he knows that he has my sympathies or that my heart is softening, he’ll drive me nuts and try and wear me down.  It’s the whole “give-them-the-hand-and-they’ll-take-your-whole-arm-thing”.  I’m sure that the “nagging-like-a-dripping-tap” saying was invented by the mother of a teenager.  Poor woman – I feel her pain.

So recently my “angel” was very naughty at school (details may be divulged if you offer me money).  I was lucky in that he confessed to me, the second I fetched him from school that afternoon.  Not entirely sure whether he would have confessed in the first place, if he had not been bust at school though.  Anyway, bygones.  And to say I was hopping mad is putting it mildly.  I was practically levitating – quite a feat given the fact that I was driving at the time.  So, in going with the whole “hitting him where it hurts most theme”, I’ve taken away his cell phone and computer privileges for a period of time.  Good mommy, I am – I think.  This will teach him a lesson – I think.  He will suffer – I think.  And clearly the boy is, but sadly so am I - now this I did not think through.

Luke is now in High School – so life seems to fluctuate.  There’s always something on after school, just randomly, unexpectedly, ending who knows when and now I can never get hold of him and don’t know when to fetch him.  I spend loads of time waiting for him.  And naturally he can’t get hold of me either.  So, it’s actually ended up being a huge pain in the butt.  But, I also can’t give in now.  I have basically complicated my own life.  He constantly bemoans the fact that he may not go on the computer, unless it’s for school work – and this I find easier to deal with.  He’s playing more sport outdoors in the afternoons at the moment and Luke, Amber and Cole now also play hockey in the passage in the evenings.  We definitely get to see more of the boy, now that he’s not plugged into the computer.  And imagine my surprise when I discovered that he actually had two completely formed hands.  I had thought that his Black Berry had morphed into his one hand.  And initially, I wasn’t even sure that I would be able to confiscate the phone, without amputating the hand first.

A friend of mine has two teenage daughters, and I somehow think that it’s easier with girls.  When they misbehave, she confiscates their make-up concealers (ironically, they both have immaculate skin already).  They would rather die, than appear in public with even the hint of a pimple.  And when they really, really, really push her buttons and annoy her, she confiscates their hair straighteners (ironically, they both have really straight hair already).  The mere thought of a wisp of fuzz, sends them into a blind panic.  My friend is convinced, that in the event of a fire, the only thing they would attempt to save from the burning wreckage of their home, would be their concealer and hair straightener.  She’s not entirely sure that they would even try and save their little brother.  So clearly with girls, it’s all about vanity.  And I have filed this little titbit for later use, when Amber starts giving me grief.  Sure it will come in handy in the future and I’m really glad I have an insider edge on girls.

So as conventional corporal punishment is no longer available to me as an effective misbehaviour deterrent, and “hitting him where it hurts most” seems to leave me more punished than Luke, I’ve been toying with a different idea.  I’m thinking about getting myself a taser gun (check evil glint in my eye).  Perhaps I could shock him into submission?  Oh, will probably be extra effective with his braces.  Maybe if I connect electrodes directly to his teeth?  Me-thinks the mere threat of the taser gun will probably do the trick.  Will keep you posted, so watch this space……Feeling like listening to a little bit of AC/DC all of a sudden – THUNDERSTRUCK!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment