Tuesday, December 07, 2010
I need help!
Advice time please.
My dearest son, Mark, is now 12.5 years old. It appears he is in the midst of puberty.
Check out the photos.... this one was from one year ago - probably to the day - he is a boy, young fresh and innocent!
This one is from a couple of weeks ago, the face shape has changed, he is bigger, his feet have become flippers! You know what I mean.
My problem is constantly asking for stuff and saying no to everything. Yes I'm aware this is quite normal, but how does one deal with it.
EVERY single day, he says "I don't want a shower", and it truly is every single day. Mark is a sweater, he has the beginnings of acne. I want him to take pride in himself, being clean, nice smelling and caring for his skin. In the bathroom, we have lots of different cleansers for pimple prone skin.. he is still fighting using it. I've explained that he's not doing it for me, but for his own self esteem. He is a very good looking boy, he doesn't need acne, if it comes despite us trying well that is one thing, but not trying at all is failure. His hair is always greasy and his skin is sticky from sweat. It doesn't seem to bother him, but we're a modern family and have access to clean water and it is cultural to have daily showers. Why does he fight this. At 6.45am this morning he came into my room and whispered in my ear, not fully checking if I was awake... "Oh mum, I don't want a shower this morning ok?"
So we have a fight at 6.45am.. yes that's a nice way to start ones day.
Other issue is money and shopping.
He has no concept of money and its worth. We haven't done pocket money, not really sure why, but it hasn't' worked for us. I must admit, I spoiled him as a younger kid, when we went shopping, I'd get him a Matchbox car, they were only $3 and it was a nice thing to do. Now his tastes have changed. Its Nerf guns he wants. "This one is only $20 mum, its really cheap", "This one is only $50 and its really rare" and of course I say no. Then he stomps off, then he gets in my face and asks over and over and over and over again. So I have to say no over and over etc... well you get the picture. So then it changes to oh seems I can't have a Nerf gun, can I have a coke, a chocolate bar, a movie, a new pair of shoes, a hat, a ball, a donut, a book (oooh mum you want me to read) and it continues until I get so cross I nearly cry. So instead of saying "no" once, I have said it 15 times and he's almost crying and so am I.
We often discuss that its not fair to ask for things all the time, that we have a limited income and will soon have three kids. He understands that and then the comment "If I be good for this trip and don't ask for anything, can I have a clear **insert whatever blasted thing he wants**"
HOW DO I RESPOND TO THIS?
I'm 23 weeks pregnant, someone who can't cope in heat, and its hot, I have a small baby, I don't sleep very well, I get worn out. He wears me down, sometimes I give in, probably too often which is why he keeps it up. But my last comment makes the most sense. If I spend $20 on something for Mark each time we go out (which he seems to expect, and no I don't indulge him that often) when Ryan and the new baby are bigger that is $60... we can't afford that, no one can. Its totally wrong to indulge that much anyway, I'm aware of that.
My mother has suggested that we start giving him an allowance and all his indulgences he has to pay for himself. That makes sense, what is a good figure for allowance? We plan to give him a prepaid phone for Christmas, one for him to text his friends and call me, so that will be about $30 every two months... that is my expectation. I can see that being a huge battle when the credit runs out.
We also have issues with extreme screen time, he will be on the computer from the minute he walks in the door until he goes to bed given the choice. That is 6 hours!!! I have to drag him away to do his chores which are a really basic feed the dogs and empty the dishwasher daily. Mow the lawn and generally help out when asked. But its such a chore.
Ok I'm going to stop now, I really need help, Mark is living with us for at least the next 5 years, we have to live in a way that doesn't require me to yell... cos that doesn't work either.