WARNING: Post is long. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My previous post regarding this topic ended with an upcoming Parent/Teacher conference and me hoping to look good in a bikini, in case you needed a refresher. Without mincing words, Teen1 was put through a serious ringer, having to sit down with ALL of his teachers, the Director of his school program, the guidance councilor, as well as his mom and dad. Not only that, but he had to deal me…. The Evil Stepmother.
Let me explain. I want everyone to know that under normal circumstances, I stay far away from handing out discipline. I don’t want my stepkids to feel like I’m trying to be their mom and I also don’t want my husband to feel like I’m trying to usurp his authority. It is a fine line and one that I try very hard to keep at arms length. I will expound about why I prefer this strategy in a future post. (Shameless self promotion… so sign up for my blog updates to be notified when I post it.)
However, what happens when one parent just can’t deal with it anymore? My husband is under a tremendous amount of stress and he does this every day to provide a wonderful life for his kids and me. (A fact that seems to have been forgotten by a few certain individuals… ahem). When we found out Teen1 was failing English, then getting Ds in four classes, it was like a punch to the gut. How much more could he possibly do to help? No matter what my husband had tried, nothing he did was getting through to Teen1.
So, I stepped up and told him I would try a little tough love. Evil love… downright sly, and borderline Gestapo love. Thus, becoming The Evil Stepmother: Harbinger of All Things Unfair.
I made a list of his transgressions. Then for each transgression, I listed the equivalent of what it would be in real life. Example: You didn’t turn in your English assignments because you didn’t feel like it. TRANSLATE: You didn’t turn in your weekly progress report to your engineering boss because you didn’t feel like it.
Are they both monotonous? Yes. Both required? Yes.
Then I laid out punishments. Example: Teen1 must show me every single missing assignment (even if it won’t count for credit) as well as each homework assignment due the next day. TRANSLATE: Boss will require missing reports, as well as scrutinizing you more closely than others and will pass you up for the big promotion you wanted because you cannot show simple responsibility and willingness to do work.
That is just one example among the many I talked to him about. Did he listen? I think so, but he won’t really believe me until it happens to him in real life. Then, maybe, he will look back and think, “Oh, they were right!”
So, why do I call myself the Evil Stepmother? After attempting a heart-to-heat and explaining why this behavior will not work in the real world, I enacted the following:
- Car privileges are revoked. Only to and from school or errands we need him to run.
- Internet is revoked. I will change WiFi password every day. Only one hour allowed to complete online assignments.
- No social life. No girlfriend, activities after school, or hanging out with friends.
- Designated chauffeur. He will drive Teen2 where ever she needs to go.
- All assignments will be completed and shown to me before school the next day. I will also be in touch with his teachers every day to make sure he is in attendance as well as turning in his assignments.
- Any arguing, protesting, or scheming will result in an additional day of punishment for each transgression.
Ouch. Yes, he was FUMING mad.
Was I a huge bitch for doing this? I don’t know. Maybe. But I wanted to underscore the point of listening to his mom and dad. If you don’t listen to them and do as they say, then you are going to have to answer to me and you REALLY aren’t going to like it. I will uphold my end of the bargain, no matter how you think you can sweet talk me. Not going to happen. Do your work. Period.
I won’t lie, I struggled with having to discipline him. It wasn’t easy and it sure as hell wasn’t fun. After this momentous discussion (I may add that he didn’t say one word in protest), he called his mom and begged to move back in with her. She said no and that she backed my decisions and my punishments 100%.
Huh. Sweet! Being a united front with both my husband and his ex-wife really nailed the points home.
So, how is he doing with school now?
Brought all of his grades up to a 3.0 and is a week away from finishing almost a full year of Latin. Graduation announcements are in the mail, his cap and gown the prestigious color of having 4 + AP courses has been purchased, and acceptance to his university is back on track.
Phew. Way to go!!!!!!
What happened after that?
Teen1 (via email): Please watch these videos and keep an open mind about why I don’t need to go to college.