Parenting tweens and teens: it’s fun and weird, but never dull

So I find this on my kitchen counter:

She obviously has trouble getting those little elastics out of her hair. I’ve shown her how to do this without tearing out her hair in clumps, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Either that, or she’s too impatient and just tugs at the elastic until it, and a clump of hair, is released.

This is not the weird part.

The weird part is WHY she leaves it on the counter for me.

Is it a present?

A reminder that she doesn’t like the elastics?

A plea for help?


Or is she just too lazy to turn around and walk one and a half steps to deposit the clumpy mess into the garbage bin?


The other kid has his moments too. He can be so predictable…I just chuckle to myself that at 13, he still hasn’t figured out that mom has magical powers. You know, mother’s instinct. This is what happened:

On Monday he finally got the chance to deposit his birthday check from his aunt. He then asked me if I could take him to the drugstore where they sell a certain type of gift card for some video game he’s playing with his buddies online (Fortnite).

I had to go anyway so we went. They were out of that card, but he knew of another store that had it. He wanted to go there.

That store was near his bus stop and I suggested instead of having me drive out that way, he could just get the card tomorrow after school.

He really wanted it today.

I said: “Why? You’re not allowed to play video games during the school week…”

“Please?” he pleaded. “I really want to have it ready for Friday.”

I hesitated. Why does he need the card so desperately when the weekend is still almost an entire week away? Not like he can play using the card tonight…

Then I had an idea.

“What do I get out of driving you out of my way?”

He suggested he’ll unload the dishwasher.

“You have to unload it anyway, that doesn’t do anything for me.” I said. 🙄

We finally agreed he would peel and cut all the carrots, place them into a container, and clean up afterwards.

Fine. I drove my firstborn to the store and he got his card. He was really happy.

Fast forward to the next day. I had special news for him when he got home from school.

“You got into the umpire clinic, the course is on Sunday.” I told him.

He will be umpiring the baseball games of kids his own age or younger as a sort of part-time, seasonal summer job. They make decent money and they can pick the diamonds that are close to home (so they can walk or bike and not require parents to drive them).

The only thing that surprised him though was how long the course will be.

“Seven hours is a long time”, he said and I saw his wheels turning in his teenage brain.

Sunday is a weekend day and typically the day he plugs into Fortnite with half his hockey team…

I sat on the couch and watched him eat his after school snack.

“Mom”, he said after a while.


I saw it coming. I saw him process his beloved free weekend time to disappear into the rec room, plug in with his friends, and play his games. I waited for the negotiation.

Long story short: I allowed him an hour on several conditions. Partly I felt bad that he didn’t get his present on his birthday, which incidentally was during spring break, because the aunt who gifted him was unable to see him until the week after, when school was back on.

His childhood is slowly slipping away. He is starting to realize that the things he likes to do requires money, and that means getting jobs and working. He’s willing, and quite happy to go for those opportunities, but I do know he really values his weekend time with the PS4. He’s [still] a kid in so many ways. Video games are part of this generation’s culture now, and we do restrict him quite heavily most of the time.

I did however make it very clear that if he disrespected the hour, and had excuses why it took longer, that he will not be allowed to plug in on Saturday, at all.

I will let him step up to this occasion, and allow him to follow through.

Hope I won’t regret it. 🙂

Noted to add: he finished on the hour, came upstairs and helped me finish up the kitchen. Then he learned how to bbq sausages and, afterwards, the kids and I played hang-man.

Things are looking up!

17 Replies to “Parenting tweens and teens: it’s fun and weird, but never dull”

  1. I miss these times with my kids. My daughter is 23 and my son is almost 22. Our discussions are now about adult issues, childhood is gone. I am more sounding board than negotiator these days 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I love this! I really love the negotiations and how you worked that out with him. I really think it does kids that age (mine is 14) really respond well when we treat them as much like an adult as possible and work out situations like this. Great job, Mama!

    Liked by 1 person

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