Posts Tagged ‘consequences smonsequences


His Priorities Are Fine, Until They Aren’t Mine

operationheadphoneAlpha Tween has a dream.

Well, probably many, but the one I am thinking about involves saving enough money for a pair of Beats by Dre.

For those of you who are not “hip” those are really, REALLY nice headphones. I have a pair and they are fantastic.

They are also not cheap.

So when AT said that not only did he want them, but that he wanted to buy them with money he earned we knew it was a tall order but also thought it was a great idea.

It’s been a long haul so far, but he’s learning about saving money (we also make him save 5-10% of what he earns through chores and projects to go in the bank), setting goals, how to achieve them and how to long you have to work to do so.

He’s also learning about priorities. One of his other goals was the buy the game Minecraft for the laptop the kids have.

That cost about $27. He chose a while back to buy the game, which decimated his pile of Beats money, probably taking it down by 50-75%.

I talked to him about it, made sure he knew that it would set him back in reaching his first goal and then let him buy the game.

So here we are now, mid-summer, and now he’s considering buying a new 3DS (that’s a hand held game system for you non-hip folks again) as his current DS is dying a tragic and lingering death.

Money-in-the-AirAs a new 3DS is going to cost him as much—if not more—than the Beats were going to, I was talking to him again about how significantly that choice would set him back.

And as we were talking, I was concerned and I couldn’t figure out why.

Why do I care what he’s spending his money on? It’s his money, he earned it and ultimately unless he wants to spend it on something harmful to himself or others (an AK-47 or rail gun for instance) he should be able to spend it on what he wants.

Hell, if he wants to buy $200 worth of candy, that’s his money. He’ll have to learn to live with the consequences, just as he will if he spends the money elsewhere.

Isn’t that the point my wife and I are making? That you can choose to do what you will with your money but you’re the one who deals with the consequences?

Which is when it hit me—this isn’t as much about me worrying about him as it is me not being to understand his choices.

I mean, I have no real interest in a DS, right? If it were me, I’d buy the headphones and call it good.

Which is probably what The Wife said when I—er Santa—gave us a Playstation for Christmas.

I’m sure she couldn’t quite grasp why we didn’t just get something else she might think is more important.

So when the kid comes home this evening, we’ll sit down and talk. Because as important as learning responsibility and hard work is, he also needs to learn that just because someone else wouldn’t do what he’s doing doesn’t mean you should do something different.

And just because someone spends their money in a way you wouldn’t, doesn’t mean they’re wrong or you’re wrong.

It’s so easy to let others influence your choices, especially when you’re a kid. It’s difficult to do something the crowd might disapprove of. And it can be really hard for a boy to do something his father tells him isn’t a good idea, even if he disagrees.

While listening to the opinions of others can be important, just because they disagree doesn’t mean you have to do what they would.

Apparently that’s still something I’m working on and something I’ll have to consider when speaking to my kids about the choices they make.

I’ll have to always make sure to tread lightly.

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Angry Dad is Angry

image captured from the movie Big Trouble in Little China and is NOT a self potrait

image captured from the movie Big Trouble in Little China and is NOT a self portrait

I am sorely tempted to put my kids in the car, drive off into the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and kick them out of the vehicle, then take off.

Also I am actually hesitant to write this up right now because 1) I wanted any third post for today to be light and 2) I’m sure I’ll come off meaner than I intend.

But I started this blog to talk about the good AND bad of being a stay-at-home dad, so here goes.

Earlier today you might have read my post on the horrible multiplying dishes.

So earlier this afternoon I had to go do my dog walking thing. When I left, I directed the boys to take care of the dishes in the kitchen. I told Omega Child he was to load the dishwasher while I asked Alpha Tween to wash the pots and pans.

I was very specific about what needed to be done.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect it to be completely finished when I returned about an hour later. I figured it would be mostly done, which would allow me to surprise them with a trip to see Monsters University. We’d talked about possibly seeing it earlier in the week and I knew it was on their minds.

Plus, there are so few movies we can all see together, and very little time to do so anyway once camp starts.

Anyway, I expected there to be some work left which we could knock out and then go.

What I didn’t expect was to find virtually nothing done.

Omega Child was at least loading the dishwasher in his usual, snail-like pace. He drags his feet doing anything so, I expected there to be an issue.

What I did not expect was to find almost nothing done.

Well, at least they had straightened up the living room.

But the kitchen was largely the same mess which graces the picture in that earlier post.

I have to admit, I lost my shit.

Especially finding my eldest sitting on the couch.

Now his excuse….. well, it’s really irrelevant but it involved waiting for his younger sibling to finish his chore first.

This is not the first time this week he has 1) not done a simple chore I gave him and 2) blamed his brother.

There was some yelling, there was some frustration and there was some crying.

Suffice to say we didn’t go to a movie.

And it’s frustrating for me on several levels. First because I (usually) enjoy spending time with the boys, whether at the movies or riding bikes. But we can’t really do that now because there has to be some punishment.

I also hate being the guy who yells at his kids.

Which, when it comes down to it, is just part of being a parent. There are some people who enjoy yelling – at their kids, spouses, friends, clowns, people on the street – but I’m not really one of them.

posting pics of brownie sundaes is probably stupid when dieting....

posting pics of brownie sundaes is probably stupid when dieting….

(Though I will admit I love to argue and get testy in general conversation. Which is a whole other column.)

It’s one of those moments where I don’t love being a parent. Everyone walks away angry, sad and feeling like crap and nobody wins.

Unfortunately, life isn’t all ice cream sundaes.

Wait, is it?

No, probably not, dammit.

Part of being the bad guy, as far as I am concerned, is trying to drum some responsibility into their thick heads. You are told to do something and you do it, or there will be consequences.

That’s life and better to learn it now and hate me a little while than never learn it and end up a miserable fuck later on.

So yeah, I yelled. It’s happened before and will probably happen again.

Even if I hate myself a little for it every time.

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What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages