So this is what happened to my own parents . . .


At a certain age, I thought my parents were truly stoopid. Come to find out they were only hiding in their protective parent-shells and being smart. Gah. I wasn’t a terrible kid. My sister was not a terrible kid. Even my brother was a good kid. My own kids are not BAD people. But, day-amm, if they aren’t stoopid lately. I want to blame the moon, but it’s not really working out for me. They’re just great big dumb teenagers and it would be wrong for me to beat them about their heads all day long (tempting as it might be).

Some of it seems to be a case of prolonged-childhood. In my unbiased opinion, they are too old to expect to be entertained everyday. In fact, they should be out there helping to earn their own way. I don’t remember my parents having to lay this all out for me (but maybe it’s a girl thing – I wanted way more clothes than my folks would ever buy). Here, it seems to be a step-by-step guide to “yes-you’re-going-to-have-to get-a-job-and-you-are-not-above-any-job.” And, sons, if the first job doesn’t pan out, you have to keep on going out there and filling out applications. Honestly, my head is exploding here. And, yes, I’ve suggested numerous times that they start their own business – but what do I know?

I read Danny the riot act this morning. He went and got his hair cut short (and much more flattering, if you ask his mom) and he applied at several places. I think he thinks I’m kidding about getting him up and on his way early tomorrow. The reality is, if the boys don’t pay their own car insurance (even on my 10-year-old-Suburban) NONE of us can afford to drive. I’m not bluffing. I’m not trying to teach them a lesson, that’s just how it is.

I’m bummed that none of the older boys seem to grasp the importance of earning their own money (not that they’re getting funds from us). Somewhere, I feel like I missed a big lesson with them. I’ve heard of families asking their older teens to pay for things like deodorant, shaving cream, razors, etc . . . I’m on the verge of doing this. But, it feels so petty on one hand and on the other hand it seems like something they need to learn.

I’m just down tonight. I’ve had a ton of crappy jobs, and so has Mike. While we didn’t like those jobs, we did them and learned from them. Our kids should do the same. They’ve grown up in a frugal world. They’ve grown up around successful entrepreneurs. They’ve grown up watching Mike and me work our butts off. And, somehow, it all seems to be lost on them. For now, it’s just going to be me “cracking the whip” to get them to get any kind of job. (In fairness, Ian and Tim are still 15 and no one – you know unless you take the initiative and start your own business – will hire anyone under 16) Danny, however, starts day two of finding a job. He’s clean. He’s sober. He’s articulate. There is NO reason in the world he should not have a job. (In his mind, most of his friends DON’T work AND they have cell phones and tons more downloads on I-pod.) I don’t know why his friends don’t work or why/how???? (how is the big question) they have cell phones with unlimited everything. This is NOT Dan’s reality. Time for wishing for a fairy-godmother is up.)

On one hand I want everything for my kids to be easy … on the other (BIGGER) hand, I want them to learn what it means to work for something and really have it mean something.

Anyway, tonight was one of those frustrating nights where no one was happy. I’m tired and I’m going to bed now.

In the meantime, I’m going to go soak my head in something and try to figure out where I went wrong with these older boys in the hopes of not passing it on to Andy.

5 thoughts on “So this is what happened to my own parents . . .

  1. I can't imagine not wanting a job. I started babysitting at ten, and as soon as I turned 16 I was getting an application at Mc Donalds. My parents never even had to mention it. I just assumed I had to work. Keep blogging about what you do though, my oldest is ten. It won't be long and I'll be loking in your archives to see how you survived!

  2. Are there jobs to be had there? We don't have much here so competition is fierce. Even for the teens.

    If you say the boys won't drive can you leave insurance as is? My grandparents had a proviso on their cars that no one under 25 would drive them when we were kids.

  3. It's hard to look at other teens (when you're a teen) and see all the 'stuff' they have that their parents just give them.

    We never had much of anything growing up and learned early that if we wanted something, we'd have to earn the money for it.

    Matt has been working for five years now. He paid his own college tuition and books, and is making a car payment. He will start at PSU in January, and will pay for that, too.

    He lives here free, and we pay for his car insurance and cell phone. (but the cell phone is 10 bucks a month on top of my own cell phone, and we don't have texting/bells/whistles)

    He buys his own clothing and toiletries, and contributes to the household by helping do stuff. Also by picking up a gallon of milk or a box of trash bags or something on his way home from work.

    I think it's just a matter of finding what works for your particular family, and that you're totally on the right track by insisting they get jobs as soon as they can.

    Or, you can teach them to work the system and learn how to get everything for free.

    Pretty soon, none of us will have to work. The government will take care of us.

  4. I am so there myself! My son had a job for a while but a change in management brought in someone who decided, after overhearing my son talk to a coworker, that an atheist is no longer trustworthy. Sad. Of all the people in the world to think this of.

    Anyway, he is not out there breaking down doors for a job. Not any job. I sure do worry quite a lot! I do look at college as his job right now. He is on track to get his BS in economics next May and will continue for a master's degree. He has loans for school. He understands how that works. He's an economist. 🙂

    I read a blog by Seth Godin who is in marketing. This one really was interesting and my son actually was interested in this as well. I see no reason why he couldn't do this during high school.

    http://homeschoolradical.blogspot.com/2009/06/interesting-blog.html

  5. My son has been looking for a job, but so far he has not turned up anything. Right now he has way too much free time on his hands. I think I'm going to have him at least volunteer somewhere.

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