Battle of the Generations, Round One

Why do kids push buttons and then have the nerve to look surprised when you ground them?

It's Monday and already I can tell that the rest of the week is going to be trying. Thanks to my nine-year old son, Mr. Attitude, most of the fun things I had planned to do with him this week have been cancelled.

When do parents ever have the time to make the memories that will one day be called the good old days, if they're constantly in need of canceling those plans and acting, well, like a parent and NOT a favorite aunt or uncle or best friend?

Apparently, I am being ‘punished' by my son today because he's grounded from the television and I keep catching him watching it. The boy has plenty of things to entertain himself with in his room or outside, but he doesn't see it that way. Instead, I am the evil overlord that has imposed Great Boredom on him.

Well, sing me another tune.

I'd love to know where he's gotten this inflated sense of self-entitlement especially since I have been doing my best to ensure that my kids suffer since the day they were born. That's my job. And truthfully, the kids make my job quite easy in that respect.

"Mom, can I go to the park?"

"Is your room clean?"


"Mom, can I have dessert?"

"You didn't eat your dinner."


How difficult is it to meet these expectations? Well apparently it's very difficult.

Mr. Attitude doesn't eat wheat bread, nor does he eat the crusts. Mr. Attitude doesn't change his own bed, wash with soap, fold his own clothes, tie his own shoes, take out the trash or pick up his own room.

This constitutes his proclamation of emancipation (a slammed bedroom door) because these expectations are too high.

Well, he's grounded. Period. Indefinitely. And if he keeps it up, he'll have to postpone his wedding in twenty years because he'll still be grounded.

But it's not like that's the end of it. Oh, no. There's no peace and quiet for this mom. Mr. Attitude has a younger brother who has been seriously studying his behavior.

I ask the three-year old to put on his shoes so he can go outside and play. What do I get? I get a child that throws himself on the floor, wailing at this injustice. He then screams at me, "I can't take it anymore!"

He can't take it anymore? He has so very little clue. If he thinks he's got it rough now, wait until he's a teen. I consider this the Battle of The Generations, round one. And I'm in it for the long run.

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  • Guest

    Amen! I wish more parents would abandon the idea of trying to be their children’s friends.

  • Guest

    Why do parents think that they are to be their kids’ friends?!?! Being a parent is difficult work, to be sure . . . it takes equal amounts of love and discipline. Children will have many friends throughout their lives; but they will have only one set of parents, who after the child is grown up, can, and many times do, turn into the adult child’s most-treasured friend. Good luck, Lisa, with your two boys! I hope their father is a Godly (Christ-like) role model for them.

  • Guest

    LOL! Take heart Lisa – You are on the right track!

    I can’t wait to hear the chuckle from 18 yos face when he reads the copy taped to his computer! Somehow I learned from my parents (who used to be really stupid, but got a lot smarter after I had children) that to be a good mother, I have to love my children “enough to be the ‘bad guy'” when necessary. I have recited this phrase to my four sons countlessly over the course of the years.

    I’m delighted to report dear 18 yos, home for the holidays, is over the hump – dh and I reached the nadir of our stupidity last year. Now he is a freshman in a distant college. Eldest ds is 19 and quite living his own adult life in another state. I’ve noticed recently we’re miles smarter than we were his last year at home (at which point he was extremely annoyed to have parents.)

    DS 15, and youngest ds 10, were in the bleachers while eldest sons were playing adolescent angst. They know what to expect, and can say my lines before I do. Aren’t the younger children lucky to benefit from the greater experience of their parents?

  • Guest

    Lisa Barker’s offspring can get together and write a book many of us should be able to write –

    – How Our Mother Almost Killed Us –
    Though Not Failing for Lack of Us Trying to Get Her to Do It

    I remain your obedient servant, but God’s first,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …

  • Guest

    Picking battles is tough, but you don’t have to fight all of them.

    Granted, I’m the dad, so perhaps that’s easier, but he’s grounded from the television and you keep catching him watching it? Just pull the plug and put the set out on the curb.

    And I guarantee “Mr. Attitude” did not begin this behavior at nine years old. He’s been trained for it.

    That is a very good technique, by the way, of having the nine-year-old’s questions answered with questions, such as,


    Do you think that’s a good idea?

    How come you think that’s a good idea?

    What else are you going to do?

    “There are many kinds of success in life worth having. It’s exceedingly interesting and attractive to be…a President, or a ranchman, or the Colonel of a fighting regiment, or kill grizzly bears and lions. But…a household of children…certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.” ~Theodore Roosevelt