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Monday
Nov302009

The Post Which Proves Im Parent of the Year

My husband left me.

For a man.

Well okay, he left for a job and he's staying with a friend, but it makes for a much more dramatic impact when I say he left me for a man. The truth of the matter is he was home for three weeks and it was time for him to get back to work. Before I killed him.

Not that I don't love the man dearly, but ever since he started working out of town almost four years ago, I've become accustomed to being the top dog of the parental duo. With him home, it throws everything out of balance, with the kids being the manipulative smart little banshees they are, as they try and play one parent against the other.

For the most part, Boo and I transition after a day or two and revert back to the dynamic parenting duo we once were before he left the home for bigger paychecks, a second apartment and all the free time with small town strippers (me, not him) a person can handle.

But there are moments; moments when I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut and just support him like the parenting manuals all dictate good united parents should do; when I want to kill. Kill him and set my children loose in the wild.

One might say I parent a little differently than my children's father does. I insist I do this out of survival. The man leaves me alone with his offspring and expects to come back home to see them happy, healthy and well adjusted. He has entrusted me with this task because he is bat shit crazy. However, while he's busy earning the dough that pays for our bread and butter, he misses out on all the joyous moments of raising a handicapped boy who likes to dump the dog's water dish on the floor or unplug his sibling's gaming unit (generally during a particularly important moment in the game my children like to whine) as well as missing out on all the glorious gory moments of rearing two teens into adult hood.

He can't understand why I insist he bring home liquor every time he walks in the door.

He has yet to learn it's because I can't drown my single parenting sorrows while he's gone but I damn well can fuzz things up while he's home.

Not that I'm a liquor hound. Really. The empty boxes of wine in the pantry prove NOTHING.

*Editor's note for child welfare workers who may be reading this: it's called artistic license not an admission of guilt.*

My husband has this misguided notion that I'm in charge in his absence. What he doesn't realize is while yes, I am the one twirling my pom poms at the front of our very own freak parade, I only pretend to be in charge. It's a charade. I know it. My children suspect it. My husband refuses to know it. Something about me being the grown adult around here.

My life with out Boo for back up consists of arguing siblings, slammed doors, heads filled with eye rolling and mouths that like to sass back. I counter balance this with empty threats, phone calls to their father and locking them outside while I point and laugh from the other side of the window.

It's called survival of the fittest. Ask Darwin, he'll explain it.

For the most part, my kids are good kids. (Even if I did go on national television and call them demons.) They are respectful, they keep up with their studies without me prodding them and they bring home straight A's every report card. They are fairly self sufficient in fact, ever since I taught them that one can survive on bologna, boxed macaroni and a jug of milk. It's like they don't even need parents half the time since they are such responsible little cretins children.

But every now and then the hormones rear their ugly little heads and my children disappear only to be reincarnated as, well, demons. My husband doesn't get this. And it makes for a bumpy road when he's along for the ride.

Which gives me a head ache. (And not just from the cheap wine I guzzled when he wasn't looking.)*

*That'd be artistic license again, dear social workers.


My husband's solution for the banshee screaming siblings is to punish them with slave labour for every misdeed they do. My solution for the screaming festival my children occasionally like to partake in is to separate, sort, and then hug it out. Which is not always successful now that my kids are getting older and more stubborn as they age. They want to be right damn it, they don't want to see the other side of the coin.

Slave labour tends to be the quickest and quietest resolution while he's home but then he LEAVES. And I'm once again saddled with the single parenting yoke and two teens and a little boy who all prey on my sanity like the hunter hunts a moose.

There is one other looming factor that makes my life miserable once my husband takes off for greener childless pastures. (Well, two looming factors but that's why God invented sex toys.)

I don't know if it's because my children don't see my husband every day or listen to him harp on them continuously like I seem to, but he is much more effective at intimidating them into good behaviour. I can say the exact same words, in the exact same tone, and dole out the exact same punishment and the impact is almost neglible as to when my husband does it.

Is it his size? The deep husky voice of his? It can't be his whiskers, cuz damn yo, I'm growing a few of my own. All I know, is that for two days after his father leaves it is like a free for all and I'm running for cover while the inmates run the aslyum. Every damn time.

So my husband is the hard ass while he's home and I hand over the role of Bad Cop to him while donning the goofy good cop badge, knowing that once he leaves I'll have to slap the Bad Cop hat on and pray my children take me seriously. While hoping I can keep a straight face and not get distracted by clever wise cracks.  Which I may or may not have a habit of doing. I admit nothing.

Last night after kisses were kissed, hugs were hugged and we all stood on the deck waving good bye to Boo as his tail lights disappeared down our driveway, my children started up with one another, AGAIN.

I, being the weary down trodden mother I am, threatened, cajolled and bartered. I enlisted every parenting technique I knew to whip my kids back into performing monkeys shape but it was hopeless. I ended up losing it and yelling at the older two kids while Jumby took cover under the pillows on the floor.

I hate yelling. It's ineffective and stupid. It's sinking to their level and what am I demonstrating to them when I yell at them to be quiet when they are yelling? But it's like Fric and Frac just kept jumping on my one last frazzled nerve until I snapped and morphed into a rabid screaming badger.

Which ultimately, while bring a nano second of stunned silence, solved nothing. And the kids resumed bickering as though I wasn't even in the room.

Hi, my name is Tanis and I ran out of parenting tools last night. Heck I even considered beating them but since they are just shy of seeing me nose to nose and both children are fitter than I am, I figured if I did that I was just asking for my own ass to be kicked.

In the end, after a Mommy Time Out to revert back to the adult I'm supposed to be, I dished out punishment like a grandma dishes out icecream. Essays were assigned, television privileges revoked and threats of making them pay me a monetary fine for every eye roll and sassy remark made was promised.

But as I was parenting, I was overcome with an out of body sensation. I realized, mid-sentence as I was shaking my finger and pasting the "I'm so disappointed in you" look on my face, my children just looked at me like I had horns sprouting out of my head and they offered to call their father for me.

So I could 'calm down.'

It was right then I seriously considered jumping in my vehicle, chasing my husband down and sending him home so I could take his place in the work field. Because I've obviously lost my damn mind thinking I can survive parenting and actually produce well adjusted productive members of the next generation.

Seems to me the only thing I'm producing is the hot air I keep blowing at them lately.

My palms are blistered and raw from trying to keep the reigns of parental control firmly in hand.

If only my kids could be as good as I was growing up. My mom doesn't know how lucky she had it with us.

Heh.

So. Got any suggestions? Parental tips? Humorous anecdotes which impart a glimmer of wisdom? Horror stories you'd care to share? Effective discipline tools for teens that won't land my ass in the clink? I'm outnumbered here. It's two against one, with the littlest dude cheering on his siblings. Little traitor.

Help a mother out would ya?
« Honey, I Hate To Break It To Ya... | Main | Pain in the Posterior »

Reader Comments (82)

OMG, Tanis, it's like you and I are having the same life. Only I have 1 kid, and the father of this demon-child sees him only once every 3 months or so... so I'm basically a single parent while he works out west. I hate it. I wish I had a solution to offer, but I was an insane badger myself last night. Maybe it's the weather? My 'stache doesn't keep my kid in line either. Oh well. In the meantime, I'm all over the mommy time-outs, huddled with the wine box, whimpering in the corner.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWackyMummy

Sorry no tips - just admiration that you do it at all - I can't imagine being alone a lot of the time with two teens and a handicapped son... how do you do it at all????

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I will give you the advice that I have been given. "Raising teens gets better! Just wait...he/she will turns 17 and the child you loved and knew before the hormones hit will be back."

I clung to that piece of advice for 6 years. My eldest daughter turned 18 this month.

I'm still waiting.

The only advice for raising teenagers? Cling to the hope that someday they may move out.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterColleen

No. No advice at all. The closest I have ever come to a solution just proved my husband was more effective from 2,500 miles away then I was from the livingroom. And I have three of them- I am so out numbered it's not funny. I did once threaten divorce if he did not make it home more but he didn't really jump until I mentioned I was leaving the kids with him when I went. They were angels for two weeks. He will not tell me what he paid them as he is scared I will up the offer or make it an ongoing thing. I am willing to pay good hard cold cash at this point but have totally run out of other ideas. Will check back later to see if someone has a better idea....

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

My great parenting moment over the 4 exhausting Thanksgiving holiday days with my 4 year old and 1 1/2 year old? I took my 4 year old to the Nutcracker Ballet (yep, and did it sober...) and she crawled up in my lap and started to wave her arms in the air. As I was apologizing to everyone around us (these are $100 seats btw yes and I'm still sober - just stupid) and trying hold her arms down, an 80 year old woman in a fox fur coat reached over and grabbed my arm and said, "STOP! She's just trying to dance like that ballerina. Leave her alone - we are enjoying it!" To this, my 4 year old starting laughing demonically and I will never grasp control back again. Maybe wine just isn't strong enough.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

And I'm guessing your mother would say that you deserve every bit of it!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

I can give you my mother's contact information...she is the queen of making children mind via slave labor. And her punishment went for everyone involved. My brother and I broke curfew exactly ONE time and we had his best friend with us. All three of us painted the entire outside of the house as punishment. Another time? My best friend, Jennifer, and I came home drunk. My mother got us up before dawn and we shoveled manure in the hot sun all day long. She brought us food but it was so bad that Jennifer swears it was part of the punishment. To this day, I am not sure if mom asked the resturant to cook it that way or she picked a place with really bad food or if it was just God's way of adding to the punishment.

My children are 22 and 10 and my punishment methods are pretty simple. One, I established early on that mom may or may not have a screw (or two) loose...it keeps the children off guard when they are never sure what you will do next. Two, I observe my children until I identify the weakness. Everyone has something they REALLY like and are willing to do almost anything to keep it. For my son, it is currently television. For my daughter, paying her car insurance worked because she is so tight with her money she squeaks a bit when she walks. To be honest, I was losing some serious maternal ground with her until she got her drivers license. Then we struck a deal whereby I paid the car insurance (on the car SHE paid for 'cuz I don't buy cars for other people) providing she followed certain rules. She paid her own car insurance one time and after that we came to see eye to eye much easier.

So that's my story...I think you are doing a wonderful job of parenting your kids!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

1: Taser/stun gun.
2: Trap door in floor to cell in basement.
3: Call in air strike, or nerve gas (your choice).
4: Start to post what they want no one to ever know, EVER ! (or photo) And hold finger over the "SEND" button.
5: Non-stop Lawrence Welk music and see who cracks first.
6: Walk around with stupid smile all the time.
They'll think your up to something, or ready to go off the deep end. (may be right)

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob in Ohio

Two words:

DUCT TAPE ;-)

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I have to add to all this wonderful advice... I tried being super nice and super calm and super smiley when the boy did something wrong and I put him on time out, but very nicely. His wide-eyed fearful response: "Stop it, Mommy, you're scaring me!"

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWackyMummy

My kids aren't old enough for commiseration yet, and I, well, I was a delight to be around. But, my uncle used to punish my very cool cousin as a teenager, by making her hold his hand in the movie theatre, or Wal-Mart, or wherever they might run into the cooler kids.

Also, prayer. And wine. And hiding. And chanting, "It can't last forever. They have to grow up. It can't last forever..."

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessi

@Jessica, Jessica, doesnt that just drive you nuts! My 3 year old will be acting out by laying on the floor at walmart or running circles around a clothing rack(yup, we are THOSE people) As I try my damnest to catch his little butt and toss him into a cart some little old woman will smile at him and tell him hes cute. OH. COME. ON. I might as well just pack up my stuff and head home right then because Im screwed.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

follow thru.....if you say it, do it. Plus, a teenager's weakness is phone, tv, and video games. Take them away and make them earn it back!

Mommas are given permission to use the BITCH card every now and then.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarin

I did the rabid badger act one day last week, at bedtime (theirs, not mine). Came downstairs, took the dog out for a pee in the yard, and realised that I had left the baby-listener on OUT THERE, full volume.

Hear that 'smash, tinkle, tinkle'? Mother of the year award falls to the ground again...

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMrs F with 4

@Bob in Ohio,
#5? You are an evil, evil man Bob.
I like that in a person.
:)

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaeve

First of all...

Bologna and Milk is not Kosher.

Second of all...

I am Out-Numbered.

and read #7. I am an expert after all...

http://www.bizymoms.com/familylife/top-bloggers/purposeful-parenting.html

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOut-Numbered

@Cindy, If I can survive the three years it takes for my kids to drive, I'm totally on board with this idea. heh.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRedneck Mommy

@Carin, First up is television. Which includes no video games. Next is phone privileges but they aren't big phone users.

ARGH. I need more WEAPONS.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRedneck Mommy

@Out-Numbered, I'm less concerned with Kosher than I am with actually having to provide them with any food sustenance and not having to cook it.

Secondly, you are not out-numbered until your girls are teens. So enjoy this time now dude.

And thirdly, I KNOW. Never ARGUE with them.

I forgot that last night. Which is why I'm not parent of the year.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRedneck Mommy

I used to do the silly-ass smile all the time when my kids were making me crazy. It actually worked - they would see me walking around smiling, and slowly the bickering would wind down, and it would soon be quiet. When they asked what was making me smile, I just smiled wider and said that they were making me smile. They never really knew how to react to that answer.

I totally believe in keeping the kids just a bit off-kilter, gives the parent a bit of an edge that way.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercheryl

Well I suppose if taking away privileges doesn't work...you can always make them go out in public with you! Of course, you must go to where all their friends hang out. That always kept me in line.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarin

I think that threatening to hang around outside their school practising your yodelling is a very effective preventative measure.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpixielation

My 13 year old's idea of hell is sitting on his bed. That's it. He sits there, with his feet on the floor, no reclining for him! And does nothing.

5 minutes. A whole day. However long it takes him to figure out that he IS in fact the one being an ASS. Depends on the infraction.

And when he's wearing on my last nerve I pull out the "zero tolerance" policy. He rolls his eyes, he sits on his bed. He says "Yeah, in a minute." he sits on his bed. He does a half-assed job and he KNOWS IT. He. sits. On. His. Bed.

It took three days before he figured out it would be easier to just stop being AN ASS.

He's living with his mom again. He was wearing on her last nerve. I suggested the bed.

It's working for her just as well as it does for me. :D

The best part is when they are sent to the bed with instructions to "Sit on your bed until you're ready to contribute to this family." they come out a little while later going "Um. So I was thinking maybe I could pick up the living room?"

Because slave labor is MORE FUN than sitting on your bed staring at your stuff, unable to touch it.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSasha

Now, to be fair I do have to say I don't TECHNICALLY have a teenager yet (my oldest is 12). That said, I do agree that restricting privileges is a good way to discipline a teen.

My son has a Nintendo DS which is kept in our bedroom. He gets it only when his chores and homework are done.

TV gets taken away on a pretty regular basis I do admit...

Another thing that gets taken away would be internet time (that is, it will be when they have a computer for their use - the only one in the house right now is in our bedroom and full of porn, so the kids don't get to TOUCH it).

The other thing I do - which is effective now but I am not sure if it will be effective when he gets older - is the punishment/reward jar. I have two jars, one has punishments and one has rewards.

Now, this isn't your NORMAL parenting punishment/reward jar! First of all, the punishments are particularly gruesome - like cleaning the litter box, scrubbing out the toilet, washing the tiles in the bathroom with a toothbrush (it's not a very big bathroom, but still...). And the punishment jar is only used when the kids do something REALLY bad - like the fist fight my younger sons got into last week.

The "reward" jar is different too - it isn't a reward for THEM for being good - but rather, it is a reward for ME for being a good mommy - and the kids get to chose when I deserve something from the reward jar. The slips of paper include things like "Mommy gets to soak in the tub for an hour and NO ONE will knock on the door or make loud noises or cause a scene". Another is "Mommy gets to cook a pre-made supper tonight - and gets to read for an hour, uninterrupted, while it cooks".

Amazingly, the kids end up using the reward jar more than the punishment jar...Last week I got an unexpected four rewards, and only had to hand out two punishments (for the aforementioned fist fight).

Sorry for the long reply, but it occurred to me that this system might work for you!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpatricialynn

mommies are push overs, dads rule!

sorry but that's what this post is all about.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertony

I got nothin'.
I have two. Daddy works out of town five days a week. He comes home long enough to be Disneyland Dad and keep me from becoming drooling patient at the nut ward and then disappears again.
I'm afraid I'm the screaming badger all the time and I'd fail every social worker's test comprised.
Becky stole my favorite lines.
Duct Tape.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer McKenzie

Damn! I wish my husband had a job that took him away more. ROFLMAO! He is a pain in my ass...like another child. I am envious of you..the boxes of wine and the strippers! ;) LOL!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

Not to rain on your very wet parade, but do you think YOUR mother reads this and cackles with glee while downing the glasses of wine she needs to still recuperate from raising her own children?
You know, when you were being a bad bad child she would say wistfully, " Just wait till you have kids of your own!"
And now when Gramma comes to visit , she gives the kids everything they want to make you the bad guy, then winds them up on a sugar high just before she leaves.
And I liked Bob's reponse.

Find very embarrassing pictures of them, and threaten to post them on your blog, and e-mail their baby pictures to their boyfriend/girlfriend.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterklaatu

ha! just yesterday, as i was changing his diaper, my 2.5 year old son said, "mommy, go to time out!" and i said, "what? you can't send mommy to time out! what did mommy do to upset you? are you mad at me?" the kid said, "mommy, i keep making poopie in diaper. no potty. mommy go to time out!"

we're trying to potty train him. he's great at it when he's at school. but obviously he's intent on torturing me. i guess i'm not the only one. and sounds like i have oodles of fun to look forward to. i can't even begin to imagine hormones in this child.

p.s. i just started reading your blog regularly - actually, i read probably 30 posts last night alone. love. it.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersherri

My husband used to tell the kids that he wanted them to be bad, cause he was looking forward to punishing them.
"I want you to hit your sister so I can hit you back"
"Don't clean up your room, I have a new punishment I've been wanting to try out"

It worked.
Of course you have to get a deranged look on your face and not blink while telling them this.

When my kids used to start yelling, I would whisper something and they would shut up to hear what I was saying.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLindi

Mhm. I know what you are talking about, even though I only have one kid. She is bright, funny, smart, a good kid, but has the smartest mouth of any child I have ever met. She is, in short, the sass master.

Maybe you got hit with the mother curse, just like I did. You know, the one when you were being you, minding your own business as a child, doing NOTHING wrong, and for some reason your mother is going crazy on you? She then stops her ranting, raving, and threats of punishment and torture and says the Mommy Curse. The one that seems to work every time.

"One day you will have kids and I hope they are just like you!"

This curse, of course, went in one ear and out the other. Now I'm paying the price.

I really can't give you adequate advice, since I really don't know your kids (which is lucky for you, I'm a bad influence. I was once accused of teaching a 10 year old to use slime as fake snot and wipe it on his 12 year old sister, which caused a near riot. But I am innocent, I swear).

But what I do, when things are really bad, is simply fight fire with fire. Sometimes it seems to be the only solution. I do the same crap to my daughter that she does to me, while adding unexpected behavior. Like waking her up at 6 AM by bouncing on her bed and laughing like a loon while she whines.

It produces results. Trust me.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Riley

i have 5 yes 5 kids. my older 2 are 16 and 13 then i have 2 preteens that are 11 and 10 and a hyper 7 yesr old that laughs at me. i have been a single mom for the last 4 years and i have found that tv and video games work well but driving them to school in a housecoat and curlers in my hair works well to make them stop fighting. i only had to do it 2 times for my older ones to figure out that mom is not kidding when i say i will do something. if that doesnt work you can try a bad make- up job with the house coat and soon they will not act up in your presence.lol my younger ones are now learning from my older ones not to mess up. my house has never been more peaceful. good luck tanis i hope this helps

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervancouver island redneck

Lady, you are a better woman than I. I only have two daughters (the products of the late-husband, passed in 2003). The "new" husband works 90 miles from home. If he had a job that kept him away from our home during the week, I swear to God and all that is holy that I would NOT have married him.
Love is cool, sweet, and loving and and all that shit, but.... I raised my girls solo for almost 4 years solo after Hubby The Late pasted on, and for a year as he was unable to leave the hospital bed that was smack dab right in the middle of our living room.
If Now Husband ever has a job that keeps him away from us on a regular basis, we are tagging along.
I did not marry this man so I could spend more time without him than with him.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterame

I continually tell my Mom "i'm not insane yet I must need more kids?" I didn't even get to teens yet!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkyooty

They don't hand out free diamond necklaces to the best, hardest working, least appreciated mothers every year for nothing.

Oh wait - fuck. They don't, do they. Well if they did, I'd get you seven.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMom101

"Cling to the hope that someday they may move out."

LOL!!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I'm not a parent, so I have no advice (unless you'd like to know how to get catshit off the carpet, because I do have some domestic skills).

BUT, I remember that the most effective punishment was being told that I had disappointed my parents. Seriously, no grounding, punish work, anything even touched that one. I made me never ever want to do it again.

And my parents knew. And boy did they work it.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOverflowing Brain

Tanis, I had 4 kids who loved to bicker in public. All that stopped the day I cracked in the Target parking lot, during a 4-way bitchfit. I just starting singing as loud as I could "Oh Sweet Myestery of life at last I've found you!" There was silence, followed by ducking, and I knew mortification was the answer.

At home, I just sprayed them in the face with the water bottle I kept for second wakeup calls.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLori Hewett

Wow Tanis, I was literally thinking of a similar post tonight as I was trying to get my screaming banshees to bed! Sometimes I feel like my hair is even going to catch on fire and I am about to explode! I wish I had advise, but really, my kids are on a mission to destroy me: menatally, physically, emotionally, and financially! So I too could use the advise on what to do as to avoid losing my fricking mind on a daily basis! And honestly? I do so adore you, you are an amazing mom! Hugs from AZ!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatty

Hmm...I have a wife, three teenage daughters,four female cats and a female dog. There was a fish, but it died. I am sure it was a male that just couldn`t cut it! Don`t get me wrong, I love them dearly. It`s just that there`s always somethin` goin` on that I don`t understand!

@ Vancouver Island Redneck
You`ve just become my hero! ( Bows with respect )

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Lucky for you, I'm only a mandated reporter of child abuse in the U.S. ;)

In all seriousness, you ask for advice, so here's a few things to chew on. You mentioned "empty threats" in your post and that truly is one of the downfalls of most parents. Your kids sound like they're testing you, with the knowledge that they can get away with it. Kids won't take your threats seriously if you don't follow through and aren't consistent. And when it comes to consequences or discipline, make sure you're taking something away or revoking privileges with something they truly care about (phone, internet, seeing friends, etc...).

Hate to pimp my own blog but, ironically enough, I posted earlier today about some of the problems that parents of teenagers face, and what to do about it. Check it out if you're moved to do so.

Best wishes!
-Aimee

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAimee @ Ain't Yo Mama's Blog

I've tried it all. Every damned thing mentioned here. And it all works, to some degree. I think the secret to reining in the crazy at this house is to constantly change it up. Mind you, we do not change the rules, we simply change the level of crazy that i will respond with. Since I am raising two teenage daughters and you could literally float a boat in the amount of hormones flowing through this hpuse, I prefer to use my full range. One day I'm Bette Davis and the next some bad actress in a daytime soap. I find it extremely useful to be able to product tears on demand. Nothing shame the heart of heathens like a few mama tears. Hang in there, they will eventually grow up. Promise.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

our kids thrive on the mortifying, be embarrassing any chance you get, work that angle and be as loud and proud as you need to be to get the job done

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhabanerogal

You want effective?

I was a holy terror. The only effective punishment?

my dad would drape a towel across my shoulders, and a tattered Burger King Crown upon my head.

at this point, he would declare me king of the house, and guide me to my throne.

I was to sit on the toilet, with the lights out, while my brothers mocked me behind a closed door.

trust me, it works.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

When I was teen of driving age my dad threatened me with "If you do X again b4 you're of X legal age you don't get car privileges for 6 months." I'd be lying if I said it worked, I just got sneakier in hiding my drinking.

I can relate to the partner leaving for work, getting into a routine, only to be messed up upon his return. That's what I get for having a partner in the forces.

Do you have any advice for me to get my 20-month-old son to listen to me?

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSiera

You don't want advice from me. I once just barely stopped myself from calling the younger boy a son of a bitch. We both got the irony at the same time, and laughed, but still...

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwitchypoo

Well, I'm not a parent and hopefully I won't be for atleast 10 to 15 more years! Since I'm only 15, I can't say that I've used any parenting techniques, but I can tell you what works on me :)

I'm known for my "smart mouth" in my family. I slam doors and yell because my brother is a demon child who does everything in his power to annoy me while laughing demonically as I'm punished. Anyways, few punishments work on me, as my parents have yet to figure out what kills me.

One of them is taking away my cell phone or laptop. My parent's know that I am extremely dependent on my cell phone, since I'm one of those addicts who uses about 15,000 to 20,000 texts a month. I know, all of these parent's are about to freak, but it's true. That punishment does get to me, since I can't live without mobile Twitter :) Since your kids aren't into using the phone that much (yet) you'll have to find their other weaknesses.

Another punishment that works is threats! They work very well if my mother is serious and I actually believe that she'll follow through with them. Like the threat that she'll take my door off the hinges if I don't stop slamming it. Teenagers have to have privacy, so that is about my biggest weakness.

I did see a rather interesting parenting technique the other day though. A girl was standing at a busy intersection, where her friends are guaranteed to see her, holding a sign that said "I'm sneaky and disrespect my parents. Honk if you think this is good parenting." I swear, worst form of public humiliation EVER! Well, unless you have the guts to walk into your teens school in a bathrobe, curlers, and slippers, which my mother never did!

Haha, but I did learn something from reading this post...if anyone is going to be traveling in my family when I get older, it's going to be me and my husband can deal with my little demons! :) Good luck with your kids! Just be glad that they're still young enough to not worry about boyfriends or girlfriends. When that day comes, you're gonna need a lot more alcohol!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey Rose

The eldest (15) went through her bad phase from 9-12 and I thank God every day we both survived. Then I am grateful she evened out before she got taller than I am and obtained a drivers license. The threat of not getting one worked until she thought I might want her to drive her siblings around. Smart kids are God's punishment for being a smart ass.

No tips, because the hubris will surely bite me on the ass when The youngest two (5 & 3) hit the teen years. In fact, I may come live with you and Jumby when that happens. A new country is going to looks dang good by that time.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjennielynn

Oh yeah, parenting tips...The single most effective punishment I`ve found, has been removal of the offending childs bedroom door for a given length of time. Usually, once or twice gets thier attention!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I couldn't do it. You are much stronger than I.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBadass Geek

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