Friday, June 15, 2012

My Job as a parent

As a parent, I feel one of my most important jobs (other than providing love, medical care etc.) is to teach my children how to be independent adults. To achieve this, I sometimes have to take a hard (or hands-off) stance. A perfect example took place this morning. Our 16 year old son, John, (adopted 2010) has a regents exam (NYS mandated test) today at school. John announced to me last night that he told the bus driver that he wouldn't be taking the bus because I was going to be driving him. John obviously thinks it's ok to try to manipulate me into being his personal chauffeur. So, I told John that I was NOT going to drive him 20 minutes there, come home, and then turn around and pick him up again 2 hours later--sorry he thought I should spend 80 minutes in the car today, but I disagreed.  Austin has 2 friends overnight, we have 3 other little kids to take care of, and my day isn't going to revolve around John's regents exam. I told him, last night, that he could take the bus to the regents exam, like all the other kids did, or he could ride his bike the 15 miles. Well, this morning he came downstairs all agitated, insisting that the bus wasn't coming, and that I was forcing him to ride his bike to school (15 miles each way). Obviously, I'm a bad mother and all this mess is my fault. David just happened to be home still, and he told John that if the bus didn't come as scheduled, then Dad would drop him off to school on his way to work. But NOPE. John was determined to punish me. He left for school, by bike, at 6:30am, for a 11:00am test. I suggested that John take food and water, and I was rebuffed. I insisted that John take a cell phone with him, and John was even angrier with me. Not only wasn't I going to be manipulated into driving John, but I was going to try to help him pack for the long bike ride. Ugh. Overall, though, I think this will help prepare John to be an independent adult. He (hopefully) will learn that transportation to and from work is not easy sometimes. Sometimes, you need to ask another adult for a ride and accept proffered help. Sometimes, being stubborn, only punishes yourself. In fact, the 15 mile bike ride didn't inconvenience anyone but the child who stubbornly tried to manipulate the situation. And I'm hopeful that John won't assume that I'm his personal chauffeur the next time he decides he won't take the bus.