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Random thoughts from a woman in love

Oh boy.  Our household has finally experienced a first – an argument between Steve and me.  After over a year of bliss, we are arguing about parenting, of all things.  The love of my life is the father of a 13 year old boy who now spends 4 days with us on every other weekend.

The aforementioned 13 year old boy is addicted to video games. Yes, addicted, and I believe it’s an addiction that can be managed through…parenting.  Gasp! What?  Parent the child? Heaven forbid! (I know, I know – my sarcasm is showing.)  Steve prefers the “enforcer” approach: demand at a deafening decibel that the video game system never make its way back into our home. It remains at the mother’s home. No ifs, ands or buts!  Disobedience would result in no more bi-weekly visitations. That got my Irish up.  Threatening a child with withholding of affection or security is wrong on so many levels. *sigh*

Remember when parenting meant setting boundaries to teach children how to manage themselves? I do.  My parents set very clear boundaries.  Respecting boundaries resulted in increased privileges and expanded boundaries.  Infractions resulted in swift, appropriate and as-promised punishment.

I once had my bicycle taken from me for a whole month one summer because I got caught riding it in the street, not once but TWICE!  I was 7.   My red Schwinn with white streamers on the handles sat locked up in the garage where I would gaze at it longingly every day for 30 very, very long days.  I loved that bike.  I learned a lesson from that transgression, and won’t do it again (ok – I’m 47 now and am allowed to ride my bike in the street, but I don’t ride against traffic…) Actions result in consequences – this is a lesson every child needs to be taught.

I learned a lot from my wonderful parental units.  For such young parents, they were so amazing.  They raised 4 daughters with love and patience, and, on the very rare occasion, a smack on the behind.  Steve’s parents were not so great (the stories I have heard from him and his siblings would curl your hair).  Actions from anger were the norm.  Fear was the parenting tool of choice.  Unfortunately, Steve is doing that “repeating history” thing.  It’s time he learned a different approach.

Normally, I will step out of the ring when he is parenting HIS son, but this time I am off the ropes, have my gloves on and am bobbing and weaving (pops taught us all how to box, can you tell?)  I am in this one until the ref calls Steve out on a TKO.  Now I just need to figure out how to teach parenting skills to a man who 1) feels like a failure as a parent and feels it’s too late to fix things; and 2) is more stubborn than a Scotsman.  It’s not too late.  This should be an interesting weekend.  Excuse me – gotta go.  I just heard the bell for ROUND ONE…

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