Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spies, Code of Conduct and Boot Camp

It has become increasingly obvious to me that Mariah and I are going to have to sit down to reformulate our plan of attack with regards to the kids. The kids are all great and nobody is giving us any problems…as of now, but it is our goal to keep it that way.

The kids are all getting older and Mariah and I (unfortunately) continue to age as well…(I am even beginning to shrink!!) We want what is best for all of the kids and want them to grow, learn and conduct themselves in an age appropriate manner. Now the difficult part in this balancing act is that every child is different. Just because one 12 year old acts a certain way…doesn’t mean that every 12 year old should.

We try to push the kids to be ‘individual’ and to follow their instincts. We want them to feel comfortable being who they are…to a point. I do want our 10 year old to stop the baby talk, whining, going EVERYWHERE with the 4 stuffed animals and two little ‘blankies’ and drinking from a baby bottle…and I want our 18 year old to call to check in after school and ask before inviting 15 friends over at 9PM for a back yard party.

Now, with 6 kids ranging from 5 to 18, we have run into a sort of conundrum. House Rules. I am big on rules and consistency, while Mariah is big on individuality and reflection on her childhood. Both aspects are very important in operating a well-oiled family machine.

We have found it hard to have (and enforce) just one set of household rules. It would be ridiculous to have our 18 year old following the same rules as a 5 year old …or even 12 year old, yet where are the lines drawn? Do rules drop off as you get older?

I have thought that having House Rules that everyone abides by and a set of ‘Guidelines’ that drop off or get more flexible as a kid gets older. I, by no means, want to raise kids that are not allowed to make mistakes or make their own decisions…that would be just plain stupid…but at the same time the younger kids watch the elders and …want to act like them and have the freedom that they have.

We do not spy on the kids, nor do we overstep the bounds and get overly involved with the kids’ social lives…but we do have one or two kids in each of our children’s circle of friends that we know we can pry the truth from…our own little spy ring.

As I stated above, the kids are all great. They are honest, polite and are all doing exceptional in school. They all have great little groups of friends and have proven that they know right from wrong. BUT….they all seem to, from time to time, forget that we have rules….and they’ve completely forgotten what chores are.

With a 12 year old that ask to do or for something 500 times (instead of taking our first answer as ‘the ruling’), a 14 year old that ‘plays it by ear’ on a daily basis and ‘tells’ us what he is doing instead of asking…and an 18 year old that comes and goes, has boys sleep over and ‘forgets’ to check in on a regular basis….is making me think that we may all need to go back to family boot camp.

I feel as though I’ve been rambling in circles here so I am going to stop…the last thing that I am going to say is that I 100% endorse the notion that all children, no matter how old, need to know that they are not the boss…parents are and their rules and decisions need to be respected and not questioned or broken. I believe that it sends the message of security, strength and authority… and continues to teach them respect.


Missty said...

Love the post. And raising kids is a hard job. We have four boys ages 25 - 17. And we had some of the very same issues.

Our now 20 yr old - always flew by the seat of his pants. Never checked in, etc. We were always on him. I really think he just thought - I know where I am, I know I am safe, so all is good. If I need mom, I know she will be there. lol So, I ALWAYS had to call and ask where he was, etc.

As for a standard rules - good luck. We tried, but because of different ages, it was hard.

The rules were pretty much individual with the age. And tahts what we said. Sorry your not 14 you can't ____.

And we had one who carried around a certain toy for the longest time. He had a birthday coming up, so I pretty much said at 6 kids no longer carry around ____ anymore. So you will have to stop. You can still have it, it can stay in your bedroom, but it no longer will be with you at all times. He stopped on his own a few days before his birthday.

Good luck. And really if your kids are polite, doing good in school - your doing just fine.

Trooper Thorn said...

The weight of the world is bearing down on you, causing the shrinkage. Become more irresponsible. Also yoga is good for stretching the spine.

Brandy said...

My teen is pretty good about checking in but I find the closer he gets to the 18 the more he "forgets" or assumes that he can do stuff. I hear myself saying "Are you asking or telling me?" at least once a week. ~sigh~

It's tough enough enforcing rules for one kid, much less that many in those age ranges so I sympathize with you.

Danielle said...

I agree completely.
I am also sorry for Mariah on the shrinkage part.
JJ, I read you blog. ;)

TentCamper said...

Missty - I know we are doing well...and thanks for the empathy. It just sucks sometimes.

Trooper - I can become more irresponsible...but unfortunately...my balls make yoga impossible.

Brandy - I really think that sometimes they believe that they run the house.

Danielle - ummm there is NO shrinkage there!!!!! didn't you see the post where I posted a Picture of my Package? or the Half Naked one?

chocdrop said...

In my house the challenges came with the 6 year age difference...... We had to individually do things with the girls then things were hectic. Glad they are much older now...but it is a challenge and always let them know that you are thier rock, they will need that.

Anonymous said...

My boy has been fairly easy, so I ask only one simple thing: just get me through my daughter's teen years!

Keith Wilcox said...

I have two kids who are almost the same age. I've never had the need to devise separate rules. You, however, bring up a good point which I had not considered. Some things like swearing, common decency and the like are universal. Other things, not so much, like bedtimes and TV privileges. I'd be just blowing smoke if I tried to tackle that here and now :-) I'm just going to leave by saying Good Luck, man!

dadshouse said...

All this talk, blah blah blah - just take your belt off and whip them kids into disciplinary shape!

(I'm kidding)

It sounds like you're balancing the situation well. I can't imagine raising kids who are that far apart in age. My two are 4 years apart, and the rules are slightly different in an age appropriate way, but basically the same for both.

Just stay involved like you're doing! Listen when they talk. Take interest. Sounds like you're doing all that.

Mariah said...

WHOA!!! Hot new diggs over here! I'm sweating and um..why is my hand down my pants? Oh geez...

M said...

It sounds like you guys are approaching this perfectly.

I'm excited to hear more about this.

hot russian said...

I don`t know about the Navy, but the Marines have a longer lasting Boot Camp, 14 weeks plus about 12 weeks of MOS trainning, if I`m not mistaken. This is the time my husband took through his trainning in the "few, the proud, the Marines".

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