Monday, November 20, 2006

Parenting Advice From Stan the Handyman

I just got the best parenting advice I’ve had in a long time, and it was from an unlikely source. Stan has been doing some repair work around our house out of the goodness of his heart since we had trouble finding a reliable person. Anyway, Stan and I were talking about our children before he got started the other day. He told me about his son going away to college and not studying. He said he finally went up to the school and collected the son and told him, “I’m not paying for you to do this.” The son came home and got a manual labor job. When the son’s car ran low on oil and the son didn’t add more, the engine was damaged and had to be replaced. Stan told the son he couldn’t borrow his car, but that if the son bought the parts to do the repairs, Stan would do the labor. Stan said, “I just took my time. I wasn’t in no hurry.”

I told Stan that I was frustrated over an issue with my high school senior not getting himself awake in the mornings and that I had been yelling at him after his alarm clock went off. That’s why I was so fascinated by the Sonic Boom Alarm Clock and bed shaker when I came across it last week. I swear no one is paying me for this, but I think this is the answer. Regular readers will know I am worried about Rip Van Winkle (RVW) son when he goes to college next year.

I blew up again this morning and said some words that ladies shouldn’t say. I told RVW, “I have had it. You are on your own. If you are late, so be it.” When he came downstairs, we had a little conversation. “I’m sorry, Mom,” he said, “you are right.” We talked about how he would truly be on his own and that by me waking him up every morning, he was not learning to be self-sufficient. Then he asked, “How about getting me one those alarm clocks you were telling me about last week for Christmas?”

Well, faint and fall out. We both learned something. Santa, there’s a revision in the Wish List: one Sonic Boom Alarm Clock and Bed Vibrator for RVW. He’s been good.

p.s. In case you are wondering, Stan's son returned to college and will complete his degree in the spring.

12 comments:

Marion said...

I always left the use of tough love as the last option...I swear it hurt me more than it did my kids!

How wonderful that your son is learning to take responsibility. Graham, my partner, used the same teaching methods Stan did with his son...and it really worked! Hard as it was on me, lol.

I can't wait to hear how the bed rattler works!

Sheila said...

Yep, I'm all hat and no cattle. A big push over for the most part. It probably doesn't hurt and may help. If we are forced to learn, we gain independence and self confidence. How easy is it when someone rides in to the rescue and we never are challenged to figure out things for ourselves.

Dirty Butter said...

One of our daughters was always hard to get up, and I don't think we let her learn the lesson the hard way. It's hard to be tough and let them suffer the consequences.

Sheila said...

Well, I am a big ole wimp because I woke him up again this morning. Good thing since he set his alarm clock for 9:30 a.m. We did escape the big argument. I'm going to have to order that clock now instead of for Christmas.

Don said...

Sheila, tough love is the ONLY way to go. Remember to love and let him know that you do, but be tough when it’s required. When my grandsons began to get out of hand I advised their Moms to use tough love, but they said they just couldn’t be tough and they gave in time after time. Now they tell me they should have listened and been stronger because of the problems that have arisen since then with their 3 boys, all of college age now, and having been in more trouble than you can imagine. One daughter has spent countless of thousands of dollars just trying to get her 2 boys’ heads on straight, and the oldest one finally seems to be OK and is in college, but the younger one is in jail. The third grandson sluffed his way through school and couldn’t qualify for Auburn, so he enrolled in a Jr. College in Auburn, and now has flunked out and has to stay out for at least a quarter before trying to get back in, so he’s doing manual labor for the time being.

Love, but stay tough. Kids actually respect someone who does even when they act as if they hate you for being tough. You can’t relent from time to time because that confuses them and they don’t believe you when you try to be tough again.

Sheila said...

Don, I know you are right. Sorry to hear of the trouble your daughter has had and I know it's not uncommon. I feel fortunate that the issues we've had have been minor ones. I don't think we can get through this time without a push and pull of wills. Some kids are more headstrong than others and can set off down the wrong path. I'm thankful both my sons had a knack for picking good friends. I think that can make a big difference.

Jay Croft said...

Harris Communications has a discount plus free shipping, until (I think) the end of this month.

Our older daughter just sprung for a very nice Christmas giftfor us--a system that incorporates doorbell, phone, fax and whatever flashing signals, plus flashing fire alarms! She ordered from Harris, because Bob Harris knew us when we lived in Minnesota many years ago.

Sheila said...

Hi Jay. Yes, I saw the promotion and I'm going to go ahead and order the alarm for him. The one your daughter got you guys sounds great since you won't have to have a bunch of devices. I'll have to let everyone know if it works.

Jay Croft said...

The device probably works just fine. The question is--will your son respond to the signal? Will he actually get up and move around?

People who hold regular jobs or acacemic responsibilities quickly learn to show up on time.

Sheila said...

Yes, Jay, that is the big question. I think he'll do fine. He's the kind of kid who is pretty responsible about most things. He has had a part time job since last April, has an internship at the Supreme Court and gets classwork done on time. I do tend to be a bit of a "helicopter" parent as I mentioned earlier. I'll soon learn to let him fly solo. Have to.

EchoFree said...

Saturday was like hearing Dixie being played for the last time... It was Old Yeller Dying again....It was like Capt. Gus McRae dying in Lonsome Dove....Alabama got beat for the fifth straight time in the Iron Bowl... Fear The Thumb?..

igotchathumb.com

Sheila said...

echofree, thanks for stopping by. Strange, but since I expected it, I wasn't bummed out. Least now, maybe we can get a coach who can coach.

Good luck with the t-shirts.