Should I enforce this punishment or am I being mean?

(55 Posts)
flossieraptor Wed 01-May-13 16:14:51

I'm not sure what to do.

DS has just done his DofE camping weekend. He got back on Sunday about 12 and had a massive strop at me because I had had the temerity to leave the house and he didn't have his key and hadn't called ahead. Hung up on me. He had to wait 15 minutes and was in a strop. We had bought him all new stuff (walking shoes etc.). He had all day SUnday to recover, ate a huge dinner, said he was shattered etc. On Monday morning he refused to get out of bed, declared he had a temp, he didn't. then he said it was just that his muscles were aching. I told him that while I sympathised, he should still go to school. He refused point blank to get out of bed. I said I would dock him a week of his pocket money if he didn't go. He said he didn't care and didn't go.

Am I being mean? My mother always made me go to school unless I was actually ill.

For background, he is not my son, he is my DH's nephew who has been with us for 3 years.

I think if you genuinely think you are in the right, then you need to stick to your guns, otherwise it is a line that has been crossed and will be again.

I also come from a family where we had to go to school unless we were ill - a bit like as an adult you have to go to work unless you're ill or immoral enough to skive.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Wed 01-May-13 16:24:25

I think that is pretty mild! How old is he? For not going to school I would ground I think, if you are sure he is well.

flossieraptor Wed 01-May-13 16:25:52

I think what I'm struggling with is that he did seem like he really couldn't get out of bed so maybe he was ill. He said he had a headache but of course he could have taken 2 paracetamol and been ok. I have quite a strong work ethic and would never take a day off. To be fair, he has not had a day off school in 3 years but neither should a perfectly healthy, 15 year old boy.

It's also difficult because he was previously brought up in a very 'soft' home and I always been cast as the disciplinarian, which I'm not at all really.

flossieraptor Wed 01-May-13 16:31:15

He was absolutely fine that evening (I was not in as I had an overnight work trip) and went off the next day without a problem. I haven't mentioned it since I got back. He will probably start making plans for his pocket money.

It's getting harder to know what to do especially now he's 15 and taller than me. Grounding is not an attractive option for me as I really want him to go out and socialise as much as possible. He has no interest in parties or drinking and only plays a bit of football after school.

Losing money is what hurts with him.

I'm most annoyed about him hanging up on me. I loathe that kind of casual rudeness.

Cerisier Wed 01-May-13 17:42:55

It sounds like he was exhausted. At least he is fine now. I have let DD1 17 stay off twice when she has been too tired to stand up after D of E weekends. I felt she needed sleep more than she needed school.

The hanging up on the phone is very rude. I would be very cross about this. Was it a one off or has he done it before?

I would stick with the punishment to start with- but due to the rudeness of hanging up rather than the staying in bed. If one of my teens did this and then apologised profusely I think I would accept the apology and after half an hour would reduce the punishment in acknowledgment. Of course if they ever did it again there would be fireworks.

PigletJohn Wed 01-May-13 17:50:33

I expect he was a bit tired.

Certainly don't back down on the pocket money or you will teach him (1) it's OK and (2) you don't mean what you say.

If I was his mum I would have given him some paracetamol and the benefit of the doubt if he hasn't had a day off sick in 3 years. I think sometimes they do get exhausted at that age because they are in a growth spurt, my 15 year old DS was very similar when he came back from a school trip. Luckily it was the Easter holidays and he had two duvet days to recover.
The rudeness is different, I think it depends whether it was out of character or not? If a one off I would explain I found it rude and upsetting and leave it at that. If he has form then I would stick with a fine.

PigletJohn Wed 01-May-13 17:53:45

p.s.

If instead of a weekend, it had been a 3-day exercise, or a week, he would have been expected to get up and pull his weight on the third and subsequent days. A 17-year old is quite capable of doing a day's work after a late night or a hard day.

He's lucky he's not an army cadet or recruit.

flossieraptor Wed 01-May-13 18:44:13

It's the second time he has hung up on me. The other time too he was locked out and annoyed when I said we would be ten minutes and while I was explaining he hung up. Very rude indeed.

I was fuming while I was away but I suppose I feel bad because he was feeling bad and it would have been a huge effort to get up and get going. But life is a huge effort sometimes and at 15 I think he could have done it.

I feel bad because I'm not his mother and during the past three years it has been a struggle. Even now we have more of a working relationship than any kind of closer bond. I don't know. WHen it's bad it's bad, but when it's good it's good.

flossieraptor Wed 01-May-13 18:44:45

Also, we were thinking of taking him skiing, but I'm not going to do that if he's going to wimp out on day 3 because of muscle ache.

Actually DS2 (15) had been on a skiing trip. Six days of skiing plus two 26 hour coach journeys. He kept his energy up while it mattered but when he got home he went to bed for two days grin.

I guess I would be more indulgent because I am his mum. If you don't have that relationship I can see it would irritate.
Did he apologise for the hanging up?

flossieraptor Wed 01-May-13 19:29:36

"I guess I would be more indulgent because I am his mum. If you don't have that relationship I can see it would irritate".

This is what worries me, secret. He doesn't have parents, although is very close to granny who brought him up. I really try to be loving towards him and I am of course very fond of him.

He didn't apologise, no. But he was certainly looking sheepish when I got back, I think if I had still seemed cross he would have apologised then.

Maryz Wed 01-May-13 22:12:34

dd did something similar last weekend.

She hiked 30 km, mostly uphill, on mountainous tracks, carrying all her kit, tent and food. She hardly slept because it was below freezing where she camped.

Initially I said she had to go to school, but I gave in when I saw her on Monday morning and took her in at lunchtime.

She was shattered, blistered, aching all over and still a bit shivery.

It's bloody tough, these hiking overnighters. He will have been unreasonably exhausted when he got home (dd burst into tears when she took her socks off and saw her feet). He will have been sore on Monday.

I would try to negotiate.

Maryz Wed 01-May-13 22:15:45

How far did he go, by the way? And was he camping?

Because dd basically did 9 hours of walking plus some climbing, carrying a load, with little food and pretty much no sleep.

Which is very different from a ski holiday - no matter how strenuous, you stop for lunch and tea and get to sleep in a bed.

flossieraptor Thu 02-May-13 09:05:31

He walked 12 km carrying a not very heavy rucksack and camped for one night.

I'm so useless with sanctions. When I said it I thought he would get up, because he really can't afford to lose that money with the plans he has. When he didn't I started to think he was actually feeling as bad as he said.

I think I might talk to him about his rudeness on the phone, say I was disappointed it happened again after we discussed it last time but say I realise he felt very tired I am not docking his £ if he does a chore (have something in mind he offered to do for money).

mrsjay Thu 02-May-13 09:13:10

I think you should stick with what you said I know you were probably unreasonable to dock his money ,
I am a stubborn cow I wouldnt budge if I had said something like that to the DDs
I know D o E is important to them DH was a leader for years but he always said to them go home get a good nights sleep because you have school in the morning if it was a termtime weekend,

I think your compromise and chat with him sounds reasonable but say what you mean and mean what you say

Chopchopbusybusy Thu 02-May-13 09:22:12

I'd go ahead with docking his pocket money. If you are happy to allow him a chance to earn it back anyway then it's not such a huge punishment. A 12k walk is really not enough to make him that exhausted.
When DD was doing her D of E the organisers always said at the end of the weekend that school next day was not optional.

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 09:52:02

Ah, 12 km [pah]

dd did nearly three times that, finishing on top of a mountain.

To be fair, when they stopped to camp for the night, they met a group of boys doing our DoE equivalent who had hiked 10k with day-packs (their tents and dinner had been delivered by the school, so they only had packed lunch and their personal gear).

She thought they were wimps grin in the way only a 16 year old girl can.

I hate it when I make threads that I don't really want to enforce. It really annoys me.

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 09:52:51

threats, not threads, obvs hmm

flossieraptor Thu 02-May-13 09:57:11

MaryZ He was back by 1pm on the Sunday and had the whole day to relax. He had walked 6km each day and quite frankly I've done double that and I'm not exactly solid muscle. He says he didn't get much sleep because the tent leaked and his bag got wet but as it didn't rain hmm I think he just means there was a little bit of condensation.

I was kind to him in the morning, made him a cup of tea and offered to drive him to school, so it's not like I was an utter cow. I was worried too because when he lived with his granny she once gave him a day off school because he had argued with some friends and couldn't face them, some friends and he didn't go back for 3 months. In fact, he left the school without ever returning. That was ages ago though, before I got my hands on him grin

My parents never apologised to us and it's not that they weren't kind good people, it just wasn't done, so it does kind of stick in my craw a bit to back down.

I worry that our relationship is becoming very transactional though. I dole out his money and buy clothes etc. plus do all the boundary setting.

Hm, so now I'm thinking I will dock it.

chocoluvva Thu 02-May-13 10:00:34

You think he was being lazy on Monday morning? Missing school will have consequences - homework to catch up with etc. The way I see it - being lazy or not having much drive or self-discipline is a personality flaw rather than doing something 'bad', or 'immoral'. He wasn't being disobedient as such or doing something that would hurt anyone except himself.

Docking pocket money is not a sustainable sanction. I think you're right to let him have the money for a chore and focus on the hanging up on you instead. Hard for it is to watch, staying in bed is disrespecting himself, unlike his rudeness to you which is disrespecting you and therefore unacceptable.

chocoluvva Thu 02-May-13 10:00:50

15 is a hard age!

flossieraptor Thu 02-May-13 10:17:48

Chocaluvva I quite agree that not getting out of bed was lazy but I suppose I see it that we are training him to overcome these flaws. A big part of our task when we took on DN was to boost his self-esteem, because he had been brought up not to do things if he didn't want to and had ended up refusing school and getting quite depressed and dependent on computer games. By making him do things he now has more faith in himself.

I refused to call in sick for him though so he may face consequences at school.

I know 15 is a hard age, and I am also mindful that his family situation may compound this, that's my eternal dilemma.

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 10:30:08

"I worry that our relationship is becoming very transactional though. I dole out his money and buy clothes etc. plus do all the boundary setting"

This perfectly describes much parent/teenager relationship hmm.

I must say, his weekend doesn't sound very tough. Not compared to what our lot have to do. So I no longer feel sorry for him.

So I've changed my mind grin. Inform him asap that you are still docking his pocket money because he hung up on you and because he didn't go to school. But you admire him for doing the DoE and understand he was very tired and that he has plans for the money, so (be very understanding and sympathetic here), he is welcome to earn it back by [insert not too onerous a task, or he won't do it].

That way, you aren't the bitch from hell, he gets his money, he does a chore you want done.

Compromise and win-win, hopefully. That would work with ds2. Unfortunately with ds1 it would have earned a "fuck off, I don't need your money I can steal some ", so it depends on him I quess.

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