Answer to one burning question…

Wow, my plan to have lighthearted and funny posts on Monday has already been derailed.

Finding the funny becomes difficult when your children display poor judgment and make bad decisions.

When the assistant principal calls you on Friday afternoon to discuss discipline problems about two of your four children, the Superbowl party weekend takes on a different tone.

I’ll save the details of the school problems for later. Perhaps later will be when they are married with teenagers. I’m not making any promises though. I can only say that I will respect their privacy for now.

Here’s the thing about teenage problems vs. toddler problems. The timeout chair doesn’t work anymore. The consequences are much longer lasting. The impact of their poor judgment can affect more than just your immediate family.

It is also a time when you, as the parent, question all that you have tried to teach and wonder if they’re going to make it in the world.

Then you have to dig deep to find the consequences to match the actions. And follow through.

Because in the end, following through with the discipline with your kids means more than a minor inconvenience for the parents.

Because putting them on restrictions puts the whole family on restrictions.

For those of you who are still in the toddler or tween stage and haven’t made it to the teen years, it’s like staying home to potty train but oh, so much worse. Because they’re not so cute and funny anymore.

But you know that this really is about teaching them life lessons.

And those monotonous days you wanted to change are the days you wish you could bring back.

“Sure, I’ll read Green Eggs & Ham again.

I bow to those of you who have made it through this stage.

I wish I had some great tips for those of you approaching this stage.

But in the words of my good friend Ann, “I got nothing.”

And this weekend revealed the answer to the burning question on our Happy New Year card:

Why do we take more pictures of
our two wiener dogs than of our kids?


Because right now, they are cuter and they don’t talk back.


Life Lesson (LL): Just when you relax and think things are going well, teenagers will remind you that they were just lulling you into a false sense of security to see if you’re still paying attention. Especially when you thought you were already paying attention!

Share a Life Lesson (SALL): I am open to (and openly begging for) any constructive suggestions on making it through these teen years without becoming a bitter old woman with a substance abuse problem. Give yourself and your kids code names if necessary just share, please share…


One year ago..

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  1. 1
    Nancy C says:

    Keep talking through it! OMG I Give you credit for being upright (you are, right?) (Well if you stand the bed up on its end, you would be!)
    Can’t say that I’ve had the “calls”, but feel like I can totally feel your pain. Truly, just never thought it was going to happen to you. Unfortunately, it’s no better when they are in their 20’s either, except I guess you can throw their butts out (but you have to have guts to do that-I know, you could do it).
    Have you tried Dr. Phil?

  2. 2
    keepsmiling says:

    Do you have a problem with your kids waking up in the morning? I did… my son had A LOT of tardies last year, as well as a big problem with making sure he had all his shi-stuff together. He has to be in his seat at school at 7 a.m. (which I think is insane) so I get up in the morning and cook him breakfast. I do this for a number of reasons. 1.He’s a senior in High school, so this is my last chance (to try) for the sweet mother-son moments at home. (I don’t know about you, but I have this fun little black and white Mrs. Cleaver picture in my head of how I’d like things to be.) 2. Because I know he won’t have anything decent to eat at school. 3. I figure if he has time to sit and eat, he will actually be awake enough to make sure he has all his shi-stuff and drive to school. See my son is not a morning person. For years I often found myself yelling up the stairs…Are you up !? Breakfast is ready…Get out of the shower…WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!… Not very Cleaverish or pleasant.
    To fix this problem he now calls me a 6 a.m. so I know he’s awake. I get up and cook breakfast, and he has to be down to eat by 6:30. If he falls back to sleep and I have to “inquire loudly” up the stairs, or he isn’t down by 6:30 he has to call me at 8a.m. on the weekends. If he doesn’t call me at 8 he doesn’t go out that night. I actually typed up a contract that he signed and dated.
    This relates to the parental follow through part you mentioned. I HATE to wake up on the weekends! The first week he was late twice, the second week he was late once, the third week it was Friday, my husband was home and actually was doing the morning routine so I could sleep in. Our son fell back to sleep, dad didn’t check, he cooked breakfast, I realize what’s going on at 6:47 (He needs to be driving by 6:50 to be on time) I was so mad! Not only did I not get to sleep in, but I realized I was going to have to get up all weekend AGAIN! CRAP!
    I had a fit! My husband said let’s stop. Let him fend for himself, he doesn’t appreciate it. But Mrs. Cleaver is tapping her toe on the floor in my head, and I don’t want to NOT get up and make breakfast and hope for pleasant moments in the morning. I asked our son if he wanted to stop the “morning routine” and he said no he “likes it”. So this is a new week and he’s made in down on time so far (it’s Tuesday) and it’s been pleasant…I am hoping to sleep in this weekend.

  3. 3
    Gayle says:

    This may not apply to your current situation, Sherra, but for what it’s worth…the best teenager parenting advice anyone has ever given me is: “Pick Your Battles”. In each instance, I try to determine if it’s worth the fight, or if I can let this one go, but stand firm on another, more important issue later. My girls appreciate their “wins” enough to back off when I put my foot down on other things.

  4. 4
    Joanne says:

    This is from a different perspective because I have DD4 and DS6 and a long way to go for the teen years. However I wasn’t an easy teenager. I didn’t think the rules were for me and my parents were idiots. Really. My parents were of the “Pick Your Battles” mentality. They didn’t care what I did with my hair or clothes as long as all my parts were well covered. They were supportive and positive when things were going well. When things went wrong they expressed their disappointment sternly. My mom didn’t believe in grounding in the house because she felt she was the one who got punished most. Long punishments didn’t make more of an impression than well planned short ones. For example, when I came home drunk, she let me go to bed as if nothing was wrong. Then woke me at 7AM the next morning (Sat) and said I was to scrub every floor in the house that did not have rugs. She was taking my dad and siblings out and it had to be done before she got home. When was she getting home? When she got home. She could have been an hour or 5 hours I didn’t know. I got right to work. Her point was if you are going to make the decision to get drunk you still have to get up and do your work no matter how bad you feel. Your actions have consequences. She handed me two aspirin and a glass of water and they left. There was a threat about what would happen if I didn’t get it done before she got home. You know the look Mom’s give that implies physical harm if you dare challenge it and when she talked calmly and quietly on top of that, you were so going to die.
    Her other thing she did and taught my dad was to say a lot of uh huh when we would talk to her. She never gave us solutions or pointed out who was right or wrong. She would say Oh Really? or Is that so? or What did you do? and a lot of non committed sounds like mmm hmmmm. We thought she was the greatest listener of all time and ALWAYS talked to her about things. Start when the kids are telling you insignificant things and eventually they’ll be telling you the things you really want to know.

  5. 5
    boy lovin' mom says:

    You know, when I go to our elementary school to meet new teachers each year, they always say “Oh, you’re the boys’ mom….” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??? Do my boys have a following? Is it a good one? Last year, on the last day of school, I thought I’d pick up my youngest a bit early- doing that “good mom” thing. Funny, but I ran into him in the hall – on the way to the principal’s office! I got to listen in on one (of many, I’ve heard) of their “friendly chats”. I just hope he’s using up all of his principal visits now before he gets into middle school….!

  6. 6
    Joni says:

    Sherra, I recently read a wonderfully helpful book for the parents of teens, “The Parent/Teen Breakthrough: A Relationship Approach” by Mira Kirshenbaum. You will most likely have to special order it, but, to use a worn out expression, it is worth its weight in gold.

    Here’s wishing you a joyful relationship with your son.

  7. 7
    Joni says:

    Ugh! Obviously new to your blog (got here from Leigh Anne over at Your Home Based Mom), and now realize that you were probably referring to your daughters, NOT your son. So, I’d like to amend my above comment to wish you are joyful relationship with all four of your wonderful offspring!

    And in the spirit of sharing (so that this second comment is not a waste), I’d love to recommend Scott Noelle’s Daily Groove for all of your parent-type readers. You can find him over at

  8. 8
    Sherra says:

    Joni–Will definitely check out both book recommendations! I need all the help I can get. I didn’t think I tipped off anyone as to which children I was referring so I did laugh when you mentioned my son and then decided it was the girls. 🙂

    boy lovin’ mom–I hope you’re using all the principal visits in elementary school too! For your sake!

    Joanne–I was quiet and calm last Friday night which was much scarier than either of us yelling! Some day I’ll share our “friendly” interrogation chair and how I am actually quite skilled at calling their bluffs, much to their distress. In spite of my stress, I have excellent relationships with each of them and they actually have given me TMI more times than I want to remember. I do love your mom’s methods!

    Gayle–We definitely agree with you and parent with “pick your battles” mindset. Unfortunately, sometimes the battles pick you 🙁

    keepsmiling–I’m totally impressed about your commitment to the breakfast plan. Since you know me personally, I know you’re laughing about even thinking I would prepare a hot breakfast for them.

    Nancy C–Dr. Phil would probably reject us and then I’d get depressed again. We’re thinking Jerry Springer.

    THANK YOU ALL – I’m going to get better at commenting individually too. I’m reading them all and love the input!!


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