Teens and Fiiiiines

Moms, it's no coincidence that right about the time when your child gets old enough to handle more responsibilities, they also start getting their own agenda.

I'm sorry, but this is the way of things. This is how you learn to hone your Fine Truce skills. Right there in the teen years.

They reach driving age and pass their driver's license test. You think - sweet, I'm going to save time on soooooo many errands!

Day two of them having the keys goes a little like this:

Mom: say, could you swing by the store and pick up a gallon of milk and some paper towels on your way home?

Kid: um, do I have to? Buy papertowels? Really??

Mom: well, I could do it but if you're not going to help out I'm also going to take your keys back.

Kid: walks away muttering something that sounds suspiciously like "Duck Hat" and then says fiiiiiiiine but then can I go get tacos with my friends?

Mom: fiiiiiiiine.

See, things get to the fine stage. Eventually. Once the argument ends and you both realize that the kid is taking responsibility but at the same time forging a new path in their own life.

Another example would be a typical Saturday - which might go a little like this:

Mom: hey, I'd like your help with some of the things on my Weekend To Do list please. We all live here so we can all pitch in and get this place cleaned up.

Kid: but I was going to hang out at Joe's house.

Mom: well, hang out AFTER you do your chores.

Kid: but everyone else is there now! They're going to think I'm lame.

Mom: well you're going to prove them right when I kick your butt for not getting your chores done! Now either take the spray bottle and move your butt toward the bathroom or send a text to Joe telling him you've decided to spend the day with your mom. You choose!

Kid: fiiiiiiine. But after I clean the bathroom, can I go to Joe's?

Mom: no, after you clean the bathroom, pick up dog poop and vacuum your room - then you can go to Joe's.

Kid: fiiiiiine. But can I go to the movie tonight then?

Mom: looking around and seeing three items crossed off her list that she doesn't have to do and foresees a glass of wine in her very near future. Fiiiiine.

See, it generally takes some finagling but the Fine Truce can happen for you, too. To help you I've made you a helpful list.

Okay - so step one: Just hold your ground.

-State your demands.

-Don't be afraid to raise your voice (hey, teenagers yell all the time. Yelling is what they know. And if you can't beat them - literally - then join them.)

-When they actually prove themselves competent, helpful and - dare you hope - responsible (yaaaassssss! And they said it couldn't be done. That this generation was going to be a bunch of sallies that didn't know the meaning of hard work and responsibility. Ha! You'll show them!) then you, too, can listen to their demands and figure out which ones are reasonable, not toooooo demanding and will not tax you or add to your list in any way, shape or form.

-Finally, add your, "fine" into the verbal agreement.

Just print it like the cliff notes of Fine Truce Making and peek at it your first few times through. After that you'll have the hang of it and be just.... well, fine.