In a college literature class, I studied The Art of War. It’s an ancient Chinese book that has been influential for hundreds of years, and describes military techniques in war time. I remember reading it and thinking, “I’m not selling this back to the library after the semester so I can refer to battle tactics for raising teenagers.”
I took that class when I was 19 and still a teen myself. I guess my parenting instincts have always been suuuper turnt up.
I’ve since lost the book, and it’s highly improbable that this little laundry baby will grow up to be anything less than perfect; however, his future siblings may need stricter parenting. In lieu of a warfare strategy guide, Brian and I have instead compiled a list of “grounding” alternatives. Our future teenagers’ undesirable behavior will be at a standstill due to Mom’s variation of tactics, which happens to be Chapter 8 in The Art of War.
To keep things interesting, the following list is to be used as a CHOICE in place of a run of the mill, predictable consequence. Ie “You can choose to lose your phone privileges for a week, OR______.” Then, pat yourself on the back for bringing democracy back to the family, and let the good times roll.
Discipline Alternatives for Taming a Teen
1. The Sign and Date: The rule breaker will not be grounded if he or she returns a completed petition with a header statement. “I, _____, have come home 20 minutes past my curfew multiple times this month. I am so disrespectful of my parents’ rules. SHAME. Since I was so inconsiderate of my parents, who are super cool and know Jay Z songs, I need your signature to agree that yes, I am in the wrong. Yes, there are repercussions. No, I will not not not be late again. This way, you can still see me on weekends. Include your number, because my mom will be calling you to verify your signature’s authenticity.” After 25 signatures from friends, with phone numbers, I will call to confirm that all the friends knew they signed and a consequence will be waived.
(And then, I have a secret stash of their friends’ phone numbers. Well, well, well.)
2. Not Stacy’s Mom: Upon continuation of my Pink Box Doughnut fanaticism, odds are good I will become obese. This will come in handy. I will show up somewhere where my teen and his/her friends are, rain or shine, in a bikini. This will have to be more of an ambush rather than an agreed upon punishment, but I’ll work out the kinks when I get to about 308 lbs.
3. Wheely Embarrassing: Should our finances allow, we will have a perfectly safe yet severely cosmetically damaged vehicle for offenders to drive for a determined time period. This total piece of crap car will have duct tape, stale fries squished between the seats, and possibly “I love my mom!” or “Time out car!” spray painted on the side. Driving solidarity will be achieved by removing passenger seats.
4. It’s Not Gucci: The guilty party will wear shirts to school exclaiming their wrong doing. “I KEEP POSTING SELFIES ON FACEBOOK WHEN I’M SUPPOSED TO BE DOING BIOLOGY HOMEWORK.” This will be printed front and back, right side in and inside out. By printed, I mean Sharpie. If you change clothes at school…you better not.
5. Au Natural: A negotiated time period of no makeup for daughters. High school social pressures alongside a bare face will definitely instill a fear of talking back to me.
6. Tee hee hee: If we need to bring out the big guns, we will pull out the ol’ love card. The teen culprit will have to accompany Brian and I on a date to a popular place, and Brian and I will show lots and lots of public displays of affection. We will also make sure we talk unmistakably to you, loudly, between kissing. #notmyparents #PDA #eyesburning
Any additional suggestions to our raise-good-kids-sans-grounding arsenal would be appreciated!