I have struggled with Chicken and his chores forfuckingever. I know it would be easier if I just did them myself, but parenting isn’t about easy, yo. It’s about stitches in your nethers, bleeding nipples, and a teenager that will take four fucking hours to clean a chicken coop. Adam (formerly known as TB) has a therapist (more on that later) and she has sat down with us to work on Chicken and his chores. Nothing has been as annoying, frustrating, and holy fucking just shoot me and get it over with as getting Chicken to do his chores in a timely manner. NOTHING. I dare you to think of something that is worse.
The child would drag his heels, miss out on friends, events, treats, and just plain life. He would spent a whole entire Saturday to complete an hour of chores. I absolutely hated making him do chores, it was draining and awful. Adam and I just kept at it, but we couldn’t seem to get to the point where we said “chores!” and he did them at a reasonable pace. I never expected him to joyfully do his chores whilst singing a happy tune, but I needed it to be less soul-suckingly miserable.
The therapist works with more children than adults, and she laid out a plan for us based on the techniques found in Parenting Teens with Love and Logic. Summer vacation was a perfect time to implement this solution, however the therapist warned us that it would be rough at first. She predicted four weeks of struggle before it became easy, and I was not looking forward to spending half of Chicken’s summer locked in a battle of wills. But motherfucker I was going to get Chicken to do his motherfucking chores if it killed all of us.
The basic outline of the plan is simple: Chicken was not a member of the household until he completed his chores. He had no rights or privileges until his chores were done. I gave him a few chores each morning, and sometimes he had the option to choose which chores he preferred to do. He could spend the entire day doing his chores if he chose. But until they were finished he could not do the following:
- Chat with me
- Use his phone
- Read enjoyable books
- Use any electronics
- Close his bedroom door
One of Chicken’s favorite things in the world to do is talk to me. Seriously. That kid didn’t say much until he was 2 1/2 years old, but he had made up for it in the last decade. Oh my LORD. The talking. So not allowing him to talk with me or interact with anyone else is brutally effective. If he wanted to he could play by himself in his room, but he has never been that type of kid. He needs PEOPLE.
Some of you might be wondering why we aren’t allowing enjoyable books, thinking that we are heartless fuckheads. We’re a family of hardcore bookworms. Give any of us a good book and we can tune out the world for days. It is one of the few solo activities that Chicken really enjoys. We gave him the option of reading books that we selected out of our library for him. Tedious books. Dry, flaky books of DOOM to a teenage boy. Beyond that, he could play with anything else in his room. Alone.
Let me tell you, this shit worked. The first few days it was a struggle. He tried to read boring books. But in the end, he started to do his chores, and today he does his chores more quickly than ever before in the history of the whole wide fucking world. Like a normal person, and with very limited teenager attitude. His whole disposition has improved. I am amazed and every window covering in my house is clean. Do you know how much I hate cleaning blinds? A whole fucking lot, that’s how much.
Today, I thought I would try something different. High school starts on August 11th this year, and I want him to start getting in the groove. I asked him to write a one page paper on the Tea Party using five sources. Here is what he wrote, unedited:
The Tea Party has had a couple different forms over the past centuries, but the most recent one started in 2009. Its name comes from the Boston Tea Party, which was caused by unfair taxation. The protests were provoked mainly by the Obama Administration’s bailout, stimulus package, and the health care reform. A “Contract From America” was written in 1994 to keep politicians on track for success, but the tea party’s website “Jointheteaparty.us” blames all of the nation’s problems on politicians straying from the contract. *Bullshit cough cough*
At the moment, about 18 percent of Americans are supporters or part of the Tea Party Movement. The same survey from the New York Times shows that 92 percent of Tea Party supporters are not happy with the track that the country is on. As Michel Martin says, “The survey finds, as in fact we have found in our interviews, that these are not the people without health insurance, and these are not the people who have lost jobs; they are in fact wealthier and better educated than the rest of the population. But they are also very pessimistic about the direction of the country.”
Currently, there are only a handful of political leaders/candidates that are a part of the Tea Party. Supporters of the Tea Party have made an edited version of the Contract From America, which was released on April 15th, 2010. Their main goal is to limit the power of the government, and also give the states more rights. Tea Partiers have cited the Constitution for a few of their arguments, such as the 10th and 17th Amendments to show that the states’ rights have been “trampled”. More controversy over the party has been caused by a billboard in Iowa with pictures of Hitler, Stalin, and Obama. The words “Radical leaders prey on the fearful and naïve”, along with “Live free or die!” are written on the bottom of the billboard. After much research, I have come to one conclusion: Fuck the Tea Party.
It’s not the best paper he has written, but my objective was met. He researched a subject, learned about it, and wrote a paper. Without a fuss. We talked about the Tea Party after he wrote the paper, and the paper only touches on what he learned. He used sources including those from Join the Tea Party, NPR, and Wikipedia. I am proud of my Chicken.