oh the wrath of the preteen

I am going to be feeling the brunt of this one for a while.

Against my better judgment I let the 12yo borrow my ipod for a bus trip to a cross country meet. She’s generally a very responsible young adult however when it comes to people’s things she has a definite lack of respect. She doesn’t return things promptly. She doesn’t treat other people’s things with care. She seems to have a complete lack of understanding when it comes to how much money things cost.

I let her borrow the ipod anyway. And she lost it.

She avoided the subject for six whole days. I asked for it nearly every day because I wanted it for a run or something. Every day she managed to dodge getting it for me. Then finally she could wait no longer and she had to come clean. The interesting thing about this is that not once did she say she was sorry. She did not spend all week looking for it – she just kept avoiding the whole topic hoping it would go away. And even afterwards when I was very clearly upset about her lack of respect or consideration with an expensive item – she showed no remorse.

I gave myself a couple days to think about it and let her know that we would be having a conversation to determine how to handle it. We had that conversation last night. I told her she has until Friday to find my ipod. If she can’t find it – and I sincerely hope she can – then she owes me the money to replace it.

And then all hell broke loose.

I am “taking all her money.” She can’t believe she is being “asked to buy my mother a new ipod when my mother is the one with the job.” When she was done telling me how completely unfair I am she stopped talking to me entirely, stopped making eye contact and purposely avoided being in the same room with me.

As much as she doesn’t believe me, I would far prefer she found my ipod and didn’t have to give up her money. But I think there is an important lesson to be learned here. When you borrow something you should treat it with care and if something happens to it while it is in your possession, then you need to replace it.

It’s getting ugly around here. Mark this up as one of my least favorite parts of parenting.

This post is inspired by Heather of the EO’s idea to Just Write – a weekly exercise focused on free writing.


11 thoughts on “oh the wrath of the preteen

  1. I feel for you Barb. You handled the situation very well and I think the punishment definitely fits. Hopefully this will teach her to be more responsible.

  2. I’m sorry. That must feel awful. But I DO think you are doing the right thing – ab.so.lutely.
    We’ve had a few talks with Munchie lately about being accountable and the power of just saying “I’m sorry”. If she does something (intentional or unintentional) that upsets us, she usually runs crying to her room yelling that “everybody is mad at me!” So we’ve been trying to get her to understand that just saying “I’m sorry that I _____.” means a lot.
    So I can understand why some remorse might have been a bit of a comfort to you.
    Good luck and stick with it. I hope she finds the iPod too.

    1. You know, when K was little she had the same reaction as Munchie. It’s a lesson that apparently needs to be repeated from time to time. I’ll keep you posted on Friday’s results!

  3. My son is irresponsible with his own IPod, which is his greatest treasure. Once, he THOUGHT he lost it and said, “No big deal, my grandparents will just buy me another.” The next time I saw it laying around, I took it. I kept it for an entire week….just long enough for his grandparents to say they would replace it, in three months, for his birthday. I gave it back and he’s kept it pretty close since then! Good luck! Pre-teens are HARD!

  4. I can’t say that it gets easier….
    We had a talk with the teen that wasn’t fun the other day. But, even mostly good, responsible children, sometimes need reminders that THEY are not the center of the universe, even if their developmental stage says that they are.
    But, it is the not fun parts as well as the fun parts, that all come together one day.

  5. I really, really feel for you and can’t imagine how hard this is. However, as a teacher, I can’t thank you enough. Parents who enforce boundaries and responsibility are the parents who make our jobs that much easier, so thank you.
    I couldn’t agree more that discipline is the least favorite part of parenting. I see it now with a four year old. I don’t want to make him cry or put him in time out and often, I just want to hug him and forget about a punishment at all, but I have to remember that I can’t be a softy all the time!

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