I freely admit that I am a bit older than most parents of a twelve-year-old, so perhaps therefore I may be a bit out of touch with the parenting skills of the 2000’s.  A few weeks ago I took my son to a movie that he had been asking to see.  His Mother and I have this agreement, well I was told is more like it, that if it is a movie that she wants to see then she will take him, if it is a movie she doesn’t want to see then of course, I have to take him.  So, obviously the movie was one that she didn’t want to see.  It was the latest in the series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”.

I didn’t mind actually, they are a pretty funny movie series (yes I had seen the others because my wife thought they were “stupid”) and this one was no different.   Through the usual calamities of a prepubescent boy the movie went on and on but the there was a scene that struck me, and I want to share it with all parents.  The boy about 12 was talking to his older brother about 17.  The older brother then made the revealing statement “if you don’t want to do something, pretend you are interested but don’t do it right, they (parents) will get frustrated and just do it themselves”.  Oh how devious, but did it work in real life?

I decided to just observe my son in action for the next couple of weeks, did he get the message? did he already know about it? Surely this isn’t something my generation did as youths, was it?

It didn’t take long for me to strike gold, it was the clearing the dishes after dinner routine.  The boy tried, but he dropped a glass full of ice which scattered cubes all over, then he banged the plates on the counter which startled my wife until finally she just said “oh just go in the front room, I will get this” very interesting I thought as the boy just slid out of the kitchen and in to watch TV, mission accomplished.

It went on, more instances of this were with cleaning his room, picking up the front room after his homework, helping in the yard, feeding the animals, oh my the list became longer with each failed task and I knew he had watched the movie, and I knew he had received the not so hidden message contained in it.

So now how do I combat this?  How do I turn him around so that he is actually successful at his chores?  Oh I tried that, just leaving the mess until he got it right, he still hasn’t got it right and more than once his mother has stepped in to take over.  I need some help, younger parents of the world please, please tell me what to do.  There is another movie he wants to see, I’m afraid, very afraid.

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