Jan 20, 2011

Time to Get Cracking!


It seems I've been too easy on my niece. Since she's lived with me, I've provided an allowance (which pays for her phone), my sister and I set her up to go to Homecoming recently and I've gotten by on simple discussions and setting of the 4 big rules of the house, because, you know, I'm such a hardass.

In return, she has slacked off in school (convinced that barely making it on a C- is going to get her successfully through nursing school too), saying "well, I can't be a perfect student...I'm not a nerd like you were" (she already knows I rather like being a nerd). Her mom wasn't/isn't a nerd but still made A's, so I think she may be stereotyping a bit there...all I ask is that she at least strives for B's. She gives attitude without provocation, cusses out her mom and is deliberately mean to my sons because she claims they should be held, at 2 and 7 years old, to the same expectations as she is at 16. Riiiight. There's no developmental differences between any of those ages at all....mmmhmmm. I think she's gotten worse because her mom recently moved back to where she wants to move back to and she's stuck in my custody until she's 19 (graduated) or moves back in with her mom (which is at my discretion and won't happen until my sister cuts the flighty, self-absorbed bit). Don't get me wrong, I love my sister and she's made many great turns lately but she still has farther to go to prove to me she can be responsible again.

I've switched my approach with her and have started a tougher discipline campaign, effective yesterday. Due to this week's antics, she will be without her phone all next month (I can never find it to take it, so it'll just sit with no time on it) and the many hours she normally spends texting in a day will be spent studying harder. That phone is the one thing she takes seriously, so we'll see how she likes having that privilege removed. She wants to play the brat after that and I'll cut off the TV, Internet access and any after-school time with friends too. If she thinks she's bored now, she'll really be bored after acting up again. I've been easy on her during her adjustment to our situation so there's no excuse for her ridiculous "I'm so mistreated" protest campaigns.

I remember being 16 (it's only been 14 years ago) and was actually not living with my parents by then and had first gone to college as a Psych major. I thought I knew it all too, but I knew how to treat others with respect and that makes a big gotta give to get! I'm aware that teens are naturally defiant and try to give some leeway for self-expression but I'm not about to let a previously undisciplined child take over my home. It's simply not going to happen. Her adjustment time is's time for Auntie to get tough. The poor girl has no idea how tough I can get...I can go from permissive to drill instructor without batting an eyelash...but, one way or another, she'll learn the score.

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