When I was 10, I was a precocious thing. A know-it-all with a penchant for back-chat. Until I was firmly put in my place by my parents.
I have a 10 year old. Now they're not precocious; they're "TWEENS". Moody, mouthy and with no respect for people or property.
This week, the 10 year old came home from school in a shirt and a pair of shorts. This is not what he was wearing when I dropped him off in the morning. It turns out after blindly dumping his bag on the playground floor in what turned out to be a steaming pile of fox poo. He picked up said bag, slung it over his shoulder and slung poo all over his clothes. The school changed his clothes and put the dirty stuff in a bag for me to find later in the bottom of his school bag.
Both my children come home covered in pen. Every. Day. I keep all washing powders, washing up liquid and ASDA in business the amount I spend on trying to get rid of the pen and buying new polo shirts. This day however; I noticed on the 10 year old it wasn't just the odd mark made by mad colouring in but a perfectly formed squiggle. I asked him what it was and his reply.
"Oh I couldn't get my pen to work"
If you could just imagine the double take you see in cartoons.... that was me.
"Pardon? Did I hear you right? You couldn't get your pen to work so you just decide to draw on your clothes?"
"Yes, it's alright, it's not my top"
This is the point I got a bit "bug-eyed" and decided that he needed to appreciate how to respect things like property and drawing willy nilly on clothes was unacceptable. So I told him he has to pay for a new polo shirt to give to the school.
We moved onto homework. You may have seen my post last week about Homework Hell. This week took us to new limits.
He had 15 (yes 15!) new spellings to learn. To start with I give him the spellings book alongside a dictionary. All he has to do is find the word. He has it written in front of him, he knows his alphabet. Apparently it's too hard. We had tears, almost every word wasn't in there he declared. It's an Oxford English Dictionary... I checked. The words were in there.
After at least half an hour of crying, moaning, shouting (me) and general grumpiness he was flicking through the dictionary with such bad grace he ripped out a page. I managed to point out he will now need to replace that alongside the school shirt.
Let's just say it didn't go down too well. But how else will he learn that I don't have a bottomless purse and can replace everything that gets lost, ruined or broken?
It might teach him a little respect.