I'm posting this as a second blog, because I feel like there were two parts to the day.
On arriving home, I first had to talk with my bankruptcy attorney to get the answers to some questions regarding the upcoming property settlement hearing. After we were through talking, I took a deep breath and exited my car. Corralled the kids into the house and then informed them that I would first deal with Baby Girl, then Bad Boy. Little One had yet to commit any transgressions deserving of my wrath.
Then I walked into the kitchen. Now, when I left yesterday morning I left a fairly strongly worded note informing Baby Girl that I expected to come home and find the dishwasher loaded, and kitchen tidy. That was not the scene that greeted me, so now I'm angry again and my calm has fled the building. I won't document all that was said, but I will say, I did not yell, curse, or use physical violence. I calmly informed my newly turned teenager that she was forever grounded, that I would no longer provide those luxuries that she seemed to feel entitled to without earning them and that if she failed school that was her problem because once she turned 18, I would not be providing for her. As an adult, it will be her responsibility. I did feel it was necessary to point out that in order for her to maintain the privileged life I have provided her with, she would need to earn good money, which requires a good job which comes from a good education. I almost pointed out that she could turn to illegal means, but felt I might be overstepping the mark.
Then it was Bad Boy's turn. Sigh.
I was a little gentler on him. We talked about the seriousness of what he had said in school and the problems that it could cause. We talked about things he can do to mitigate his temper, the correct way to deal with the child who seems Hell-bent on torturing him everyday. We then discussed the 'N' word, it's origins and it's offensiveness, not to mention how inappropriate it was for him to use that kind of language. Ever. Whether he is 9 or 90, I never want to hear that word from him again.
At this point, I was now ready to get on with what I needed to do that evening, which was to pull together documentation for both my divorce attorney and the bankruptcy. Not a fun task, but when I returned downstairs to find that Baby Girl was NOT doing her chores, I pretty much lost it again. I asked whether she had heard anything I had said. She said she was doing her homework. AT this point it was almost 7pm. She'd been home since 4pm. So her homework AND the chores SHOULD have been done.... I reaffirmed my disappointment and anger. She made a half-hearted attempt to do those things she was supposed to, but I sent her to her room.
After I had sat on the porch breathing for a few minutes, I returned inside and informed all three that their behaviour is unacceptable and that it would no longer be rewarded. I was eventually able to illustrate how I felt, by making them feel the same. I told them I was removing ALL TV's, video game consoles, cell phones etc except for the one in my room, and that they would have a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their bellies as that is the minimum I am required to provide as well as ensuring they GO to school. I am not responsible for their grades or whether they complete assignments, but if the flunk out of school they would not have me to fall back on. I left them to stew for a few minutes. I heard crying and they started to pick up some of their mess. I cleaned the kitchen and put dinner on. I then went back and asked them to tell me what they were feeling at that moment, knowing they would no longer have all the spoils they've been enjoying. Their answers were: Sad, disappointed and angry.
They ate their dinner quietly, and took themselves to bed at the normal 9pm.
Mission accomplished. For now.