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DS14 is so inflexible!
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amother




Maroon


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 11:29 am
DS14 is a generally good kid--even very good. He helps a lot in the house and is usually obedient and I find him a very pleasant person to be around most of the time. We have a very nice and open relationship.

What drives me nuts is how inflexible he can be sometimes. He just can't take no for an answer. Today that was illustrated right when he got home from school. He gets home at 5:30 and is sometimes hungry. He eats a hot lunch at 1:30. Today, he asked if he can have Shabbos cereal because he didn't get on Shabbos. He never gets on Shabbos since he's in shul until the meal, but we have a rule in our house: You can have Shabbos cereal only on Shabbos or motzei Shabbos (if you didn't have it on Shabbos), but if you don't take it then for whatever reason, there are no rainchecks during the week. This rule has been around for years. DS14 usually has his Shabbos cereal motzei Shabbos.

Today he asked if he could take since he didn't have any on Shabbos or motzei Shabbos. I said no, you know the rule. If you didn't take motzei Shabbos, you gave it up for the week. He explained that he couldn't take motzei Shabbos because we took him out to eat for his birthday, and by the time we got home, he had to go to bed. He claimed if he would have remembered the rule, he would have skipped going out to eat. (Yeah, right.) I just repeated to him what I had said previously (he is learning disabled and sometimes really doesn't get it the first or second time around) and offered him several other options. He eventually took out a bowl and the container of Shabbos cereal and said, "I'm taking, okay?" I said, "I answered you already and feel no need to repeat myself." His eyes filled up with tears and he kept begging and begging and just would not let up. I said, "Avrumi, Avrumi (not his real name)..." and was about to say something, but he mimicked me and said, "Avrumi, Avrumi." At that point, I put an end to the whole saga with a calm but firm punishment and walked out of the room. He took something else to eat (one of the other things I had offered him) and was perfectly pleasant after that.

Why can't he just take no for an answer? He knows begging doesn't work with me, but he just doesn't let up. How can I help him become more flexible so that he can deal with what life throws in his direction?
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Chayalle









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 11:31 am
Honestly, that sounds pretty inflexible. We have a rule in the house...for years....that we never break. But our son is supposed to be flexible?

Explain.
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amother




Maroon


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 11:46 am
Chayalle wrote:
Honestly, that sounds pretty inflexible. We have a rule in the house...for years....that we never break. But our son is supposed to be flexible?

Explain.


Do you seriously not see any difference between a rule that we consistently enforce and a teenager not accepting no for an answer?

Also, did I write that we never break it? If a child was sick on Shabbos and could not eat it then, we would likely let him have it when he's better. But we are not going to break the rule because DH and I took him out for a birthday treat. If we would break it for things like that, we wouldn't have a rule. Shabbos cereal wouldn't be Shabbos cereal.
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Simple1









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 11:46 am
I think in this case you should've been more flexible. I personally wouldn't have such a rule like that. Teenagers can be tough but it helps if you pick your battles. It can get a lot worse than that.
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amother




Maroon


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 11:49 am
Simple1 wrote:
I think in this case you should've been more flexible. I personally wouldn't have such a rule like that. Teenagers can be tough but it helps if you pick your battles.


We're pretty laid back parents overall, but we don't want our kids eating junky chocolatey or food coloring-laden cereals every day. So we limit them to Shabbos or motzai Shabbos. If we would not have this rule, there would always be someone who would opt to have it during the week instead and we don't want this to be an everyday thing.
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Simple1









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 11:56 am
amother wrote:
We're pretty laid back parents overall, but we don't want our kids eating junky chocolatey or food coloring-laden cereals every day. So we limit them to Shabbos or motzai Shabbos. If we would not have this rule, there would always be someone who would opt to have it during the week instead and we don't want this to be an everyday thing.


Can you hide the junk food so it's not available? Do you discuss the benefits of healthy eating so they can make good food choices? I feel like teenagers need a little bit more freedom and independence than when they were little.
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allthingsblue









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 12:06 pm
Speaking as a health conscious mother who doesn't even have such cereal in the house for shabbos, I think you should have made an exception. My three year old son is capable of understanding an "exception" (like, mommy is letting you stay up late just this one night."). Certainly your 14 year old can understand that it's a one time exception. Why should he be punished for his birthday outing? Why should he be punished for going to shul on shabbos morning?
Also, worse comes to worse, he would still only have had the cereal once a week even if every week he has the cereal on Sunday instead f shabbos.
Finally- at age 14 it sounds strange that you keep such a tight fist with the children and food. theyre almost adults! I think you need to loosen up and let your children make some decisions for themselves.
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chayamiriam









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 12:14 pm
I think it's you that's inflexible. A kid who usually listens to rules and asks you to bend a rule? It's just cereal does he have to cry about it! Pick your battles it's just some cereal. It's you that's being inflexible!
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leah233









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 12:16 pm
If you have such strict rules about Shabbos cereal in your house then it probably is a subtly contentious issue to begin with. He probably looks as Shabbos cereal as a once a week treat. This week for technical reasons he didn't get it so he still wants it. From his perspective it is a reasonable request so he isn't taking a no so quickly(As an aside if you have daughters who don't go to shul and eat Shabbos cereal in the morning but still have the option of a Motzey Shabbos make up time then he also deserve two potential times to eat it)


I once saw a panel of mechnchim answering the follow question: If an school has a out of the ordinary fun filled program for the first hour of the day can they take away morning recess to make up some of the lost time?The unanimous consensus was no because the children will just look it at it as losing recess and resent it.
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amother




Maroon


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 12:23 pm
So I hear what you're all saying and I'm trying to objectively evaluate if I was really wrong in this case.

We do allow our teens quite a bit of freedom to make their own decisions. They otherwise eat what they want, go to sleep when they want, and aside for having to tell us where they're going when they leave the house, we allow them to go around independently. This rule is more about the cereal than the kids though. DS14 has a whole bunch of younger siblings. If we break the rule with him and they see (they were all around), they're going to want to know why, and honestly, the birthday excuse is not really an excuse because he was pampered with a lot more than that when we took him out. (We let him choose any meal and any dessert he wanted.) I just don't want them all to think that we bend rules for any little thing. Then they're not rules. As I said earlier, we do make exceptions if kids are sick or something like that. (Shabbos cereal used to be for Shabbos morning only, but we extended it to motza"sh so nobody loses out for going to shul.)

Also, we often let him take little treats when his younger siblings are already in bed. He gets a lot of privileges that they don't and we especially make sure to give him little rewards for his help in the house. But in this case, he wanted it then and now, not later. He was hungry and wouldn't accept any other suggestions.

I'm not refuting all your arguments, I'm just sharing my thoughts to give some perspective while I think more about what you all wrote.
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chayamiriam









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 12:30 pm
I still think it's being unreasonable to take a stand on cereal. It's teaching him how to be not to be flexible. This is not a lesson you want him to learn!
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amother




Black


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 12:30 pm
He wasn't being inflexible.

He wanted Shabbos cereal and attempted to make a case why he should be allowed to have it. He was then upset that he didn't win his case. That's not inflexibility.

Its tough to be both the creator of and enforcer of rules!
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amother




Maroon


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 12:39 pm
amother wrote:
He wasn't being inflexible.

He wanted Shabbos cereal and attempted to make a case why he should be allowed to have it. He was then upset that he didn't win his case. That's not inflexibility.

Its tough to be both the creator of and enforcer of rules!


My other kids would have given a sigh and moved on. Maybe they would have asked why I don't let and grumbled a bit, but they would accept it. He just did not let up. He asked over and over and over again why I don't let even though I explained each time that it's only for Shabbos or motzei Shabbos. That's my point. I can deal with kids being upset that they don't get their way. This is my only kid who just doesn't accept no.
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amother




Black


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 12:55 pm
amother wrote:
My other kids would have given a sigh and moved on. Maybe they would have asked why I don't let and grumbled a bit, but they would accept it. He just did not let up. He asked over and over and over again why I don't let even though I explained each time that it's only for Shabbos or motzei Shabbos. That's my point. I can deal with kids being upset that they don't get their way. This is my only kid who just doesn't accept no.


Okay... its tough. I think the adjective you are looking for is "difficult' not 'inflexible'.

Inflexible would have applied if you agreed to the cereal, but at a different time, or of a limited amount... and he didn't accept it. To be flexible you need to be offered some alternative arrangement which still in a limited capacity gets you what you want.

I'm not suggesting you needed to bend here.. I guess I'm just language police!
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tichellady









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 1:32 pm
I would not call him inflexible, I­t­ sounds like he is not such a rule follower. I’m not such a rule follower either so I’m having a hard time disagreeing with him on this one.
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Chayalle









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 1:42 pm
amother wrote:
Do you seriously not see any difference between a rule that we consistently enforce and a teenager not accepting no for an answer?

Also, did I write that we never break it? If a child was sick on Shabbos and could not eat it then, we would likely let him have it when he's better. But we are not going to break the rule because DH and I took him out for a birthday treat. If we would break it for things like that, we wouldn't have a rule. Shabbos cereal wouldn't be Shabbos cereal.


He did not have an opportunity to have his cereal this week. It's pretty reasonable for him to ask for a makeup. A birthday treat should have no baring on a once-a-week privilege that he loses out on because he goes to shul. And of course, saying he should've forgone the birthday treat for the cereal makes no sense.

In any case - welcome to the world of teenagers, the age at which rules are questioned and examined. You teen is way past the age where he will simply accept all house rules at face value and take no for an answer. I wish that for all teens, the issue would be as simple as Shabbos cereal.

Your son is going thru a normal teenage process where rules are being thought about and questioned, and his own future (and rules he will B"EH make, or choose not to make, when he is a parent) is being mapped out.

He doesn't sound inflexible. If anything, he's demonstrating his flexibility, and his value of it.
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perquacky









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 1:59 pm
He's a teenager and was just pushing your buttons. It'll probably keep happening. Get used to it.
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MagentaYenta









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 4:43 pm
Your son attempted to renegotiate a rule. You were too inflexible to compromise.

Just by reading your post I could see the need to review and reconsider the original rule. The young man doesn't get the cereal within your time frames. Flex a bit, be happy he's missing breakfast for a valid reason. I'd give all the schul going kids a pass and let them have their share of special cereal as a snack during the week at any point in time. (Ok so specify after meals if you want to. )

The point is have a conversation with him, LISTEN to what the child is saying. You automatically turned an opportunity to communicate and negotiate with him into a brick wall.
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imasinger









  


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 5:17 pm
I agree with the language distinction.

And would also agree with MY that he was attempting to renegotiate the rule rather than break it. He was not saying, "I can eat Shabbos cereal all the time." He was saying, "Through no fault of my own, I missed the window."

Sometimes, the answer to that is no.

My guess is that if this were the first time he pushed such a matter, you wouldn't have posted. But you are worried that this might be a bad habit.

It really is very age appropriate behavior. As a higher level thinker, he deserves a broader response than "because I said so." You might get farther by reminding him why the rule exists -- that Shabbos cereal is unhealthy, and even once a week might not be the best thing for him. Help him understand the difference between a right and a privilege. And remind him that next Shabbos is only 5 days away.

The shiurim I have attended on parenting teens stress these things -- reinforcing and reviewing your values regularly with them; praising them particularly in areas of challenge; gradually increasing the amount of responsibility you give them, while gently guiding them in thinking ahead.

In this particular situation, it would have helped if you had any inkling he would have chosen the cereal over the restaurant. I'm sure, had you been aware, you might have reminded him of the choice ahead of time.

In the future, maybe have him think through his cereal plans before candlelighting. Yes, it's a silly little thing, but thinking ahead is a lifelong skill, and this is a great way to build it.
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amother




Rose


Post  Mon, Nov 13 2017, 7:58 pm
I find it very interesting that you chose to use the word "inflexible", because as others have said, it seems like you were inflexible, not him. He was maybe Argumentative? Chutzpahdik? Non compliant? Or maybe even just Reasonable? Definitely not Inflexible. But that is the word you chose. I think you have great opportunity to learn a lesson about yourself here. Good luck.
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