Summertime freedom....or anarchy???? Only time will tell.
So yesterday was the last school day for the 2013-2014 school year here in Southeastern Virginia, and as of today summer vacation commences. A few summers ago was my first summer home with the boys and I was very rigid about their schedule. I made them get up by 9 am, and they had to go outside and "play" for at least an hour every day, and they had to be in bed by 11:00 pm so they could get enough sleep. I had time limits on electronics, and made them read each day.
That was three years ago.
Last summer I let them sleep, didn't make them "play" outside, still had their bedtime at 11:00 pm, and gave them time limits on electronics. I was taking college classes, and had limited time to monitor them, so what started out regimented soon fell apart and media anarchy ensued.
So, THIS summer I am going to try a new approach. I am going to just let things happen as they happen. Not be so regimented, not give them limitations on electronics. Loosen up the bedtime. (a little).
EGADS!!! I can hear you all gasping with the thought of my kids running around like wild banshees and having so much freedom!!! Well, let me give you some more information and maybe it can clear up those gasps of concern and ward off any possible fainting spells.
My oldest son (Joe Cool) is 17. He has a part time job at a local Starbucks (which he loves because he has an awesome manager and co-workers, and I love because I get to use his "partner" discount for my coffee if he is with me). He will be increasing his hours over the summer, so that will keep him occupied some. He has a vehicle. A vehicle he bought with saved up child support (thanks to his dad!!). He pays for his gasoline, auto maintenance and insurance. (Hence the job). So far I have not CAUGHT him lying to me about where he is, who he is with and what he is doing. That is NOT to say that he hasn't lied, however, I have not yet caught him in a lie, so while I do have common sense parental suspicion, so far he has been trustworthy. With these thoughts in mind, I am of the opinion that he can spread his wings (a bit).
He will be a high school graduate next summer, so this is my last opportunity (before he turns into the "I am 18 now mom, and can do what I want" monster) to give him some freedom while I still have a modicum of control. He has also been told by me that he will be honing his bank account management skills, and cooking more to increase his "soon to be on his own" skills. (He will probably be attending Community College and living at home for a couple of years, but he will eventually fly the nest).
The younger son (The Genius) will be 15 in less than a month. He is an honor roll student, and to be honest is the easiest of the 4 children that have grown up in this house. He sometimes can be a bit sassy, but he listens, he complies, and to be honest I can relax a bit with him because he has been so easy to parent. Granted we have had our struggles, (he is ADHD and has had impulse control issues), however, as his brain and personality have matured, those impulse control issues have pretty much resolved, (except for the occasional going too far with sass). He is an honor roll student and I never have to remind him to do his school work. (trust me, THAT is a big deal in this house). His social life mainly consists of playing Mine Craft online with his friends, and occasionally going to a friends house or the movies.
So the summertime limits this summer will be lessened and I am hoping it will make for less stress for them and for me. Them because they have more freedom, and me because I will have less monitoring (aka bitching) to do.
I am not going to take college classes this summer, and hope that I can actually spend some time with my kids doing some fun things like going to Busch Gardens, or the beach, or camping, or maybe taking in a movie. These are wishes for me because to be honest there is no guarantee the oldest will even want to "hang" with mom too much. I am sure he will indulge me a bit on those days he is feeling loving towards his mama, but I know his friends will probably be higher on his priority list. (sigh...the problems of being a mother to an almost growed up kid).
They will have school projects to do that will be due the first week of school next year, and The Genius has decided to enroll in a Dual Enrollment Program so he will be taking some college classes this summer (a whole other story), and they will be working on learning how to budget and manage a check register (mom's rule). But other than that I am hoping to have a summer filled with relaxation and fun! (Wish me luck)!!