When I was growing up I had a very strict mother. We called her Little Hitler. I sent her birthday cards on Hitler's birthday. I gave her a pin that looked like a swastica. She was reeeeeaaaallllllyyyy strict. But I admired her when I got older. It takes a lot of patience and intestinal fortitude to be so strict.
Now that I have kids of my own, I "get" it even more. I think that kids respect rules even if they act like they don't like them. I have rules...a few. I tried to come up with a chore chart so my kids would somewhat be a contributing member of the household society but the chore chart was quickly forgotten when something better came up. I had chores as a kid. I can't remember what they were but I'm sure I had them.The chores I give my kids are easy. Stuff like vacuum or dust or pick up around the house. Nothing hard.
Manchild has never had kids before marrying me (nor has he been married) so he doesn't know that it takes about a million reminders to kids before they do what they're supposed to do. He gets really bent out of shape when my kids don't do what he tells them to do. Recently, he gave my youngest kidlet a list of things to do and she made the fatal mistake of not doing one of them. She did the other three things he told her to do but not the last one. That really set him off and he grounded her. He neglected to tell me that he had done so, so I made plans with her to do something without knowing that he told her she couldn't do it.
I'm faced with a dilemma. I don't know whether to respect his wishes (because to me, it was far fetched), or whether to go ahead and take her to do what we had planned - which is something I wanted to do by the way. I agree that she should quit being a bubblehead and do what's asked of her but I also know that 12-13 year old kids are airheads. It's hard for them to stay on track. It's a phase.
I ended up taking her but only after she and the Man hashed things out. She told him that she had done everything on her list but the one thing he yelled at her about. She also pointed out that while she had a weekly list of things to do, she never saw him help out around the house. I gave a silent cheer because it's true - I waited one year for him to help me do something. He never got around to it so I ended up doing it myself. Yes, she was a bit sassy pointing out that fact but I thought it was a good observation.
Long story short, Manchild admitted that he didn't want to get her in trouble, that he lost his temper with her. I told him that until he had a child that he had raised from day one, he wouldn't understand how it is. Since he's been a step-dad for a whopping 3 years, he's got a learning curve for sure. I'm just glad that my kidlet is easy going and is willing to help me train him. I don't know if I'm a sap - I probably am but I figure 3 out of 4 isn't bad for a bubblehead. She'll get her wits about her eventually and I'm sure she'll clear her lists with no problem.