Gosh, I'm feeling so sad today, I can't even put it into words.
I'm taking myself off to the movies this afternoon. It'll be the first time I see a movie of my own choosing in a couple of years, and the first actual break I get from either studying or parenting in months.
We've had a tough few days here at home. The older boys brought home very concerning reports at the end of last term. Despite the work we've done, and the tutoring at the school, the boys marks have steadily declined all year.
As well as this, there have been issues with helping around the house, following house rules, and making seemingly endless demands on our finances because they either have been irresponsible or simply have an expectation of a parent funded social life.
Bryn's school report was excellent but we've been dealing with behavioural issues from him this year as well.
And Ari, I barely know where to start. That child is doing my head in with hyperactivity and devil-may-care attitude.
So, a few days ago, after having to go in and take Erik and Lukas' laptops off them at 2.15am (after banning laptops in their room a week earlier and repeatedly having that ban ignored), I lost the plot. I wasn't able to sleep at all after that.
So, at 6am I woke them up, marched them out to the dining room table - and Bryn as well - and said, 'Enough is enough'. I told Bryn that I would pay his summer camp deposit on Monday, but if he was caught nicking food or money from us again, or if he complained about dinner or refused to eat anything again, he would not be going. Then I sent him back to bed.
For Erik and Luey, I told them I would be buying a lockable box for the devices, as they obviously could not be trusted. I said they would only have their laptops for doing homework at the dining room table and once that time for that had elapsed they'd be locked up again.
I told them they would no longer be taking the bus to and from school. No more 'shopper enterprise' for Erik (where he buys things for kids at school on his way to school, and takes commission for the service), no more hanging with friends at the shopping centre in the afternoons between bus connections. No more phones at all - as they don't seem to be able to keep track of them half the time and the other half of the time, they don't bother to answer their phones.
This means that after school, they have to hang out in the resource centre until we pick them up between 4-4.15pm.
I also told them I would be buying maths and english workbooks for them to use at home on days they did not have homework from school - this is because they constantly claim not to have homework, but then their grades at dropping because they don't hand in their homework.
I told them they would be having hair cuts that day. Short haircuts. They love their long, floppy, in their eyes, bad comb-over hair. I don't like that look at all. For years I've tolerated them keeping their hair like that out of respect for their individuality. Well, no more. If they cannot show their family or school any kind of respect, they cannot expect to be shown respect either.
I told them that every four weeks when their GPAs come out, I'll be checking. If the GPA has risen or stayed above 2.0 (which is only a pass level), they could keep their hair, and let it grow out. If the GPA had dropped or was below 2.0, then they would receive another haircut.
Finally, I told them that Erik would be moving in with Bryn and Ari would be moving in with Luey. This is to put a stop to night time carry on. Bryn goes to bed two hours before Erik and Ari two hours before Lukas, so it is unlikely either boy would have anyone to chat to or be silly with. Also, Erik really doesn't like Bryn (for no good reason that any of us can fathom). So he is unlikely to engage Bryn. However, it might actually give them an opportunity to learn to get along.
I told Erik that as he was not showing any sign of looking for part time work, I would no longer be financing any of his social life. No more movies, sleepovers, birthday parties, etc. If he wants those things he needs to get a job - so today he is missing out on movies with his friends.
Once I had finished, I sent Erik off to clean the toilet, bath and shower, and Luey off to clean the kitchen.
Yesterday was spent moving the rooms around, and engaged in heated discussion with Erik where he promised to do all the things I wanted if I let him go to the movies with his friends. I told him he's said all of this before, but not followed through so now he gets nothing until he shows me with his actions that he is serious. He has to walk the walk now.
Lukas seems to get it, though, and Bryn as well.
Ari? Well, he's a whole other kettle of fish.
So, today I'm tired. I feel sad because I hate having to be the enforcer. Erik said I was making everyone's life miserable, especially the Grumpy Old Man, and that I just needed to 'let it go'. Let it go? Let them fail high school? Let them spend all day playing computer games? Let them go out as often as they liked with their friends? Yes, apparently, this is how he'll parent...