Be specific when dealing with boys

November 27, 2013 

I learned early on that you have to be specific when raising boys. But obviously I keep forgetting my own lessons.

“Yes, you can bury the turtle” needs to include, “No, you can’t do an autopsy.” “Take out the garbage” should be expanded to “and don’t get in a fight with the neighbor kid.”

You can’t just say, “Do you homework” -- you need to say “Do you homework and use a pencil that you sharpen in the pencil sharpener in the garage, and when you are done put it in your book bag and turn it in tomorrow to your teacher.” Or you might get a crayon version complete with a patch of blood where he cut himself using his pocket knife as a sharpener and then stuffed the paper into his pocket before throwing it at a girl in the lunchroom.

Just telling them the basics to do or not to do something isn’t enough. You need to go into great detail to avoid them doing something stupid. Sort of like the “Warning: Hot Coffee will burn you.” As a parent you just can’t take anything for granted.

So when I recently asked Scotty to haul off some things from the attic, I guess what I should have said was “Take the boxes to Happy Hour and don’t pick up your friends and drive to Twiggs County and get stuck in the mud.”

But I didn’t, so he did.

When he hadn’t come back in an hour, I texted him. I knew something was going on when he didn’t reply -- since this is a child who can text in his sleep and thinks that anytime a girl texts him “hi” he has to answer back within 2 seconds.

When he still didn’t come home, I then went to an archaic form of communication -- I phoned him. I was informed that he was “off Highway 96” and would be home soon. Since I have seen a map and know the length of Ga. 96, I blame myself for not asking him if he was “off 96” in Houston County.

When the clock continued to tick and Scotty still failed to appear, his father got involved. It was at this point that we learned that when Scotty said he would be home soon, he meant as soon as his friend Jarrod arrived to haul him out of the mud his truck was stuck in.

Of course, instead of calling Scotty, we should have just been checking his Instagram page -- where he had already posted pictures of him and his friends standing by his truck stuck in the mud.

More than four hours after he left the house, he finally came home, amazed that we were upset.

His father took his truck away, which meant I also got punished since I had pick him up from school, then levied the ultimate punishment. He told him to go wash his truck, which was covered in mud. Scotty was hoping that when he was allowed to drive again, he could show off with his mud-covered truck.

My husband left him to it, but Scotty wasn’t the only one that learned a lesson that day.

“Wash your truck,” I started. “Get the soap, fill up a bucket, don’t aim the hose at the house or your brother.”

When I finally finished with my instructions, I decided it would have been easier to wash the truck myself than to give him directions.

If only I had realized that before I sent him off with the junk.

Contact Alline Kent at 478-396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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