Time management

It has been a frustrating couple of days with D. It all started well, with my husband and I chatting about my tendency to avoid conflict (i.e., be a door mat). Looking back in my "past" life I can see it clearly, but it rears it's ugly head now in ways that I don't notice. For instance, when D does something disrespectful I tend to let it go. Or do something like give him a dirty look and say "that was disrespectful". Well, hello! I just need to jump all over him and punish him. Because honestly, he does it almost every day. And there is a time for forgiving, and a time for punishing. And the time for punishing is now, man. That might sound rather cold, and I don't mean for it to...but so far he has not changed his behavior, at least not in the long term. So I need to do better to help him remember.

So yesterday he did something rude, I called him on it, and then he LAUGHED AT ME. Oh man, nothing quite gets under your skin like being laughed at when you are totally serious and irritated. So I sent him to his room. Normally I would have given him the benefit of the doubt...like maybe he was laughing at his brothers, or something, even though I was pretty sure he was laughing at me. 10 minutes later he asked if he could come out and I said "No, you are in time out!" Honestly, I needed the time to gather myself. Is that bad? Then like 10 minutes after that he asked again if he could come out and I told him he could, if he was ready to apologize. SO he came out and said "Sorry for being disrespectful!" So we talked about it for a little bit and he was able to recognize what he did wrong. And he did seem sorry. So that's good, right?

Well then I picked him up from football practice from the visit last night. Long story short, I didn't have everything he needed. It was not my fault, because some of the stuff was in a vehicle that I was not driving, and I thought that I had everything I needed. Well he was super mad. Basically he was mad because he didn't have his cleats, which I (read that? IIIIIIII) just bought them for him on Friday. I'd also like to point out at this point that the reason he didn't get them a month ago was because his mom said she was going to get him some...and she didn't...and she didn't...and then his uncle was going to get him some...but he didn't....so finally we just got him some. So anyway, he was super mad at me for forgetting his cleats (even though it wasn't my fault). Then I had to sit around at the visit for 20 minutes while he took his sweet time getting ready. Did I mention there were 4 aunts, at least 4 children besides the 3 boys, plus bio mom all there during this time? Can you say uncomfortable?

Then when we got home instead of doing his homework and chores he took his sweet, sweet time moseying around and going as slowly as possible until I kind of freaked out on him and told him he needed to get everything done and still be in bed at his bed time.

Then this morning he had to get his football stuff together, correct math homework, plus get ready for school...and instead of getting out of bed at 6:45, which he admitted he was awake at that time, he decided to try to go back to sleep. We didn't leave the house until 7:30, and he proceeded to blame my husband for the fact that we were running late. Then he blamed me and also the little boys (?????). And he said emphatically it was NOT HIS FAULT. Then he was rude to me. And I grounded him. And I was kind enough to drop him off RIGHT in front of school, and we managed to get him there 5 minutes before school started so I told him he better not be late!

So anyway, we are having some time management issues. I know it's difficult for him because his mom can't help him with his homework, and he has football practice right after his visit. But honestly, whether he would go to football practice or stay at the visit he still would get home at the same time, (visit ends at 7:15, practice ends at 7:00) so him blaming it on anything besides himself is not gonna fly.

I don't know how to teach personal responsibility to a 12 year old. And I don't know how to teach time management. I feel like we are almost micro-managing him. I am not sure if this is normal or not. I feel like he's old enough to get ready for the day by himself and to know what all he needs to do to get ready for the day...but maybe he isn't. Maybe he's just not mature enough yet? I just don't know.

Just yet another sign that we suck as parents to 12 year olds. If these kids go home our new cut-off age is going to be like 7 or 8 and we will be firm with it, at least until we get some more experience!


  1. Let me preface this by acknowledging I have zero experience with 12yo boys, even so I would highly recommend the book "parenting with love & logic". I have it if you'd like to borrow it.

  2. I have tried to borrow it from the library but it is always checked out when I go! So I would love to borrow it from you! The foster care people offer a class on it as well, but it is a huge commitment - like 2 hours a week for 8 weeks, usually from 7 to 9 or 6 to 8 during the week, and I haven't been able to find a way to get the kids watched so we can do it.

  3. We have 3 foster kids. A 12 yr old boy, a 10 yr old girl, and a 8 yr old boy. We got them right after we were certified in December and it's been crazy ever since. I also think that the 12 (or even the 10 and 8 yr old) should have some personal responsiblity with getting ready and keeping up with their things. I do realize that maybe they haven't been taught these skills in life, but oh my goodness is it aggrivating! Our kids also try to do things slowly and mosey around, because they have used this tactic to get out of doing things at other homes before. Not here! LOL They have to complete the chore before they can go to bed. I would like to think that they are coming around, but I couldn't be that lucky!

  4. Well I'm glad I'm not the only one struggling with these issues! :) I think we are going to try giving him an estimate of how long it will take to do each chore (i.e., 1 minute to take out the trash, 1 minute to put the trash can on the curb, etc.) and then provide him with a daily total of minutes it should take to do his chores. Then reward him when he gets it done in time, and possibly punish when he doesn't. Just to show him how much more time he could have if he could just get everything done and move on with his life! And also I am going to make him a more explicit chore list which will include things like "get your football stuff together", "Put your pads in your football pants", etc. I don't know if it will help or not but we gotta try something!

  5. Oh and I'm also thinking of having HIM come up with some of the times for the chores, and/or a daily list of things he needs to accomplish...maybe it will help him to actually do it and give him some list-writing skills. Personally, I rely on lists almost every single day to get the things done that I need to get done, so maybe he can utilize them to help himself too.

  6. Well, having taught middle school for 21 years--none of this sounds new to me. You are right that it is important to get on him when he is rude or disrespectful. However, the most important thing (IMHOP) is to be consistent with discipline. You grew up in my house, you know I'm no expert in that. It is really hard to do. There is no such thing as reasonable logic to a 12 year-old!


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