by Steve Clem on October 17, 2013

poutyboyI’m currently living in hell at home. My house is not in order, and it’s all because of my son. This is the current scenario in the Prisoner household:

I have a child who refuses to do his chores. He stopped about two weeks ago. Just gave up. But he still expects to get his allowance money for said chores.

Not only has he stopped doing his chores while still expecting his allowance, he also has requested that I stop spending money on all kinds of other expenses. He’s given me a list of the items he says I can spend my money on. They include:

  • Internet/cable
  • His cell phone bill
  • Food for him
  • Clothes for him
  • Video games for him

The kicker is, he also wants me to stop paying his brother’s allowance.

Oh, did I mention that my son also called the utility company to tell them to shut off the electricity — except in his room, so he can play XBox 360? Or that he also had both my cell phone and his brother’s turned off? He told me he’d call to get those turned back on as soon as I agreed to require less work from him.

He says that the agreement we made over three years ago is no longer valid. Even though we all three approved it, and upon consultation with their mother, she also concurred it was a fair and just arrangement. Mind you, he’s protested the agreed-upon rules vehemently during that time, at least twice a month.

In the old days, I could have taken my son, put him over my knee, and beat him into realizing that rules are rules. But this is a new age. I can’t do that anymore. I’d be locked up and the key would be thrown away.

My son does not respect my authority. Why? Probably because I’m not like the traditional father image he’s used to. I’m a single dad. I don’t even have a girlfriend. It’s just me. And as a non-traditional dad with a bit of a wacky side . . . well, it means he doesn’t take anything I do very seriously.

Make no mistake, I worked VERY hard to negotiate these rules/rewards with my kids. We sat down and decided how things would work in our home. Everyone was in agreement in the end. Maybe not with every little detail, but certainly with the overall plan.

I know most of my readers are parents, and you’re probably rolling your eyes at the lack of control I have. But you see, my son was smart. He played some behind-the-scenes games that essentially undermined not only my power, but also his brother’s.

Not only that, he’s also bad-mouthing me and his brother to his mom, to all his friends, to anyone who listens. And some of those people are actually believing his twisted story.

To counter his actions, I tried to punish him by locking him out of his computer. He then started a Twitter campaign with all his followers, telling them I was intentionally cutting his computer access to hurt his chances at further education. And because of that, now there are people criticizing my parenting skills. They’re actually suggesting that my kids should be taken away from me and that I should give up my parental rights.

I’m at a loss. The only thing I can ask is that each of you listen to both sides. Don’t just hear what he is telling you about me. I certainly don’t expect you to listen only to my side of the story — use your reason. Maybe the rules we set up three years ago are not good. Maybe they need to be fixed; maybe they don’t. But in the meantime, I’m going to continue to enforce them until we can get this house back to normal. I’m willing to be open-minded on this, but I’m not going to let my house go into total failure mode over it.

I’m sorry to burden you with my personal details, but I had to talk to someone. This is really bringing me down.

In fact, right now as I look out my window, I can see a large group of people gathered. They’re holding “Don’t Tread On Me” flags — I even see a Confederate flag out there. They have signs asking me to step down as a dad. They’re blaming me for this impasse — all because I’m trying to uphold the rules we all agreed upon in this house three years ago.

I just wish I weren’t the only head-of-household going through this situation right now. It’s not easy being in charge. Thanks for listening.

The Prisoner

PS: This story is complete fiction, unless you think my son is the US House of Representatives.

PPS: I’m not voting my son out of office. But you should.

* * * *

Steve Clem is a divorced dad, a recovering Republican, and a Prisoner in the Tundra. He is in The Guinness Book of World Records for being part of the largest Hokey Pokey of all time. He was the founding editor of the Iowa City weekly The ICON and is a contributing editor of The Spleen.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

lsah katherine October 19, 2013 at 8:24 am

Wow lol,love it such a good writer captivating how do u do it.


Steve Clem October 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Glad you enjoyed it, Leah.


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