3 Men and a Little Crazy

Remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a nice, normal family.

Siblings and Their Differences

As you all know, I am a very proud mom to two boys, ages 14 and 8.

When you become a mother for the first time and you are lucky enough to have an easygoing, well-behaved, well-mannered child, you tend to think that it will always be that easy – with that child and any future children that you may have. Of course, those of you that have more than one child know that is usually not the case. Kids grow up and their personalities change – the old theory of nature vs. nurture comes into play, and dependent on what traits they seem to be born with and what traits seem to develop as a result of what they’ve experienced upon getting older, you see a great change from a baby’s personality to that of a young child’s to that of a teenager, and so on.

I have two great boys who tend to be alike in certain ways – they are both sensitive and caring, empathetic towards others, and have always easily been able to entertain themselves. They tend to stay away from each other for the most part – partly because of their difference in age, but mostly because they have their own interests. However, as they both grow older, I am starting to see the vast differences in their personalities. Brennan is becoming a young man and is starting to question the meaning of life, faith/belief in religion and our government, and is scared of death. With this brings strong will, and lots of questions and debates…about everything. Brennan has always paid attention to his surroundings and figures things out quickly. Kelsey and I (as well as any other adults we were around) have always had to be careful about what we spoke about around Brennan since he was very young. He had no idea that I was stealing as much as I was when I was going through that period (because I went to great lengths to conceal it from everyone around me), but looking back, he can tell you that he remembers when I was addicted to Rx medication and how often I would go to jail. Of course, this is heartbreaking to know, and I thank God that he forgives me. I often worry how much I’ve shaped his personality through these bad experiences.
Caden, however, tends to be more oblivious to what’s going on around him. He definitely remembers me going to jail, but that’s all. To him, it doesn’t seem like I was even gone for that long. Caden is just now starting to pay attention to what’s going on around him – he tends to pay attention more when I’m speaking to his brother. He also seems to be less confrontational and more logical – willing to accept the “big picture” of things and others’ points of view.

Both boys have daily chores that they are responsible for and both get an allowance. Yesterday, Caden accidentally mentioned (in front of Brennan) that he was getting a video game that he wanted soon – for half of what it was worth.
Sometimes when the boys ask for things that cost more than what they have saved up, Kelsey and I will buy it – basically “fronting” them money from their allowance – which they then work off. Although I have done this for Brennan, the truth is that I don’t do this near as often for him than I do for Caden – for a few reasons. One reason is that Brennan is older and held to a higher standard than Caden when it comes to chores. His chores are harder than Caden’s (both boys’ chores are age-appropriate), and he makes $10 more a week for doing them. Caden will do his chores as soon as he’s asked without any argument. It’s always been this way (a sidenote – he began doing chores about 2 months before Brennan did). This is not the case with Brennan. I usually have to ask him multiple times to do his chores, although it’s been explained to him that he’s supposed to do them as soon as he’s asked.
I digress – back to the story.
So Brennan finds out about this information and feels as if he’s been treated unfairly. I tell him later that although Caden is getting his game early, he will have to work to pay the remaining amount off before he can use his allowance on anything else. He seemed to feel better knowing that, but was still upset. He stated that he had come downstairs to do his daily chores but didn’t want to upon finding out about that information. Then, he began arguing with me about how “his friends are so much better off than he is” (an argument he uses often). He argued with me so relentlessly that I finally told him that he was released from his chores from that point forward and that if he wanted anything in the future, he’d have to do chores to work it off – no more freebies.
Later on that night, Caden came to me and said, “Mom, I think that from now on, when I want something, I will pay it off first instead of getting it and then working to pay it off.” I immediately asked him, “Caden, did Brennan ask you to say that?” He said no. I attempted to explain to him why we have been doing things the way that we have. Like always, he listens to the “big picture”, and immediately begins saying, “Yeah, you’re right.” I often wonder if he will always be this passive or if he will change, like Brennan has.

We don’t ever have to worry about having to argue with Caden about anything other than taking a bath. With Brennan, it always seems to be a given, no matter the situation. 😒

I know Brennan will want his chores back – he did not want to give them up in the first place. I took them from him because he argued with me relentlessly about them and I want him to see that having them is a privilege.

That all being said, I’m still very proud of my boys and I celebrate their differences – I am very interested to see if/when the personality changes they have now will be permanent or change yet again.

Curious as to whether the “my friends have it so much better than me” teen argument is as common as I believe it to be. Any of you parents have that thrown in your face yet…? 😄

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
3 Men and a Little Crazy

Remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a nice, normal family.

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