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And now for the bad news

By Robin Dearing
"Well, at least it makes me feel better," Lynn replied as Bill and I told her of our parenting woes over several bowls of soup* Friday. Both our kids have been ... well, just not acting right and it's really getting me down. My 16-year-old stepson's story is so frustrating and sad that I always end up just shaking my fist in the air and crying, "Teenagers!" in a disgusted voice. Plus, it's really not my story to tell, so I'll just focus on Margaret. Margaret ... my 6-year-old little darling. She brought home two notes, on two consecutive days last week about talking back to her teacher. Talking back to her teacher! Gah! What kind of parent am I? I am mortified by this. Her teacher is an earnest, hard-working and dedicated woman whom Margaret has always liked. And I feel like an ostrich parent saying, "I have no idea where this behavior comes from." But really, I am surprised. Oh, that's not to say she isn't more lippy at home than I'd prefer, but she seemed to act right (mostly) at school. Not anymore. And we're not really sure what to do about it. We "grounded" her for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday with exceptions being that she got to go to Powdercats (because I prepaid good money for that and, bad behavior or not, she was going) meaning that she couldn't watch TV or play with her friends. We spent extra time doing homework and practicing the piano. But I'm not really sure that it did any good. Saturday evening as Bill and I watched some television, Margaret came out of her room and without a hint of sarcasm stated, "I thought I was going to hate being grounded, but I'm finding much better things to do than sit around watching TV." Yeah, how do you respond to that? I always end up blaming Margaret's bad behavior on Bill, because I never got in trouble at school. But then I remember that this isn't about me. It's about Margaret and then my head starts hurting. I think I'm going to stock up on extra-strength Excedrin. *Our office held a soup potluck Friday. I was amazed at the variety of soups that were brought in. We have a lot of good cooks who work at the Sentinel. Bill was invited to the office potluck because he's the one who actually makes the food I bring to potlucks.