Saturday, April 28, 2012

Modern Door-fare: Call of (Parental) Duty

I’m trying to recall the Greek comedy tragedy about the child who had a messy room and was doomed to low SAT scores as a result – the issue of room cleanliness seems eternal. “Aeschylus pick up your Battle of Salamis Legos™. Otherwise I will throw them in the Aegean Sea!”

The Greek element in all this is the gripping moral choices I am confronted with where a myriad of forces seemingly mock and thwart my every move.

The messy room.
Our 10-year-old daughter has a very messy room, and even to mention it is to bring on a meltdown. I had to mention it as we were hosting a brunch Sunday and wanted the house clean. I told her on Tuesday we needed a clean room. “We’re having people over this weekend. You don’t have to start now, but you need to begin to think about cleaning your room. You can watch your show tonight, but starting tomorrow no TV until your room is clean”

The glowering started almost immediately, and she stormed away from the dinner table and began a campaign of door slamming. After about the third slam my wife confronted her, “If you slam the door once more, you’ll lose your door privileges, which means the door to your room will be removed.”

I groaned, for although I am hopeless as a handyman, my wife is worse. I at least know the proper names of the tools, if not much else. Luckily for us at that moment the door slamming stopped.

The door.
The next night, the kid didn’t like dinner and again stormed away from the table, haughty and glaring. Angry, I disabled the router (she has an iPad) and a new round of door slamming began.

But here’s the rub: when we don’t get compliance with room cleaning we gradually reduce privileges – this takes about a week. It was now Wednesday. Usually until the room is clean we shut the door and ignore the problem. But if she lost her door privileges then we would be undone by all our friends being able to see we had lost control completely as parents.

Should the door remain? No door and Portdaddia and Mrs. Portdaddia would be derided (again!) as incompetent parents. If the door remained our child would see us forever as indecisive pushovers.

Perhaps a good soliloquy will come out of this.

I’m wondering if I will be angry or happy if the daughter figures out how to hack the router setting.

  • Thanks Julie for cluing me in to the Japanese Teppanyaki subculture – I hope one day to wear the paper-mache head
  • Dad pointed out that Michel Landon’s real name was Eugene Maurice Orowitz
  • Thanks for tuning in – since starting Tuesday over 200 people have visited Portdaddia!

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