Ashley’s Attitude

Of my three kids, Ashley (my 13-year-old) is the one that has turned out the most like me. She’s actually a very good kid compared to what I was at her age, but she reeks of my adolescent attitude and sarcasm.

I have to share you an “essay” I made her write when I busted her on Christmas Eve. I don’t need to tell you many of the details– Ashley provides all of them in her paper (dripping with sarcasm!) The skinny of the situation was, she didn’t want to dress up for the Christmas Eve service, and we told her to. She ended up getting assigned “a chore” (when my kids smart-off or argue, I assign them an extra “chore” as punishment), and eventually the ultimate bad punishment in my house– having to write a paper. When my kids get in big trouble, I assign them an essay. (I’m a slave-driver!)

Here’s Ashley’s paper. She opted to write it as a fictional narrative. I think it pretty well sums it all up.

“Abbey, go put on your dress for the service.” Mrs. Flop yelled.
“Okay mom!” Abbey replied.
She began to pull on her ugly sweater-dress and black tights. She hated having to dress up. When she was finished, Abbey walked downstairs.
“Oh Abbey, you look just gorgeous!” her mom exclaimed.
“Gee, thanks.” Abbey sarcastically replied, staring at her uncomfortable and ugly outfit in the mirror.
“And don’t forget, you can’t take it off at all, even when you get home from the service. I want you to look nice on Christmas!” her mom said.
“What?!” Abbey yelled, “This is the most uncomfortable, ugly, stupid outfit in the world!”
Abbey’s dad poked his head in the room and said, “That’s a chore young lady!”
Abbey wanted to scream. Never before had her parents made her do this. It was so dumb.
Just then, Abbey’s brother Alex strutted in the door wearing jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and converse; an outfit that he wore to school all the time. “Oh Alex, you look handsome!” her parents said.
“Oh my gosh!” Abbey yelled, “Why does he get to wear that?”
Abbey’s dad turned his head toward her, “Not another word from you! And that’s another chore!” Abbey walked upstairs to her room and closed the door. (Ashley emphasized closed in bold and underline)
“Abby. Come downstairs right now! Her dad yelled “You are going to write a paper on your attitude!” I’ve told you a million times not to slam your door!”
Abbey exclaimed, “But I didn’t even slam my door!”
“Yes, you did. Now go write that paper!” he retorted quickly.
Abbey marched into her room and closed her door silently.
Was Abbey right for mouthing off to her parents? Of course not: she should have respectfully argued with her mom about why she really didn’t want to have to wear that uncomfortable outfit all night long. Around Christmas time (actually, all the time), children like Abbey should not be mad at their parents for making them wear their outfits all right; no matter how uncomfortable they are. Children need to remember that dressing up is a way of respecting Jesus. And around Christmas, respecting and rejoicing in the birth of their Lord and savior. Also, kids need to respect their parent’s decisions because they are in charge and they know what is best for them. So no matter how frustrated Abbey was, she should have respected her parents and been a loving and good child.

Classic!

Yes… Ashley would agree that my upcoming parenting book is appropriately titled, “Candid Confessions of an IMPERFECT Parent.”

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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