Day one of Mickey’s adulting was a moderate success. I had him sign a contract and laid down some ground rules for his attempt at adulthood, because no matter how grown he thinks he is, he is still a 9 year old and can’t actually be an adult. The contract gave Mickey the responsibility for the following:
Mickey will have his own food and will be responsible for packing his breakfast and lunch for school.
Mickey will take responsibility for his own homework and hanging his backpack in the appropriate place – if he does, I will sign the agenda that he has to have signed to earn his school currency. If not, I will not sign (I already advised his teacher)
Mickey will take responsibility for his own belongings and I will no longer be helping to find his shoes/pen/stuffed animal, etc.
Mickey will be responsibile for putting away his laundry and bringing it down to be washed (he asked that I add that he would like to also wash his own clothes, so I amended the contract).
He must stay in the house – he may not leave without permission
He must stay upstairs or downstairs, but not on the main level of the house. That is where Minnie and I will be doing family activities or watching tv, and since he wants to be left alone and not be encumbered by the respectful behavior expected of him, he will need to be alone.
He may eat dinner with us, assuming that he is respectful. If not, he will need to prepare his own meal and eat alone after we finish.
There will be no swimming or t.v., as I pay for those. I also took back my ipod that the has been using.
He must shower, take his meds, brush his teeth and go to school.
I will no longer be driving him to Boy Scouts or Dance classes.
If he violates these rules, I will begin removing stuff from his room, because I paid for those items and since he doesn’t want help or things provided for him, they belong to me and are being used because I choose to let him.
When he is ready to rejoin family activities and extra curricular activities, he will need to finish the consequences given to him previously.
He signed and night one was a moderate success. He did not do his homework, but he did hang up his backpack. He was not amused that I had removed the cable boxes from the upstairs and basement t.v.s, thus thwarting his plan to sneak television. He doesn’t like to be alone, and kept trying to come back up and see what Minnie and I were doing. That will be the downfall of his plan, I suspect. But, we had the most peaceful night we have had in 11 days. No yelling, no arguing. I pointed to the contract every time he came up. He took his meds and went to bed 30 minutes early. He got himself dressed for school this morning (in an outfit I would have never paired, but it was clean). He thinks this will be awesome. Let’s see how it goes when he is behind on his first boy scout badge because he missed the first den meeting or misses his beloved hip hop class this afternoon.
In a lot of ways, adulting kind of sucks. But, he will have to figure that out for himself. Adults have consequences too, and the fact that he is 9 and has no source of income, no transportation and no money to pay for cable tv or books or fun treats and snacks, isn’t going to be fun. His favorite thing in the world is going out to eat, and he can’t do that either. Maybe he will gain some independence, maybe tonight will see the epic meltdown I expected yesterday, maybe he will make it through the holiday weekend before it gets to him. Who knows? His therapist and teacher are on board, so I figure it can’t hurt to try.