Thursday, October 21, 2004

How to live with a 20 year old

Yes, I live with a 20 year old. I've mentioned my nephew before, but I don't think I've ever got around to saying why he lives with me.

He was born when I was 13 years old. As I was the youngest child in my family, I was incredibly excited to have a baby coming into the family. I had never really been around a baby before.

I took my job as the Aunt very seriously. No one else my age had a nephew, so I thought it was very cool to have a nephew.

Since our age gap isn't quite as large as most Aunt/Nephew relationships, I suppose we were probably more like brother and sister until I grew up. It turns out I had to grow up real fast for various reasons, and I spent a good majority of my time raising three children.

When the nephew got into high school he began to Rebel (notice the capital "R") big time, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that once my sister had a child old enough to watch the other two, she was gone. About the only person he would listen to was myself or my parents, and the former live 600 miles away which didn't do a whole hell of a lot of good.

He didn't do anything all that bad, but he was headed that way. I took matters into my own hands when he was arrested by the police for drinking when he was a senior.

Party's over kiddo, you are going to Aunt Kelly boot camp.

So he moved into my house when he was 17. Oh, it was a struggle at first, as he got used to an adult being around to watch his every move. Thankfully the kid has respect for me and didn't push things like he did with his Mother. He also realized he couldn't get away with anything, because as a former juvenile delinquent I knew his every move before he made it.

It is amazing the changes that can happen so fast once a kid has some discipline in their lives. His first report card he brought home had 4 C's on it. I told him he was grounded until his next report card. He looked at me in shock and asked why. "Because you are not allowed to be average," was my answer. Oh yes, he thought I was the anti-christ, but he didn't fight it. He was grounded for 6 weeks and received all A's and B's the next time around.

Grounded at Aunt Kelly boot camp means grounded. No video games. No phone. No TV. No nothing...and I was around to enforce it.

He's now working on a degree in Criminal Justice, and wants to be an FBI agent some day. Go figure, eh?

I have learned a lot by living with a 20 year old. MTV doesn't play videos anymore. People pierce their bodies in weird places. Mostly what I have learned is this generation of children...They are lost...

So many parents have spent the majority of their time being "friends" or working or just being so damn lazy that these children have no idea of discipline. I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that people can't or know better than to use corporal punishment. My parents didn't hit us. They did what they said and said what they did. Respect. It was all about respect.

My parents were my hero's growing up. Who are the hero's for this generation? Parents that were to lazy to follow up with any real kind of punishment? Parents that didn't spend any quality time with their children other then showing up at a random soccer game? Parents who were unavailable because they were to worried about their own lives?

No, their hero's are the reality stars and the celebrities and the people out there making a fast buck.

My sister has two other children. I have a niece that is 18 and a nephew that is 17. What do they both want for their high school graduation present?

To move into my house.

I think I'm going to need a bigger house....

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