We Are Both Right

Why My Son Will Never Forget His Homework Again


When it comes to my tween son and girls, the phone is my friend -- for now. ©amab7/stock.xchng

My 11-year-old son, C., is mad at me but I don’t care. He made a mistake (twice) and I came up with what I thought was a suitable punishment and now he’s ticked.

I made him call a girl.


For the second day in a row, C. forgot to bring home his vocabulary words to study. A test was announced for Friday on Wednesday. When he came home Wednesday afternoon and realized he didn’t bring home his Reading/Language Arts notebook, I drove him back up to school so he could retrieve it and review them. When he did the same thing on Thursday, I wasn’t so charitable.

“You’ll have to call one of your friends and get the words and definitions,” I told him. There are two boys in this particular class that he is friendly with. The problem was, we didn’t have either of their numbers. The number I did have was for a girl from his religion class. A girl he’s known since kindergarten. A sweet (pretty), smart girl who I knew would not only have the words at home but would have the entire list of them and their complete definitions (and undoubtedly, written neatly).

Now this is 2011. I could have easily looked up the phone number of either of his two buddies on the Internet, and C.’s task of recovering his studying materials would have been both simple and embarrassment-free. But C. tends to be forgetful and scattered (admittedly like his mother) and we are only six weeks into the new school year. I didn’t want him to ever forget his notebook again. So I opted to send him down the path of most resistance. The path that was going to make him squirm.

Like I said before, hee. That her father answered the phone made it all the better.

The thing is, although this girl is his friend, C.’s at a funny age. He’s definitely a tween in middle school. He knows girls exist in “that” way and I know that some of his peers are already “dating” (he confirmed this for me, plus, I used to watch Degrassi Junior High so I totally know the score. Zit Remedy 4eva!) For now though, he and his group of (all boy) friends have zero interest — or at least less than ten percent interest — in spending any of their free time with someone who doesn’t want to make movies of themselves acting out in funny skits (their obsession of the moment) or play or view a sport of some kind. So for now anyway, we are girl-free.

That he was annoyed and that he did well on the test confirms to me that my “punishment” was a good one. For now. I suspect in three years my scheming will involve me trying to get him to put the phone down (and losing that girl’s number).