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dystopia at home

Our young teenage daughter is driving us crazy. We don’t think we ask her to do too much, but lately she’s just been blowing off some simple household chores we’ve asked her to perform. Straighten up her room. Hang her clothes up. Put her bike away. Last week, after much begging, we let her go to a friend’s house for a sleepover even though she hadn’t done a few things she’d promised to do. Then, she turned her phone off! There was no emergency, but it’s a rule we have. Keep your phone on just in case we have to contact you.

Next day she apologized up and down, but we were upset so we took her phone away and grounded her for a week. This weekend, she’s supposed to help us do a bunch of spring cleaning around the house. No friends over.

What we forgot is that The Hunger Games opens this weekend. She’s read all the books, and a group of her friends are all going to see it after school on Friday. They’ve been looking forward to it for months, and haven’t been so excited about a film since the last Twilight movie came out.

Despite what I’ve said, she really is a great kid. Gets good grades, etc. But this is the thing...when there are no consequences, she pushes boundaries. She’s pretty much been an angel all week. Now my wife and I want to know—do we let her go to the movie, or stick by our original punishment?

The PUs

The Omniscient One says: You could take the time to give her a long explanation of how makers of the Hunger Games have engaged in an extraordinarily successful yearlong-plus strategy of leaking thousands of little teasers on twitter, facebook, and all sorts of other social networking sites favored by teenagers to build up this huge excitement over the film (even before it was finished being edited), and how this is a perfect example of corporate manipulation aimed at capturing the Harry Potter/Twilight billion dollar payday. But she probably won’t give a shit. So you should just go see the movie with her, provided she wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with you.

The Practical Cogitator says: Eh, I’m thinking she’s going to have to turn her cell phone off in the movie theater. Then, seems like she might just forget to turn it back on while she and her friends walk around the mall for a while. After they have dinner at some chain restaurant and she needs a ride home, she might remember to turn it on. By that time, you’re going to be so frustrated that you might have an accident while driving to collect her.

If the child is grounded for an infraction last week, and you lift the punishment because Hollywood has released a blockbuster movie, then it seems like entertainment is more valuable to your family than responsibility. That’s not a life lesson I remember learning.

What I do know is that The Hunger Games will be in theaters for a long time. After her grounding period is over, and all her chores have been completed and the spring cleaning has been accomplished, for which you might toss her a few bucks, (perhaps just enough to cover her ticket and some popcorn), she will really enjoy relaxing in the theater and finally seeing this blockbuster. In fact, if her friends are anything like the teenagers I know, they will probably even find it in their hearts to see it a second time with her.

Strictly Classified says:Stick with it. After all, you did say that “when there are no consequences, she pushes boundaries.” If you are feeling wracked with guilt, make sure that your daughter (and perhaps one or two of her friends) are able to see the movie next weekend.

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