When My Rule Following Son Keeps Ruining All My Fun (and my budget)

There really is such a thing as “honest to a fault," and my 12 year old is it. Like good old George Washington, the kid cannot tell a lie. I don’t dare ask him how I look in my new swimsuit. He will tell me. And I probably won’t like the answer.

He believes in order and routine and rules. He follows rules to the letter. I never have to worry about him getting into trouble. He doesn’t. This will serve him (and me) well as he grows up. I highly doubt he will touch a drop of alcohol until his 21st birthday. He will be one of the safest drivers on the road once he gets his license. Rules are good; they are usually for our safety. I am glad he follows them.

Having said that, however, there are some times when I wish that, just once, he could maybe bend a rule here or there. In fact, his adherence to every rule can really cramp my style.


1. Amusement Parks/ Zoos/ Waterparks

Yes, I know the sign says 12 and up cost an arm and a leg and 11 and under just cost a leg. Yes, I know you are 12, but your birthday was 2 days ago. I don’t have that many arms and legs. Can we just say you're 11?

Even if I try and be sneaky and buy tickets quietly “One adult and three children," he will hear me and will pipe up “No, I’m 12!” Really? You don’t hear me yelling at you to turn off Minecraft and get ready for bed but you can hear me whispering to the ticket seller at the noisiest place on earth? Awesome.


2. Movie Theaters

Taking a family of five to the movie theater requires us to take out a second mortgage. Because of this, I tried, one time, to stop at the grocery store on our way and buy some dollar boxes of candy to hide in my oversized mom bag to go with the tub of popcorn that costs as much as a small car. My son was aghast.

“Mom! You cannot bring that in here. Do you see the sign? “No outside food or drinks."

“I know, honey, but we are going to buy the popcorn here. The candy is just extra.”

When I passed the candy out to the family, he refused to take any. It was against the rules. I tried to explain to him that people bring food in all the time.

“If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”



3. Ballparks/ Stadiums

My family enjoys going to different baseball stadiums and sporting events, but we often end up with cheap tickets and seats in the nosebleed sections. Probably because we spent our annual salary at the movie theater. There have been times when it feels like, besides the cotton candy sellers, we are the only people in the stadium and so we might try move down to better, unoccupied seats.

My son, however, will not move. His ticket says “Row 3972, seat 4” and that is where he will be. It doesn’t matter if there are empty rows upon empty rows and we could sit court side. He will not budge.


4. Riding in the Car

What’s worse than a backseat driver? A backseat driver who is fixated on following rules.

“Mom! You are going 36. The speed limit is 35.”

“Mom! You just ran a yellow light! You are supposed to slow down.”

“You didn’t turn on your blinker! You have to turn on your blinker when you make a turn!”

“Dude, we are turning into our driveway.”

“Doesn’t matter! A turn is a turn!”

I know that I should be grateful that my son follows rules, and I am. I just wish that he could bend a few here and there when it would make our lives easier. For now, I’ll just appreciate his honesty and strong sense of right. And I will make sure not to ask him how my new haircut looks.