Bad Mom Advice: Back-Talkin’ At Chores And I Get To Decide The Fate Of A Teen And Grand Theft Auto V

largeWelcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

How do I get my kid who is 10 to stop back talking about every single thing I ask her to do? If I ask her to clean her room, she smarts back. if I ask her to take out the trash. if I ask her to walk the dog. she will do things eventually but she smarts off and makes ugly faces and slams doors and I am going crazy. help me

Have you tried singing The Coasters to her at every possible moment?

You can basically solve any parenting conflict by singing Coaster’s songs to your kid, but if you aren’t ridiculous weirdos like my own spouse and I, you can try using simple logic. Kids your daughter’s age are just on the cusp of becoming super sucky for a few years. Puberty and pre-pubecence will make you long for the days of toddler tantrums. At her age, sometimes she just fights you on everything because she can. It may not even be an issue of her not wanting to pitch in or do her share of chores, but moreso because she has so many things she has to do in her own little reality that are non-negotiable, mainly school and homework, that fighting you on other things is her own way of asserting her independence. That doesn’t mean you should let her get away with back-talking, but sitting her down and talking to her, asking her what is going on in her life, explaining to her how every time you ask her to do something and being met with the lippy-lip is annoying the hell out of you, can go a long way towards stemming the ‘tude. Get her on your side. Explain how no one likes to take out the trash, but it’s just something that’s got to get done, like feeding her foods. Tell her that if she doesn’t stop the drama every time you ask her to do something, you will start removing privileges. I do hate to tell you this though, this is just a big ‘ol sign that things are about to get a lot worse. I am not sure how any of us, or our parents, made it out of puberty. I suggest buying a lot of vodka, for you, in advance.

Eve I read your column out loud to my husband and we laugh so much and he wants to get Grand Theft Auto  the new one to play with our sixteen year old and I told him that I don’t think it’s right for his age and then we agreed we would ask you and you get to decide! What do you think? I say no but my husband says yes, I think mainly because he wants the game and he thinks it’s ok because he will play with him. we love you!

Oh great, no pressure here. So either I get on your good side or your husband and kid’s bad side. Sheesh. Can we leave this up to the readers? Can they decide if your kid gets the game or not? I have played the GTA franchise, but not super-extensively. I know enough about the games to know you can beat up prostitutes, but you can pretty much beat up everyone. The games are super violent. My younger kids have never played them, my older one has. The games are rated for ages 17 and up. I think it’s a great thing your husband plans on playing with your kid, so he can discuss all the problematic elements of games like GTA. I’m pretty disappointed in advance because you still can’t play as a woman in the series. That being said, I really want GTA V. Badly. Like way badly. Like MY husband if you are reading this please get me the game on September 17. It looks amazing. The graphics look insane. Pam Grier is going to have her own radio station. You guys seem like good parents (because you said you love meeee) and I assume you probably talk to your son about violence in video games and how they can affect people and all of that good stuff, so I’m not too worried about it. Your husband plans on playing with him so I can foresee a whole mess of teachable moments. And even though I could easily endorse your husband wanting to take him outside and kick a ball around, I can only endorse getting your kid the game if he is mature enough and smart enough to understand the problematic elements of the game. I do think it’s great and awesome this is something your husband and kid can do together. So yeah, if he is a mature 16-year-old I say go for it. Make sure your husband is on board with discussing violence with him, and especially any misogyny in the game because I’m sure there will be a whole mess of it. And make them let you play too. Have fun! Happy video game killing!

Thursday, September 12th, I will be hosting my first ever LIVE Bad Mom Advice on our Mommyish Facebook page  from 12-1 p.p. EST! This means you can ask me questions live and I will answer them! This also means you actually must do this so I don’t feel stupid if no one asks me anything!

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    • Paul White

      If he’s 16, let him play! I grew up playing Doom, Quake, Civilization, etc and it didn’t warp me at all. Nope, perfectly normal.

    • Emmali Lucia

      I say no on the Grand Theft Auto game for your son. Mainly because I wasn’t allowed to get it until I was 18. Also because wasn’t that the game franchise that that one kid was playing right before he killed his grandmother? I know blaming violent video games for every crime committed is stupid but they DO make people more prone to violence.

      Instead of Grand Theft Auto my mother gave me Silent Hill 3. TALK ABOUT INSANE GRAPHICS. No misogyny. It’s the one Silent Hill that doesn’t have rape in it (At least I think it doesn’t. I never manage to get through video games) AND you get to play a smart strong beautiful woman.

      • Paul White

        That’s a weak reason to say no to a video game–that someone who did something bad played it? Might as well ban Catcher in the Rye…

        I’m all for vetting stuff for age appropriateness, but this is a 16 year old, not a 6 year old.

      • Eve Vawter

        UGH can I say I am so excited for new Salinger coming out?

      • Karen Milton

        You cannot.

      • Eve Vawter

        I did anyway!

      • Karen Milton

        Well, now you’ve gone and done it. I’m mad at you. We’re in a fight.

      • Emmali Lucia

        I agree. I didn’t mention the rampant misogyny that comes with beating hookers to death and stealing their cash after sleeping with them.

        I don’t know, I just don’t like Grand Theft Auto, I’m a little hippie girl though. Violent games in themselves aren’t too bad, but it’s when the violence is against animals or other human beings (So like, zombies and monsters and aliens don’t bother me too much) that it bothers me.

        Ultimately this woman knows her son better than any of us do, so she probably knows what’s best for him.

      • Eve Vawter

        Lawd, all the silent hill games were so scary. Pyramid head :(

      • Emmali Lucia

        I only play Silent Hill when I have a boyfriend, that way I can throw the controller at them, cover my eyes, and start going “LALALALALALALALALA” whenever one of the super freaky monsters comes out of the woodwork.

      • AmazingE

        That’s one thing I always really enjoyed about the Resident Evil franchise, not a lot of sex type stuff happening, and you almost always have the option of playing as a female character.

      • Muggle

        The child who killed his grandmother was 8. There’s a HUGE difference between 8 and 16.

        By 16 people know the difference between reality and video games, and they understand that violence is not a good thing. If the 16-year-old doesn’t have a record of violence or crime, I say let him.

      • Rachel Sea

        They don’t make people more prone to violence, they increase aggression. The difference is subtle, but important.

      • Jessie

        My good friend and I must be mutants then, because we play some of the most violent games out there and we’re still the most chill people you will ever meet. We don’t get angry or aggressive about anything, and we aren’t even on any drugs. We’re just really easygoing. =)

      • Rachel Sea

        It’s a statistical increase, it doesn’t apply equally to all individuals. Your increase in aggression might be negligible, in the moment of the game, or not at all, so that you are on the tiny front end of the bell curve. On the other end is people who have extreme reactions, and everyone else is somewhere in the middle.

    • Fabel

      I started playing GTA at around 16, & I’m not violent at all— I say it’s fine! (You may want to watch when he gets a driver’s license though ;) I mean, I’ve never had the urge to run down pedestrians, but sometimes I do wonder why I can’t just blast through red lights & drive on the opposite side of the freeway while purposely knocking over lamp posts.

      • Persistent Cat

        Whenever I’m stuck in traffic, I always think about what I could do if I were in GTA world.

    • allisonjayne

      I think it totally depends on the kid….some 16 year olds are really mature, some aren’t. Mature in the sense of being able to get why some of the stuff in the games is really problematic and ridiculous, y’know? Like for me it’s not about being able to see violence, it’s the understanding of what’s ok and what’s not ok.

    • Amanda

      Split the difference and get Saint’s Row 4 instead. The whole game is so out there ridiculous that it makes the violence seem so too. Kinda hard to recreate kicking a guy’s crotch into the ocean.

      • Eve Vawter

        I want this game for meeeee but do not want my 10 year old playing it :(

      • AmazingE

        So buy it anyway and play it in secret. That’s what i’d do.

      • Eve Vawter


      • AmazingE

        I would, gladly. No one who wants to play it should be denied the opportunity. It’s probably the most fun i’ve had with a game in at least five years.

      • Eve Vawter

        wow! Now I really really want it

      • AmazingE

        Do it. It’s totally worth it.

      • Rachel Sea

        That’s what early bedtimes are for.

    • Valeri Jones

      To the mom of the mouthy tween: I agree with taking away priveledges! Either she checks the ‘tude, or you do it for her. Nip that shit in the bud! (Coming from a stepmom of two extremely lippy teenagers who can’t get her husband on board to do anything about it.)

      GTA mom: Unless you can be sure your husband is explaining the problematic situations in the game as they play, then NO WAY!)

    • favour

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    • Persistent Cat

      I can’t WAIT for GTA 5 to come out!!!!!

      I think it depends on the 16 year old. If he’s generally been a good boy, no problems, fights at school, etc. I’d let him. Maybe Dad should prepare himself for some awkward conversations or know that when he (Dad) is pretending to not understand a filthy joke, his son is pretending too.

      If he’s a troublesome 16 year old, maybe he shouldn’t play it. But then Dad has to wait for his son to go to bed to play so that’s probably why he wants his son to play it.

      Yes, you can beat up hookers but as stated, you can beat up everyone. It’s crazy violent and I’ve played them all but I’m not a crazy violent person.

    • Karen Milton

      My son is 13 and in Grade 8 which is kind of an in between sort of age. Half the kids at school play it and the other half have parents who decided ‘oh HELL no’. I’m sort of a free range mom, if I had to label it (dye your hair fire engine red in Grade 1? Oh sure, why the fuck not), but I don’t know if I’m GTA-V free range. I’mma think about it.