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  • For the benefit of readers who happen to be parents of teenage children, I offer a document that may prove useful in dealing with said offspring. Please feel free to copy and adapt its text to suit your particular circumstances. Note: I am not a lawyer or union official and disclaim all responsibility for adverse consequences of use of this document.


    Beginning immediately and until further notice or successfully completing negotiations, the individual in the ___________ household (“The Family”) known as ____________ (“Baba”) will henceforth cease communications and cooperation with the member of the household known as _____________ (“Teen”) except for those acts deemed necessary for contract negotiations and to fulfill Baba’s standing obligations to The Family.

    In plainer words, Baba is On Strike until he feels assured that his grievances are being addressed.

    Pending resolution, Labor actions to be taken by Baba may include but are not limited to ignoring requests, withholding requested funds, glaring and eye-rolling, sleeping in, and other forms of non-cooperation.

    Negotiations between Baba and Teen to determine a working relationship shall begin within 48 hours of this notice and shall take place in the presence of a Recording Secretary. Negotiations shall only end when accord is reached on each of the following eight points that address Baba’s grievances:

    1. When spoken to by a member of The Family, Teen shall obscure the screen of his/her cell phone to directly verbally respond, and vice versa.
    2. When asked a question by a member of The Family, Teen shall endeavor to make a complete and civil answer to the question that was asked, and vice versa.
    3. When requested by a family member to set up a meeting or task or to fulfill an obligation, Teen shall comply without protest or undo delay.
    4. Teen shall pledge to care for The Family Pets on a daily basis. These obligations include refreshing dry food and water each morning, dispensing wet food each evening, and disposing of accumulated excrement as needed.
    5. Teen’s living space and belongings shall be kept clean and in good order, and as hair-free as possible.
    6. When away from home, Teen shall notify The Family by telephone or text each time Teen makes plans to change location. Notifications shall specify Teen’s current and proposed locations (name of location or street address) and request permission to make said move.
    7. Teen’s bedtime shall be by 900 PM on school nights and by 1100 PM otherwise, and on school days she shall arise from bed by 530 AM.
    8. On weekend nights, in no case is Teen to be away from home past 900 PM without another member of The Family’s presence or explicit permission.

    Upon conclusion of negotiations, the Recording Secretary shall prepare a contract between Baba and Teen stipulating that to which they have agreed and which they shall both sign and the Recording Secretary shall witness. The contract shall include the following text:

    “We the undersigned pledge to abide by both letter and spirit of the terms of this contract in our behavior and interactions until such time as this contract is renegotiated or abrogated by mutual agreement and consent. Other members of The Family shall have the right to call out violations of this contract and the obligation to facilitate their resolution, if possible.”

    The contract may, among other ways, be enforced by restrictions on mobility and use of time, withholding of funds, and sequestering of cell phone. Yes, even that.

    @image: Detroit Wastewater Treatment plant workers outside the plant’s main gate Sunday afternoon, Sept. 30, 2012 from Voice of Detroit.
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