I was the president of our children's program at our church and was holding a meeting at my house. We were planning away when Seth, fourth grade, made a huge scene. I'm talking my face was probably bright red, I was trying very hard not to kill him in front of four other women, he was screaming with his foghorn of a mouth about life not being fair and he's going to run away. I believe I told him he couldn't go outside until he cleaned up the landfill we called his bedroom. He went upstairs and packed his backpack, slamming the door as he left. It was one of those slams where you're amazed every picture didn't fall off the walls. To say the least, I was beside myself in anger. BUT......I had to remain socially respectable. Lucky for him.
When the meeting ended, I had calmed down quite a bit and decided to really dig into Seth. I made a sign and put it on our mailbox in very large letters. It said, "BOYS ROOM FOR RENT. MUST DO CHORES." A couple of neighbors called to find out if we were really renting out a room. (There goes the neighborhood!)
A couple of hours later, Seth returned, sign gone, and he said, "Sorry, Mom" and gave me a hug. Here we are ten years later and he still lives at home, usually has a messy room, still fights about mowing the lawn, doing dishes, etc. The thing is, he really can move out and we remind him of that sometimes. We parents need leveraging no matter what age our kids are.