Friday, April 13, 2012

Old fashioned...

Several months ago I bought my boys iPods.

Around the same time, I also got Minecraft for the eldest - because all his friends are into Minecraft.

At Christmas my brother bought them a Wii.

Tonight, all rights to all these things have been withdrawn for the two eldest boys in the house.

Why, you ask?

Well, because they just refuse to take no for an answer. We very reasonable about the amount of access to these gadget they can have. We try to meet them half way with regards to when they can have them and for how long, but even with the generous amount of access they have, they are still pestering for more, and when they do get it... They just take it.

They were allowed a later bed time this summer because, as they argued, they're getting older (almost 11 and 13 now), and none of their friends go to bed at 7.30pm anymore.

These boys always get up early, mind you, come rain or shine, a school day or a holiday, they're up by 6.30am every morning. They entertain themselves, so that's okay. Often though they bicker with their younger brothers, too. Which is not okay, but anyway, getting to bed at 8 and 9pm has not made them sleep later in the morning.

Soon after getting their iPods, we discovered that instead of docking them at night, the boys were taking them into the iPods room to listen to them. So, their 8 and 9pm bedtimes were stretching out to 10.30-11pm, or even later for our insomniac...


We said the iPods had to be docked or the boys would lose them. For a while they listened, and then they didn't.

We took the iPods away for a week. For a while after that they listened ... and then they didn't.

One was more likely to listen than the other, but if the other took his into his room, the first would hop into bed with him to listen to the iPod, too... Co-conspirators.

We took them away again, for a longer period, and after that one of the boys listened more consistently, but the other didn't... And the one who listened didn't mind, because he would be bribed with a share of the contraband iPod...

We really wanted the boys to get the most out of their technology, so we helped them download free games and to establish email accounts and for the eldest a Facebook account (all closely monitored by me). Just recently the oldest also got Skype, which led to his friends attempting to 'Skype him' well into the evening (and past his 9pm bedtime). One day, he was on Skype for FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT! I wasn't home for this, or it simply would not have happened.

It seemed though that the more we allowed, the more they took for granted and the more demanding they became.

It made us very uneasy.

Also, reading and drawing and game playing (of the non-technological variety) went out the window. That might be fine with some parents, it isn't with us.

The Grumpy Old Man said that once the Genie was let out of the bottle, it couldn't be stuffed back in. I don't agree.

You see, in my world, I'm the parent. I love my kids. Nothing makes me happier than when they are happy. The saying, 'A mother is only as happy as her most miserable child' is very true for me. When they feel sad or hurt or frustrated, I feel those things, too.

All that said, technology is a tool. It is a luxury, not a right. It makes a lot of things easier, but life goes on without technology. I want my children to be technologically savvy, that includes understanding when to use it and when to put it away. When they can't manage that balance themselves, I see it as my role to manage it for them until they can manage it themselves.

I am the adult, they are the child. I am the Master, they are the Apprentice. Apprentices need to be shown how, and then given space to experience, but when they start to flounder a caring Master will step in, take the reigns, quiet the unwieldy beast and then hand the reigns back to the Apprentice.

So, I'm quieting the unwieldy beast now.

We're going back to square one. Finding our centre and starting out again. Maybe this time we'll all have more success.

Until then, no technology for the older two for a while...

PS. I've really enjoyed playing Minecraft with my kids, so looking at my computer's launchpad and not seeing the icon there isn't a pain free experience for me either... We could all do with quietening the unwieldy beast...


Me said...

I totally agree with you re taking things away from your boys if they don't listen. You are not a bad parent - you are teaching them that there are consequences for their actions.

Good for you !!!

Love, hugs and positive energy !

Me said...

I totally agree with you re taking things away from your boys if they don't listen. You are not a bad parent - you are teaching them that there are consequences for their actions.

Good for you !!!

Love, hugs and positive energy !

Good Job!