Monday, June 13, 2011

Because I Said So!

Have you ever made a rule and when your kids ask, "Why?" you realize that, "Because I said so," is the best you have?  This happened to me the other day.

This last December we purchased our first gaming system.  The boys were out of their mind excited.  It became "the most fun thing on earth!"  Instead of being thrilled, I was nauseous.   I was pretty sure I had lost my kids to the gaming world and the Wii became my number one nemesis. 

I began coming up with all kinds of rules and regulations for when they were allowed to play.  I felt that it was my job to protect their minds from the evil world of video games.  So, when #2 asked me if he could play one morning while his brother was at school I said, "No.  It is not Wii time right now."  As I went down the basement stairs to do laundry I felt smugly satisfied that I had not let the Wii monster win.

Later, when I went to tell #2 that it was time to eat  I found him in the living room watching Nick, Jr.  I then realized that he had been in front of the television for the last two hours while I did housework. I felt like a moron. Why was it okay in my mind for him to watch Diego but not okay to play Lego Batman?  I did not have a good reason.  All I had on this one was, "Because I said so."

I then had to think out what I was going to do to.  I thought about it and realized that I did not have to provide them time for television and gaming.  We would not have TV time and Wii time but instead we would have Screen Time.  Screen Time is defined in our house as any activity that you do in front of a screen. This includes video games, computer games, iphone games and television.

It has worked out great.  I am no longer the bad guy.  They each have an amount of time and how they use it is up to them.  If they have a favorite show they want to watch then they may not have time to play Wii.  At the end of Screen Time if they are upset about what they chose then I reply, "I am sorry that you didn't like your choice.  Tomorrow you can choose something different."

I realize now that the Wii is not my adversary.  It is my new parenting tool.  I will use it to teach my kids how to manage their time and priorities.  Perspective is everything!

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