Last week you may recall reading about my younger son assaulting his brother half-way between Louisville and Indianapolis and the subsequent improvement in their relationship. What I didn’t mention was another unforeseen positive consequence of what is now known as the “Fight of 2013.” After Andrew punched his teasing sibling in the temple, my husband and I grounded him for one week. No friends to play with, no leaving the house other than for school or practices, and most significantly, at least in his twelve-year-old eyes, no electronics of any kind. We are cruel parents, indeed.
Not surprisingly, this last bit of torture took its toll. Andrew complained, moped, nagged and repeatedly proclaimed his innocence in a desperate attempt for amnesty and a rescinding of the Xbox ban.
“You’re the one who’s always telling me to fight back, and now you’re punishing me for it? It’s not fair!”; “He’s always hitting me and you never do anything to him! It’s not fair!”; “Argh! I’m so booo-rrred! It’s not fair!”
Tough cookies, Andrew. Life isn’t fair, get used to it. And guess what? He did. He broke out some clay and began creating amazing aliens and other creatures. He rode his bike and walked the dog. He, gulp, read a book. He even enlisted his twin sister and former-nemesis teenage brother to create a pillow-avalanche scenario in the basement where they taught our Labrador to perform search and rescue missions. I know!
What’s more, the rest of the kids followed suit. Whether in solidarity for their imprisoned comrade or simply because his activities looked like more fun, they too spent a lot less time engrossed in their computers, Kindles, and i-paraphernalia. It’s like they suddenly remembered they had imaginations and how to use them!
Coincidentally, my brother-in-law informed me at Tai-Kwan-Doo that he was experiencing a similar phenomenon at his house. They too had instituted “Amish Week” as a punishment for their eight-year-old, and were amazed to see him returning to “the good ole days” prior to mass electronics. Basketball, football, Legos … activities that get kids moving or creating had been rediscovered.
So what did I learn as a parent through all of this? For starters, my children are addicts. Secondly, as adults, Doo and I can break the cycle if we choose. Well, little Wilsons, we choose. Yes, Andrew had to hit rock bottom for us to realize there was a major problem, but now the jig is up. I am pleased to report that we have already implemented steps (12 actually) to ensure all of our kids are on the road to video-game recovery. Don’t know how long it will last, but it’s a start. Peace out.