Youngest Son: Unplugged
Teenagers. They think they know it all. They think that they’re the first person to ever think of or do something in the history of everything. They believe they’re invincible, physically and emotionally, and that they can do what they want, when they want, how they want, and that parents will never know the difference.
Where have I heard this before? Oh….that’s right! I posted about how Youngest Son tried to abuse his Facebook privileges and posted items that were not appropriate. And that post was only two days ago! And guess what? He tries to pull another stunt like I won’t punish him twice in a week.
Today I allowed him to look at his Facebook page while I monitored everything he viewed. I only allowed him 15 minutes of time online because he’s still on my naughty list for the previous infraction. Today, however, he did use common sense and didn’t repost items from his friends and even avoided watching videos some had posted because he knows that the house rules say he’s not allowed to open documents or watch videos without prior permission (because of the possibility of viruses, etc.).
This evening, he went into where the family computer is and asked Husband if he could look at his Facebook page. Husband was in the process of signing-in to a website and told him that he (Youngest Son) could not look at his Facebook page at that time because he (Husband) was using the computer. Youngest Son stomped into the living room where I was watching television. I had not heard anything from the other room and asked why he was so upset. He told me that Husband had stated that he (Husband) would never supervise him while he looks at his Facebook page and was upset about it.
I went into the other room and asked Husband why he wouldn’t share the responsibility of supervising Youngest Son on the computer. Husband said that he didn’t say that and called Youngest Son into the room. Finally, I got to the truth — that Youngest Son had lied to me in order to try to get me to make Husband let him (Youngest Son) use the computer.
My kids have known all their lives that one of the worst things to do is to try to play Husband and myself against each other. Asking for permission from one and getting rejected and running to the other to ask the same question hoping for a different answer is not allowed. And getting caught doing it, well, that’s just going to make any punishment worse.
So, tonight I decided that Youngest Son needs a good example of just how much he won’t die without Facebook. Or the Internet as a whole. Or his cell phone. Or any other electronic devices.
That’s right. I’ve unplugged a 13-year-old, much to his disappointment, and he can now learn for the rest of this week and all of next week (into the weekend as well) what it was like when his father and I didn’t have video games or text messaging or television (except when the news was on when our parents watched it). Nothing electronic will be allowed. Not even small toys that run on button batteries. He can read, draw, walk the dog — lots of activities that generations of us did before every child seemed born with a Nintendo DS in their hands.
He’ll only be allowed to have his cell phone when we leave home (in case of emergencies) and when he’s at school (for emergencies only as well). No portable game systems. No console game systems. No MP3 players. He can use his calculator for math class but he won’t because he doesn’t need it. And he can listen to the radio when he’s going to bed because he’s got the same problem I have — if it’s too quiet when trying to go to sleep, sleep never comes.
And Husband and I won’t be punishing ourselves through this. We can use all of the electronics we want. We can watch the only television in the house when we want (he’ll just have to go to his room). And we can play all the video games we want, even though we won’t. I’ve always hated it when trying to punish a child and ending up being on the receiving end of the same punishment (no television, etc.). Now he’ll have to deal with hearing us going on with our lives while he contemplates the error of his ways.
Hopefully he will learn from this, even though it does give me an easy topic to blog about when nothing else happens during the day.