listen to the universe whisper and you wont have to hear the screams!!… setting boundaries for pre-teens

Boys and technology!! sigh!

20130326-181922.jpg Younger and younger …. even our 4 yr old is in negotiations constantly for technology!

A busy term for our family, and the reins loosened slowly and consistently towards more game time, and internet for our first pre-teen.

Happy that he was in school every day of term, he also plays soccer, basketball, hiphop class and scouts, though I started to notice one or two excuses for not going to training, and he had lost enthusiasm for the outdoors, and had become a bit grouchy!…to say the least

I work from home, and my business is run on my smart phone using wifi …. I had it on the long finger to examine wifi in the house,  having a keen eye on healthier habits, I had already been researching ways to balance on-line time. Trying to get work done from home, it’s always enticing to let the kids have some playtime on gadgets or watch netflix, whilst trying to develop webpages, and reach deadlines!!

The signs started to appear though, and I was aware that the balance had shifted …. I had drafted a timetable with my son, but it wasn’t always adhered to, and I caved several times as he battled for more computer time, more games that were beyond his age category (I can’t talk to the others in my class if I don’t know about this game he’d say etc.) and all the while, trying to differentiate between whats normal behaviour for a pre-teen, and whats as a result of inappropriate amount of internet and gametime!!

So the bomb exploded one day when out at the park and the tantrum came ( funnily enough the issue wasn’t directly around gadgets) though the attitude, language and behaviour I strongly supected was responsible!

As a result, all his priveledges were removed for 2 weeks. I braced myself for two weeks in hell, with a boy that had forgotten how to be without technology, angry for removing his lifeline, and having to deal with the aftermath!! I had put off listening to the whispering signs things were out of balance so here I was dealing with the screams!! A mums life … who’d want it?!

A couple of deep breaths and a long conversation or two, there was an aftermath of remorse, and after tantrum tears, my role was of comforter initially. My son accepted the consequences, he was without x-box, i- pod, had kicked his soccer ball up onto a roof top so he hadn’t even that! .. oh  and his bike was also confiscated due to taking off on it without permission during the conflict / tantrum.

So… how does a young man cope, being stripped of technology and priveledges to visit friends etc???

There were moments of begging and unacceptance of consequences, but I thought it would be more intense to be honest … I knew it would be worth it in the end, and I held tough ( I also was very straight in my head that the previous behaviour not re -occur, so consequences HAD to be adherred to, and I was on duty to ensure that at whatever costs!)

I did make a list of the things that my 11 year old did with his time, instead of time he normally would be engaged in technology.

Note: I did not give him any suggestions here, he had to come up with things to do himself, and any hints of inappropriate behaviour or language / attitude toward anyone he knew he was facing longer without privaledges!!

heres the list!

  • He danced to a c.d
  • Coloured sugar skulls for halloween with dad
  • Did food shopping in the supermarket working from a list
    I wrote for him on request
  • Baked a cake from scratch without a recipe, and made chocolate sauce to go with it!
  • Made an obstacle course for his younger brother and sister
  • Cleaned and swept out the playroom
  • Made soup for the family
  • played hurling outside
  • Mastered the back handspring on the trampoline
  • Did a pros and cons list for the two choices of secondary school he will be going to next year
  • Read a book (Ripleys believe it or not)
  • Changed his mind and decided to dance in the hiphop performance on halloween after deciding not to do it previously
  • wrestled with his brother and sister for hours (hard on mum to listen to the mayhem!!)
  • Made a soccerball out of a balloon with a bit of water in it for weight!

We also found him

  • less aggressive
  •  improved language
  • calmer
  • relationship with brother and sister improved ( his sister was on a high that he was available to hang around with her)

Come halloween he got his bike back this week, and enjoyed an afternoon at the local skate park … his electronics are to be locked away for another week

*We are in negotiations with him now on incorporating the games and youtube time into his day.

He  is still looking to push boundaries all of the time, even whilst at the swimming pool he was repeatedly asking if he could go into the sauna and steam room after I explained it was for 16 year olds…. same with movies … always pushing for movies rated beyond his years. This, I figure is normal run of the mill stuff for someone his age.

So I have one more week to develop a plan moving forward!
For now, I have made a decision to put a timer on wifi to come on for a half an hour in our house. (found out how to do it through our internet provider) … otherwise I’m going to turn it off. After that I’m thinking  one hour on a devise of his choice (including t.v) with one day detox/break  with no devises.

Surley it won’t be that hard  for him, as he does have school, soccer, basketball, scouts, hiphop … but unscheduled time is important to have too, and I think its a struggle for young people to figure out how to entertain themselves without planned activities.

My son is a sensitive, creative, fun loving free spirit that is precious to us, and that is my motivation to keep him along the vein of not dulling his feelings/ character with gaming and internet abuse, and help him create balance in his world. Hopefully we can find a balance thats right for him, and that is in better alignment with how we want to be as a family!

Thanks so much for reading!

Lesson learned! Listen to to warning signs … not always easy I know. In this case, we hope by acting on this strongly moving forward we can teach our son balance in his life … a lesson he may find valuable later in life!

Anyone been through/ going through similar?

Here are some great guidelines to  to consider around internet wifi devices from a physical health perspective, its from mommypotomas

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Christine x

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Well done you for sticking to it!

  2. Thanks! I find it’s a modern day challenge for parents to remain assertive with kids, and I know I find it helpful to know how others deal with parental issues, so hopefully people find it relatable!

  3. Not easy being a parent in this age of technology!! We are the first to go through it … think we will all be feeling our way but instinct is important. .. well done to him for dealing with it so well!! outside pressure is the curse … if only more parents were like you!! here’s hoping that all parents become more aware and teach our children to just be …

  4. Yeah it will be worth all the growing pains to get balance right!

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