You know I love to touch on the "controversial" topics, the topics that parents - and "experts" - normally disagree on. Spanking...co-sleeping...lying...and the list goes on and on.
And I'll openly admit that I don't like to conform to "conventional" methods of parenting, if those even exist anymore.
So, let's talk about gaming. With summer break still in effect in our house, games seem to be the "priority", especially for my teens.
It goes without saying that computer games, PS3, PS4, even tablet and smartphone app games have chnaged in just the past 5 to 10 years. While I hate to give my age away, I remember when Atari and the Nintendo 64 (with that unmistakable Mario Brothers theme music) first came out.
But, nowadays, the list of game consoles and games is endless. And a lot of them are downright scary!
"Games and Computers Are Not the Priority!"
I can't even count how many times those words have come out of my mouth, not just this summer, but during the school year, over the years of my motherhood.
I strictly enforce that all chores are done and bedrooms are clean BEFORE kids are on computers and tablets and smartphones...but, that doesn't mean that they don't try to sneak. Fib that their bedrooms are clean...assuming that I will be too busy to check. (Teenagers telling me "Yeah, I did that this morning", knowing that they hardly came close to cleaning their room!)
And, usually, I am to busy (I work from home, manage a house of 11 people, 9 of them children, and have 3 littles aged 3 and under)...but, you can even ask my children - Mom WILL check every corner of the house on a daily basis! So, you better not be playing games and be caught with a messy bedroom or undone chores, or else you will lose all priveledges. And, that checkpoint can happen at any time!
Yes, games and computers are a PRIVELEDGE. However, my kids act like that's their career.
Back Me Up, Here, Doc!
I've even made sure that our so very wonderful pediatrician (Dr. Kasuba, we love her!) has voiced her opinion at our annual check-ups to each and every kid - especially the teenagers!
No more than 2 hours per day on ANY TYPE OF MEDIA - tv, tablets, computers, etc.
And, somehow, I'm losing the battle...
As you can see in the pics, all of the computers are up and running, even as I type this up. The playroom, which happens to be the biggest room in house, looks more like a command center, with 4 computers. The 5th computer (Daddy's) is set up in my livingroom (he's usually working, so the kids take advantage of his computer, as well).
We have bicycles, scooters, golf clubs, a playhouse, a kiddie pool, a basketball hoop and several balls, and on and on and on...there's PLENTY of things to do outside, but the gaming addiction is a tough battle!
So, I'll admit, I've slipped this summer. I've totally abandoned my mothering instincts that tell me that my kids should be using their imaginations all day long outside, like I used to when I was a kid...
Of course, I go outside for hours with the littles each day (the weather has been amazing!), but it's like pulling teeth to get the teens to go out. When I water my plants outside, all the littles follow me. If I sit out there in my lawn chair, the littles are right there with me.
And, yet, I don't feel one bit guilty, because my kids are all happy and they are enjoying their summer as they choose to. (As long as their chores are done!)
And, not to point the blame in another direction, but even Daddy feels like he'd rather our kids be on computers than getting into trouble around the neighborhood. On the upside, we know EXACTLY where our kids are and what they are doing.
I Don't Live in a Glass House
So, once again, I probably am a terrible mother. Go ahead and throw stones at me from your glass house while your children are playing Red Light, Green Light and Mother May I? outside and mine are sitting behind computers and tablets.
Tell me I'm the only mother on this earth with children/teens who act like they have a career on computers? Where do you draw the line?
Join us tomorrow for a deeper look into the CONTENT of the games kids are playing nowadays. Do you know what games your kids are playing?