Sometimes, life forces you to make choices for your children, despite you wishing you didn’t have to. This is when I pull up my big girl undies and have to hold a line because as a parent, it is the RIGHT THING TO DO. For the record, when I say ‘I” I mean “we” as my husband and I agree together – usually I’m the one enforcing most of it as the children know I hold a harder line. But not always. If you are confused, don’t worry….you aren’t alone.
Ok – back onto my rant. If you are a parent who has perfect children, the ones who get straight A’s, never back talk, stars in all and any sports they do, musically talented to be on The Voice of America’s Got Talent…you know, that parent who NEVER admits that something might not be perfect about their child – heaven forbid if you don’t constantly compliment and build up our entitled children, never correcting them so they don’t have to live in reality – if you are that parent, please stop reading and go back to your fictional life. This post is for REAL parents with REAL children. Like me.
I have real kids. They mess up. They make messes, they don’t obey, they lie, they steal, they do a lot of things I won’t air here….so you see, they aren’t perfect. Neither am I. So…..confession:
I’ve removed ALL electronics from my teens lives.
There. Said it. If you are waiting on their return text....it will be a few years!
My husband and I love technology, embrace it in our work place, have cell phones, ipads, tablets – you name it – we LOVE it. But, try as we have, our children are NOT better for having these things. After many failings over YEARS….we have finally said “No.” We almost lived in a fog trying to get them to take electronics, be responsible and embrace them for the GOOD they can do….it isn’t meant to be. The good Lord watched as we tried again and again, failing each time to launch them into electronic world. The school gives them this too, which we can’t always deny them and we will do a family “movie” night regularly as a reward, but basically all else is gone.
I think as a parent I was in denial that my kids couldn’t manage them like other kids….why couldn’t they? This makes me wonder how many parents even MONITOR their kids activites, sites they hang at….it is scary and I don’t apologize for being a helicopter Mom / Dad on electronics! Parents – get your heads out of the clouds and LOOK at what they are doing…no, it isn’t kids just being kids. Today on the news, two 12 year old girls stabbed a fellow 12 year old girl 19 times to try to join some on line social club……REALLY? Don’t tell me “Oh kids will be kids – we were too!” Not like that! The old playboy under the bed vs constant porn available is addictive and targets kids….then their email picks up on sites they’ve been to and they can’t turn an eye from it as the suggestions of sites on Facebook and all the other places they go continue to suggest and coerce them to come to their dark and evil places.
So. We’ve removed all electronics from the teens lives from TV blocking to the cell phones and ipods and ipads…..nothing. Here sweet teens are the books, basketballs, bicycles, long walks, Frisbees and so forth of our youth…..and you know what? They like those things. Oh, they occasionally ask – but less and less. Library reading rewards excite them more than a text and the sunshine at the pool with friends is more fun than a game on the PS2. Do I hear the cry “I’m bored!” Oh – once it awhile they are silly enough to utter it – but once they’ve seen my chore list it has decreased so I don’t hear that anymore, for they know I can always find some chore around the house. Suddenly even Legos looks more fun!
I want my kids to know that while electronics will always be there, to step away is OK. To talk at the dinner table of the best thing that they did that day or how they think and process real life interactions is worth all the ipads in the world. God created their minds and has entitled me to be their Mom and to guide them as my precious gifts and treasures. While I ache sometimes that they can’t be like other kids who manage these things just fine (from the outside? Or not), I realize this is why God called me to be these kids Mom. It grows me to be able to say, this is my reality and it is OK. We yearn for things for our children – but we must yearn for the RIGHT things. And those THINGS shouldn’t be THINGS of material nature.
I want to raise my sons and daughters to be able to look into people’s eyes and SEE them. To have those long talks and interactions that only real live people can give you. I want my children to know that I love them enough to be the bad @$$ Mom who removed their electronics because I loved you enough that I don’t want you quieted with a iphone, ipad, DS or PS2. That what you say to me is important and I won’t apologize because I’m not really sorry at all. So that when I look back at these teen years and I will cherish the ride it has been.
I want you to grow up to be able to do the RIGHT thing for your children someday too as you learn that the world doesn’t revolve around electronics – but rather people. I want you to be a volunteer, stop to hold the door for people, smile and wipe a tear from a young child, listen to the elderly in your lives….smell the rain and appreciate the sunsets. For all these things, will be remembered and mean more to you than any level achieved on a gaming device.
So – here is to continued quality time….and it is OK for you to ask us to put away our phones and devices too – we will. This is my pledge to you, I’ll play UNO one more time even if it kills me and listen to drama girl stories until my stomach revolts….because I love you and will be there for you as your bad @$$ Mom that God gave you because he knew you needed me as much as I need you.