The second day of our tech free week was surprising. For a couple of reasons. For one, the boy child offered to add more days without games, just to prove he could. After the initial morning asks, neither child mentioned games, TV or Minecraft all day. It was parallel universe weird, and I loved it. For another, I realized I was right. The kids really didn't understand why this horrible thing was happening to them. They thought they were in trouble. Dummies. We talked it through, and they understand now that they aren't in trouble. That I just want a week of peace, and I want to see their faces without the obstruction of the iPad in front of them. Things are good.
I will note that a life with limited technology is freaking exhausting. Two otherwise self-sufficient tiny people now need my input on everything. I am required to entertain them in ways I've never needed to before. So far, the ends are worth the means.
Since I began this mini boycott, I've received emails, tweets and Facebook posts from people. Some showing support, some telling me that I am a monster and taking games away is akin to cruel and unusual punishment, some with funny videos and articles attached. My favorite was this YouTube clip from my brother-in-law. It feels good to know that whatever my struggles, I am not these parents. And I don't have this child.
Watching that clip made me think about things. The way I parent. The way I talk to my children. The way I allow my children talk to me. It also made me think that these parents have lost all control. I really do try not to judge other people's parenting style. Except for when they suck at parenting. And in my ever so humble opinion (which is never actually humble), these people suck at parenting.
I'm not saying you beat your child with a stick when they act like this. I'm not even saying you need to raise your voice. You just calmly walk over to the computer, pull the plug, pick it up, and walk out of the room. Whether or not you throw the thing out of your car window while doing 90 on the freeway is up to you and your local littering laws. But, you most definitely do not stand there like an idiot, and have a prolonged argument about when or if your child turns off a game. You really don't call in your spouse for back up. Both of you don't need to say "Turn it off." One parent is enough.
I know your kid will scream like a banshee. I know that it will be hard to see your sweet angel so upset. I know these things. I just don't care. Parents and children are not equals. 'Family' is not synonymous with 'debate club'. I've worked with kids for as long as I can remember. Long enough to know they have the attention span of a house fly on meth. They will get over it. They won't hate you forever. Maybe a day or two at most.