Welcome to the Screen Years, er, Tween Years

Mar 27

My eldest son is almost twelve years old and the rules of the household are becoming increasingly “optional” in his mind. Mind you, he has always been alarmingly adept at finding clever detours to get around the rules that I so painstakingly try to uphold.

For years, the boys have been forbidden to turn on the television before going to school. It encourages a harmonious morning routine and inhibits the likelihood of the kids missing their school bus, and hence, being late for school. Before implementing the rule, I’d wasted far too much time begging (read: yelling at) my kids to turn off the TV as they blissfully ignored me. On the best of days, they would begrudgingly unplug themselves from the TV screen, rush to grab jackets, boots, bag, and leave me with three half-empty cereal bowls to clear from the coffee table. On the worst of days, we would become embroiled in a family feud that would make the housewives of New Jersey cringe, during which time the bus would roll on by, and I’d be forced to drive them, late, to school.

However, my No TV rule keeps our mornings as honky-dory as a Mr. Rogers episode. That is changing, bit by bit, thanks to the introduction of the iPod into our household. Now that my son owns one of these digital devices, my coveted screen-free mornings are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

iPod with cereal

My son's morning fix

Although it is not as disruptive as a big screen TV show, his new morning ritual is causing some tension. Not the least of which is among his younger brothers who regularly remind me that their older brother is breaking not one, but two rules. No TV in the mornings, and no video games from Monday to Thursday. And, why can’t they, too?

Needless to say, I am spending more energy begging him to turn off his screen. Typically, he turns it off before I must resort to yelling, however he likes to remind me that it is HIS iPod and therefore, has every right to use it (he knows he’s skating on thin ice with this reasoning, but like I said, he likes rule detours).

As much as I detest the sight of the above image, we have come to an amicable arrangement. He is allowed to turn on his iPod to check his email, texts, and DragonVale.He has convinced me that the game DragonVale needs regular attention to maintain (funnily enough, so does our dog, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about staying on top of that).

My middle son, God bless him, is still in the voracious reading stage, so I’m more likely to find him reading a book than staring at a screen most mornings. I will try to enjoy every wonderful moment of it before he becomes a tween himself. And, yes, that includes ignoring his continued pleas to have his own iPod.

Read books, don't play video games

A part of the morning ritual that I encourage

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