Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What Does "Two Hours" Mean?

Our oldest has been grounded from any kind of video game (XBOX, computer, etc.) for about a month now. Actually, it was going to be over after the third week and then he made a silly bet with me that I couldn't get the sound to work correctly on the loft computer. I probably shouldn't have done this, but I told him that if I couldn't get it to work I'd take him to Taco Bell twice in the next week and that if he lost, it was one more week sans video games. I even told him that I was 100% sure I could do it and he still made the bet. But I digress...

Yesterday was his first day having video game privileges back and we decided to make it more structured. Today he would get two hours to play (since it was such a long wait) and then one hour each day after that. This privilege would be expanded as he expanded his responsibilities with school and around the house. It's a good motivation for him (we think).

Well, he played a new game that he recently received as a gift for two hours straight and then we told him it was time to shut it off. That seemed to work great...until a few hours later he asked if it was ok to go over to a friend's house to play.

"Sure," I replied. As long as you don't play video games.

"What?!?" he asked with his jaw dropping. "It used to be that that only applied to home. You mean, I can't play with my friends?"

In his world, he got two hours to play video games at home and then as long as he was somewhere else, that was strictly off the clock. Sure, I like how his ingenious mind works, but it just will not work that way. We had a pretty long talk about it and he was--and still is--somewhat upset. He told me several times that it didn't "make any sense at all." Plus, I am not making it so that he cannot play with his friends because all his friends ever do is play video games. I should call their parents and tell them that he said that.

So, I'm curious on your thoughts. Remember, this is a 14 year old boy that I'm dealing with. We still get along pretty well.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that the kids don't play a lot of Pong these days, but I couldn't resist the image.


Randy said...


I think you are right on track. When I was growing up I didn't have video games. My brother and I had to invent games to play. An old ball glove and bat suited us just fine!


Sniz said...

Sure, he could be over there evangelizing his friends and we are NOT LETTING HIM! We are great parents. (And we don't make any sense.)

Toni said...

Hmmm. Yes, well, I don't have a clue what you should do, seeing as I don't have any 14yo boys (or 14yo girls for that matter).

I did, however, thrive on heavy doses of Pong. My uncle was the money bags in our family and he bought the Coleco Telstar for us (bought my little brother an Elvis bike too but that's another story). How hot was that Telstar meal ticket? Let me just say, we were the only family on the street with that beauty. And it was a loooong street.

Ping........pong. Ping......pong.

I'm done now. My throat hurts. So does my head. And I have chills. And two of my kids have snot hanging down to their zyphoid processes. Oh, and no Puffs Plus, nor any Pong handy. Swell.

Scott said...

I suppose you could allow him to use his alotted hour to play video games at a friend's.

So he should decide before he plays at home if he wants to use up his allowance here or wait and play there.

I'm all for being super strict, but I'm also all for a random act of super kindness (you can have THREE hours today) just to show I can be nice if you stay on my good side.

Keep up the good parenting...or bad parenting if you're looking at it from his angle.

Uvulapie said...

I love it when my sons have friends over and they find out that there is a limit to video game time. Some sulk and "get bored" but others suddenly realize, as my sons did when we cracked down on the habit, that there is a whole big fun world outside of the digital realm.

Mayhem And Miracles said...

I thought you were spot on. It makes perfect sense to me that too much game play has the same effect reguardless of whose TV you're glued to. But that enough is needed whether there or there to survive being 14. Basically, what Scott said. But as a man he put it much more succinctly without chasing all the rabbit trails. OK, I'm admitting it.

JAM said...

Pong is so old-school that it's cool. Kind of like how accordions are so lame that they're really cool.

I think you're right here. Let him have two hours period, at home OR with friends. Of course he will take liberties where he can sneak them in, but it won't be from your lack of concern.

Me said...

Tell him that he's lucky. You have friends that only allow an hour a week. (Just kidding...he wouldn't like that.)

We are so mean. :p

You are good parents in limiting it and I feel for you because it stinks when your kids are mad at you. People say it shouldn't matter to you if they are. It still stinks.