Guys, we just got the most amazing thing at our house. It makes me feel so powerful it’s scary.
No, it’s not gym equipment, because who wants gym equipment at their house? I am talking about an internet controller. That’s right. With the magic of my phone I can shut down anyone’s internet access! In case you can’t hear me, I am evil laughing.
I believe that kids spend too much time on their phones or computers. I think it’s my job as a parent to limit access to their devices. Truthfully, I actually think my kids do a pretty good job of self-regulating, but we could use some improvement. For the most part they all prefer to be doing something outside. But the reality is, I love the power this little box has given me.
Don’t put away your laundry when I asked? Poof! Internet off! Mean to your sibling? Bye, world wide web! I’m sorry, was there too much sass in your voice? No more net for you!
Does this make me mean? Maybe, but remember it’s not my job to be my kid’s friend. I think I am just using what I have at my disposal to get my kid’s attention. What I do and say once I have that attention is what really matters. How we speak to our kids is what matters. If I want my kids to be kind to each other, I need to show them what kindness looks like every day. My kindness tank is usually running very low by 8 p.m., so this is no small task.
I have to make the choice daily, (okay fine, minute by minute) but it does matter. It will be so much easier for our kids to grow up in a kind, safe place. Kind and safe is not the same as passive or permissive. I know that I can often make the mistake of mixing up the two, but kind and safe results in content children and content parents. Passive and permissive parenting results in discontentment.
Parenting is hard. It’s never going to get easier, less tiring, or matter any less. We will always have to make hard choices, we will always make wrong choices and have to correct things. There is no manual, and we will never know exactly what to do each time. But remember we are all in the trenches together, and just like we don’t always know what we are doing, neither do our kids. It’s okay to figure things out together as we go.
Oh, and just in case you are still thinking about how mean I am with my new internet power, don’t forget that I see you all on Facebook with your Elf on the Shelf power. You know who you are.
Erin Spatz lives in Pawleys Island and is the author of the book, “Who Left Me In Charge.”