Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's my fault... I admit it.

I realized today that my son is far too addicted to video games. He's five.

I know, I know. I can hear you... "five is far too young to be playing video games... MY child doesn't play them..." I know.

I didn't introduce them to him. I didn't want him anywhere near them. Then my mom let him play some games... then his dad let him play during one of their visits. Then next thing you know, mom brought the game box over to our house... six months later I have a little addict.

I tried to limit him, I really did. But like any good drug I kept going back for more. I was suddenly getting a lot more work done during the day. I had an hour or (I know) two of time to work, time to write.

Yesterday his dad brought him home after a visit and brought the PS2 plus Tony Hawk game. "It was the only way I could get him to leave," he said.

I'll skip over the fact that my ex avoids disciplining our son at all costs. I can even understand it. if I only saw my son once a week (shudder) then I'd want to spoil him and skip the discipline too.

This morning I was intending to try out a new church, so I wanted to take my son with me to see the Sunday School. He had been playing the PS2 between breakfast and church. I gave him the countdown. "Ten more minutes, buddy!" then "Five more minutes, buddy!" But when it came time to shut it down... let's just say all heck broke loose.

Meltdown time.

He cried, he threw himself on the floor, he pouted. When we got to the church he would not do a thing. Wouldn't come into the sanctuary, wouldn't go near the Sunday School room. The only thing he'd do is pout and say "I want to play my gaaaaaames!"

So they ALL went away. Every box, every game.

When he realized that this had been done he Flipped Out. He needed a solid 10 minutes in his bed for him to calm down.

This is my fault. I was drawn into the ease of getting work done while he played away and turned his brain into mush. I ignored the pangs of guilt when I'd walk by him, all zoned out on the game. I tried to make it more interactive, I'd talk to him about the games and sporadically watch him play, but for the most part, I let him play.

Now that he's in Kindergarten he is back to getting the interaction and activity that he craves. When he was in day care there was never more than a half hour of game time between coming home and going to bed, what with all the other stuff we had to accomplish in under 3 hours.

I have decided that we're going back to that half hour schedule. He can play his games for half an hour a day. AND, he needs to earn that half an hour.

At first I was just going to get rid of every game. Period. But I know he does enjoy them, and I think that he should be allowed to play them here a little bit because he needs to learn to limit the time rather than just remove the 'addiction'.

I liken it to learning to eat properly. The key to knowing you can control your eating is having tup of super extra triple chocolate supreme in your freezer and only eating a small portion rather than the entire tub in a single sitting.

We live and learn.

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