Sunday, July 14, 2013

Setting Boundaries

"Just 5 more minutes," my 10 year old son, H. said, "please can I stay and watch just 5 more minutes."
"No, I'm sorry," I said, "we're leaving now."
It was late on Saturday night, after 9:30 at night.
"Oh come on," my mother in law said, "let him just watch 5 more minutes of television."
I looked at her and gave her a stern look. "No, he doesn't know what 5 more minutes is, as far as he is concerned he would like to stay and watch television for another hour."
"But I just wanted him to leave happy," my mother in law said.
H. had stayed at his grandparents for the weekend. He packed up his stuff and we went home. After getting in the car, he had already forgotten about his request to stay another 5 minutes.

I asked my wife about the divergent approaches between the generations.
"Look when I grew up, we were free. We stayed up as late as we wanted to watch television and ate what we wanted. Now it's different. There are so many more enticements to lure our children, there is no end. I knew that after Dynasty that was it, no more shows and I went to sleep. Now it's shows on cable, the internet, YouTube - it's overwhelming."
"So it was Ok that I told your mother that we had to go?"
"Yes, it's just different points of view. Different generations."

The enticements that tempt are children are all around. Either they want to get on the computer, or have the tablet computer, or get in the car and go somewhere and be on the iPhone. There are no natural boundaries of television schedules or reception to confine these devices to a certain space and time.  We, the parents, need to be especially vigilant in maintaining boundaries so as to not overwhelm our children by all the attractions and entertainment of the world.

Brilliant Insight from an 8 Year Old

I was helping the kids get ready. My 8 year old, D. was up first and wanted to brush his teeth. I went into the bathroom and looked at the boys' toothbrushes - they were exactly the same!

I went back to D. with the toothbrushes, "Hey which one is yours?"
He rolled his eyes and looked at me, "Just put the toothpaste on both brushes, then I will pick mine."
"Oh!" I thought, "yeah, that could work too."
Why had I mad a task unnecessarily complicated, trying to cater to him? I could just do the simple thing, and rely on him to work out what to do.

D. went ahead and brushed his teeth.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Post on Me Myself and Kids Blog

My guest blog has published on the Me, Myself and Kids blog. This great blog is published by Larry Bernstein, a high school English teacher from New Jersey who is a writer and blogger, sharing his experiences, insights and philosophy on his popular blog.

I came across Larry's blog through a mutual friend, and was impressed the frequency, volume and quality of his articles. His blog is part of a well developed network of bloggers sharing life experiences, parenting advice and overall expounding  on personal ideas. After starting to follow his blog, I was inspired by what he shared, pushing me to create this blog and to start sharing my family life experiences.

My post can be found at: Don’t Cry Over Spilled Soy Sauce: A tip for getting through the dating jungle

His blog is also updated on his Facebook page.

The Magic Box

Do you have a magic box? Have you always contemplated having a magic box that you can dip into and find all kinds of surprises?

Recently my oldest son H.P. wrote a short piece in his English class, called The Magic Box. I liked how he empowered his boundless imagination and threw all kinds of objects and images into this short piece.

I posted it over here in My Write blog, a blog about writing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Camp Justice

I opened the door in the morning and saw the boys wrestling with each other on the sofa. They were locked in a bitter fight.

"Give me my shirt!" H., the older one, said.
"No!" cried D. defiantly.

I came over and pulled them apart, asking what is going on.

"He took my shirt for camp and hid it," H. said.
"Is this true?" I asked.
"Yes," said D. satisfied with himself.
"Well can you give him his shirt so we can all get ready and go to day camp?"
"No," said D. "it's his shirt, he should find it."
"What?!" I said.
"Yes, he should find his own shirt."
I looked at my older son, who had no idea where his shirt had been hidden, and we were all rushed to get ready and be off to camp.

A Gentle Confrontation
I told my older son to get ready, put on his shoes, brush his teeth and to wait for me. Then I approached D.
"Can you please tell me where you put his shirt?"
"No, he should find it."
"Why are you doing this?"
He just shrugged his shoulders and curled his lip, crossing his arms.
"Well then, if you don't want to share with us where the shirt is, then you can stay home today from camp."
D. seemed to bubble up into a heated rage, taking cushions from the sofa and throwing them in all directions. He threw himself on the sofa, screaming in anger and frustration. I took a few steps back.
My wife tried to ask him too, what was going on. She also suggested he would miss a  fun day at camp. His rage grew worse, and my wife retreated to her room.

I picked up my laptop bag as though I was going to work, taking my older son. Finally, D. went into our bedroom and confided in my wife.

Trying to reason with D. she explained that she knew he was a good boy, but some demon had crawled inside him in the morning sent him in the wrong direction. She implored him to try to go with the flow in the morning, and not get into needless fights. She explained that she was baffled for what would motivate him to take his brother's camp shirt and hide it, something that he absolutely needed for his camp day. Then, moreso, insisting that his brother should find his own shirt.

"Well yesterday after camp," D. said, as tears started to flow, "I waited outside at the bus stop like I was supposed to. I looked for H. everywhere, but he wasn't there to wait with me."
"His group went to the playground yesterday, and I picked him up from there."
"Well it wasn't fair that I waited by myself, so I punished him and hid his shirt."

Wiping his face, he went and found the camp shirt. H. put it on and we went off to camp.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Teamview Saves the Day

Now that summer vacation has begun we have to fight the battle of how the children spend their days. The boys are going to day camp, so my 6 year old daughter saw her opportunity for fully monopolizing the computer. She has her time, but she also has to do things according to our terms. She has some tasks to go through in the morning before she gets her play time.

Today she disregarded all her tasks. She wanted to be on the computer, and she wouldn't eat her breakfast, or brush her teeth or change her clothes. She had seated herself down in front of the computer, and she wasn't moving. I tried to approach her, but she yelled for me to back off. She seemed like she had the upper hand and was fully in control.

So I threatened to turn off the computer using.

No I wouldn't wrestle the computer away from her or pull the electrical plug out of the wall. I just waved the iPhone and she shuddered. I had ...Teamviewer.

TeamViewer provides fast and easy remote access to computer systems. It's also free.
After setting it up on the target computer, and configuring the app on the phone, you are in business to remotely control your home computer. You can even turn off the computer or lock a user out with just the flick of a finger on the iPhone screen.

She jumped off the chair and left the computer. She gave in, ate her breakfast, brushed her teeth and got ready for her day.