Over the summer, my son and I came to an understanding. He did what I wanted. He’d get to game.
Teenagers aren’t the most cooperative, though. Anyone in the history of the world knows this. We were having a particularly rough battle of wills. This was before school and summer band started in full swing and I was determined to make him a little human. Or at least a little more respectful of his mother.
He’d been spending an inordinate amount of time sleeping and gaming. I wanted to break that cycle.
I told my husband as we were getting ready for bed to change the WiFi password. He stared at me a long moment and then said, “All right.” I think he secretly loved the idea. I should mention my husband delights in coming up with some really creative passwords. The one he came up with was very relevant to the situation at hand. Something along the lines of “be nice to your mother” will well placed special characters.
The next morning, when I got up to get ready for work, I wrote a list of chores I expected the teenager to do before he could get online (see photo). This went over like a lead balloon, let me tell you. The kid was not happy at all, judging by the tone of his texts. Really, if I could have reached through the phone and throttle him, I would have.
He did perform the chores I listed and sent me pictures of all of them. He got the WiFi password.
But his behavior didn’t improve all that much, so we changed it again that night. The next morning, another list went up on the fridge. More chores. I made him earn that password.
By the third day, he had it down. I think (I hope) he learned something from that. He tone was much more respectful. He sent me the proof of his chores without complaint. I claimed that as a small victory.
Being a parent is hard. It’s not a job for the faint of heart. Are there days I want to run away? Sure. But I don’t. I stick it out because the days when you see you have a great kid who finally tells you thank you or hugs you for no reason…that’s when it’s all worth it.