Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Staged a Preschool Intervention-Part 1, How I ruined my son's life.

Disclaimer: It's a longish post but I promise that it reads quick.
I just have to get this out! You can send me a bill for your time.
Thanks for the therapy!

Hi, my name is Leigh and my child is addicted to the television.
He is also addicted to video games and listening to really bad hip hop.
The arrival of summer brought us countless hours to fill
and I could no longer deny my son's addiction.
It was so easy to just let him plop in front of the TV or let him play a video game
but he was acting wackadoo as a result of doing it too much.
I felt a loss of control over my home.

Not only that, but I had become too lenient about what I allowed him to watch.
Spongebob is the gateway show.
Before you know it, they'll be asking to watch Fanboy and Chum Chum.
That show is just wrong on so many levels.
I mean, just look at these guys,
they are not to be trusted.

Oh, but it was worse than that. We had made a big mistake
by letting him play a few video games that were rated "E 10 and up".
(for those non savvy gamers out there, that means
that everyone can play it who is 10 years old and up)
He has mad skills when it comes to video gaming.
If I had my wits about me, I would have him
gaming at tournaments on a competitive level.
We could probably win some cold hard cash.
The kid is five, not ten, and although he can throw down with the best of them,
fighting games were causing him to be more aggressive.
It didn't help that as Hulk hit these dudes in the face
he would yell "HULK WANTS ICE CREAM!!!"
Do you know how many times a day a 5 year old can yell that in one day?
A lot, trust me!

While I'm confessing here, I might as well fess up
to the fact that he likes to listen to really bad hip hop in the car.
I like to throw my hands in the air and wave em' like I just don't care with the best of them
but when he was singing "Forget about your boyfriend and meet me at the hotel"
to my Mom, I knew that it was just wrong.

We were spiralling out of control.
It was time for things to go on lock down and I knew that we had to
make some serious changes around here.
I could no longer be an enabler or take the easy road out of convenience.
I expect more from myself and my children.

So, I staged a preschool intervention that included me, Koen, Griffin, Rocco, Vic, and Uno.
Granted, the last three attendees are Griffin's imaginary friends
and well, Koen really can't talk yet,
but it was important to include all of the special people in his life.

I told Griffin that his brain needed to be filled with good images.
No more shows on Nickelodeon that were rated "Y7."
No more songs on the radio that talked about girls wearing Apple Bottom Jeans.
No more video games where characters beat each other up.
This was how part of the conversation went:

G: Well, when will I be able to play a Tony Hawk video game? I was thinking
that I should get to play it soon.
Me: Hmmm...isn't that rated T for Teen?
G: Yeah...just cause there's blood and the skaters say bad words.
I won't say any bad words, I swear.
Me: You can't play that game until you're a teenager.
G: (rolling his eyes) Mom, I'm almost 6!!!!

We were not off to a good start. Then, I dropped a bomb on him.
We were going to watch less TV and he was going to play more and use his (gasp) imagination. He stomped his feet, he folded his arms across his chest, and said that I was ruining his life.
It was not pretty but I stood my ground.
I sat and witnessed a temper tantrum of gargantuan proportions.
Once he settled down, I moved to Phase 2 of my preschool intervention.

Tune in tomorrow to find out how Popsicle sticks
saved my son's life from falling into ruins.


Caroline said...

Good for you! I think we've all had moments where there has been too much of one thing or another, but I definitely agree with you that monitoring TV and gaming time and ratings is an awesome idea. Even if they hate it, it's for their own good. My husband is actually the one who keeps us on our toes about those things.
With that being said, as not to totally poo-poo all things animated--did you happen to see the amazing Story of Pixar on Monday night? It was so inspiring. The animators that helped to develop that company were brilliant and now they are millionaires. And if it's any consolation to you, they were likely gamers and Spongebob lovers as well! :)

R Montalban said...

I am smiling hard as I read your email - Fanboy & Chum Chum - Dexter watches them and we all love SPongebob but also iCarly and Drake & Josh and scarily "How I met your Mother"!!!

Games, well he didn't really get into them until recently and the ones he does do are the Lego ones and beautiful katamari which are actually ok, the latter being very cute and colourful. Also, on the i-phone, he enjoys playing angry birds which is ok - don't know if you have an i-phone?

He sounds like a very bright wee dude, and I love how you got the imaginary friends to join in - that's a cartoon I love too have they seen it?

Dexter knows he can watch them but only if he has done various things - e.g. done homework (in the morning he can only switch on the tv if he is dressed, ready for school, teeth brushed, eaten breakfast, etc) and we go out at the weekends a lot (as you will see from the amount of blog postings I seem to be doing).

Look forward to seeing what happens, and you sound like a great mum - perhaps you could get him to win time on the TV/Games if he maybe does something really great like (draw a picture of his favourite things and explain why they are good/not good) that way you can check if he is understanding right/wrong of what he is seeing/interpreting?

Karen Mortensen said...

Love it and good for you. Be strong. I can't wait to find out how things turn out. Too bad Oprah is going off. this would make a good show.

FrouFrouBritches said...

I'm so impressed with you!!! I'm new here and I am pretty sure we could be twins. I have an 8 year old who is obsessed with Mario!! UGH! I am addicted to TV too though so I have a hard time limiting their addiction. I, also, am an enabler! Totally agree that Spongebob is the gateway TV show too!

cathyjoy said...

i'm totally snortin when thinkin about a 5-year-old hulk runnin through the house screamin "I want ice cream"!!! too funny! But? good for you for takin a stand. i'll be prayin you can keep standin cause i know how the little ones can wear. you. down.

Tracie said...

I'm still laughing at Spongebob being a gateway show.

PS My boys kick my arse at Tony Hawk. We're bad.