It had to be done. We made a new rule in our house when school started. Specifically, we said this to our three boys:
Sorry dudes, No Video Games During the Week anymore.
Yes, this was a dark, dark day in their 8, 12, and 15 year old lives. And, this is what happened [not necessarily in this order]:
Little Dude laid down on the floor and refused to get up. He said he was quitting football, baseball, and life.
Middle Dude begged and pleaded and promised to do all his homework as soon as he got home every day, and said he’d never, ever curse again. (Umm, didn’t you learn most of those curse words FROM the video games?)
Big Dude claimed he didn’t care. After all, he’s a big high school guy now and wouldn’t have time for games during the week. But still, he walked around the house muttering, “what am I going to do now?”
After their moaning, crying, and complaining, they pretended they were over it. But, I knew better. They discreetly went searching for those Xbox controllers because they knew I had to hide them in order to enforce this new rule. After tearing apart the basement, the dudes turned up nothing, other than re-discovering the game of ping pong, and playing a few rounds of indoor baseball, using the couch cushions as bases. Yup, they not only survived — but thrived — as they realized they still enjoyed other indoor activities besides maniacally pressing buttons and staring at a TV screen until their eyes are glazed and red.
I’m not patting myself on the back just yet, though. I know I have some tough days and weeks ahead as they continue to go through withdrawal from their video game addiction. I know it will get worse before it gets better. But, some day I hope they’ll realize the rule was the right thing to do. I just hope I have the strength to keep it going because it’s so much easier to let them zone out on those games than it is for me to re-direct them to more productive (or at least less addicting) activities. In the meantime, please send me Valium because I’m going to need it.
What happens when you change the rules in your house?