We are those “wacky” parents that don’t allow our kids to play with electronic devices outside of our home, except in extreme circumstances.
We have a “no phones at the dinner-table” rule, and our kids probably yell at the adults more often than we yell at them. It’s pretty rare to see our kids with an electronic device at a restaurant now — they know it’s rude, and if we’re out in public, we are to — get this — interact. Look in people’s eyes, and have a conversation. If they don’t feel up to chatting, they can get creative with paper and markers.
I know, we’re SO strict.
However — because we don’t take our devices out of the house very often, they have set screen-times at home, and, well, we’re fairly lax (see also: lazy, cheap) on the whole “case” thing. My iPad case fell apart a few months ago, and the kids got annoyed by the flimsy case, so they removed it, and we never invested in a new one.
Recently… my 10yo was walking with the iPad while playing a game (also on “don’t do that” list… but… no one was watching her, so, whatever!) and somehow, she managed to klutzify the situation — and BOOM!
All I heard was:
MASSIVE EAR PIERCING SCREAMING CRYING YELLING AND… NOOOOO!!!!!!
Did she break a bone? Should I dial 911?!
If she knew how to swear, she would’ve.
She’s a good kid. She doesn’t.
Maybe we should check her DNA.
When I found her a split 5 seconds later, I had to stop myself from MASSIVELY SCREAMING AND SWEARING AND YELLING AT HER! OMFG! BEER ME!! NOOOO!!!
My 7yo was also a mess… naturally, they both loved my iPad. They played with that thing more than I did. My use was more for reading e-books and work… ok, ok, and the screen-time sitter in the morning, let’s be honest here, I’ve got shit to do.
I turned off the iPad immediately. But the thing, as you can see?! Smashola.
We have about 4 square feet of ceramic tile in our entire house. She managed to drop it right. there.
The hubs has dropped – and repaired – his fair share of iPhone screens… but he was not so sure about this iPad repair.
After I cooled off, breathed, and tried to console my 10yo, my brain swirled to that awful commercial the girls and I have made fun of over the last few months. Ya know, the one where the kid in a cape jumps on the dishwasher door and the mom looks at him, sort of laughs it off and calls the Sears repairman? And then the kid looks at the magically repaired dishwasher like he’s gonna do it again? The kid didn’t learn his lesson. My kids and I hate that damn commercial. My own kids think the commercial mom is a terrible mom for not following through and teaching the kid a lesson.
But… *is* this the same damn situation?!
My kid didn’t throw the iPad.
She didn’t jump on it.
She didn’t do it on purpose.
No capes were involved.
Accidents happen, but there are still consequences for actions — even if they are accidents.
When we were kids, wait, wait — let me grab my cane — back in my day… if we hit a baseball into the neighbor’s window — whoops — but you KNOW our parents would make us go apologize in person and do chores to pay for that window, right?
As adults — we get into a car accident — we have to pay for the repairs. Sometimes, more than that… a ticket, points on our license, etc.
Responsibility. What a concept.
Shit happens. And whether it’s an accident or on purpose, as parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our kids learn that their actions have consequences.
Parenting is hard! Our 10yo is a good kid. She’s smart. She doesn’t require punishments often, and this was a really tough one, since she did already lose the iPad. But, so did her sister. And so did her parents for that matter!
So… I went old school. I gave her a list of chores to make up for the tools and the repair guy (dad) to free her debt. We talked about it the whole way, so she was aware of the situation and why it was happening. Taking responsibility for her actions and whatnot. She was not super happy about it — but it has been a good lesson for all of us.
The good news is that even though the chores, and the lesson were tough for my 10yo, she eventually accepted everything, and the iPad was… wait for it… FIXED. YES! We will chalk this one up as a win — all around! Woohoo! Beer me more!
I’m pretty sure I aged 15 years and earned 500 grey hairs dealing with this issue. But it is one of those things I knew the hubs and I had to attack with a strong united front — not simply throw money at, not say “poor kid” and blow off. The consequences of those actions could’ve been detrimental to the future of our parenting, and to our children.
Maybe we do sound strict, awful and heartless. It sucks to grow up!
Hopefully our “strict” attitude will lead to raising two healthy, happy adults that respect boundaries, who understand that good feeling that comes from taking responsibility and helping others.