I struggle with setting limits on IPad use with my 9-year-old son.
Usually, I tell him to stop and he would keep asking for more time. I would think how ungrateful he is, that he should follow the rules, and why can’t he stop when it’s time? Cynthia and I discussed how I could calmly set the limit. I took her advice and added on a twist.
My son knew that he has one hour each day during the weekend to play his electronic games. When the time was up I said, “Times up.” I didn’t get into arguing or getting mad. Sometimes he asks to play a little more. I realize that I didn’t want to be rigid, yet I didn’t want him to think that his arguing would regularly result in getting more time. Rather,
I decided to offer a compromise so I said, “If you play 10 more minutes now, then you will have 10 minutes less next time. It’s your choice.”
He agreed. I could have easily forgotten the reduced time if I didn’t carefully keep track of it. To be efficient, I wrote a note about 10 minutes less time and I posted it on our board for everyone to see. This way, I wasn’t responsible for telling him next time that he had fewer minutes. Instead, he saw his agreement clearly posted on the board. He had accepted the agreement and he felt empowered to honor his decision.
I was shocked when at the beginning of his next gaming time he said, “Mom, I have 10 minutes less today.”
He set the timer for 50 minutes and got off on time without asking for more. He seemed to gain power through being independent and responsible rather than through rebellion against the time limit.
I felt good about myself because I wasn’t taken advantage of and therefore I didn’t get angry. He knows I’m clear on the rule but I’ll bend a bit as long as he bends as well the next time he plays. I am teaching him the value of give-and-take as well as the importance of following my guidelines.
Thank you for your guidance, Cynthia. It’s good working together to find solutions that work for me and my family.
Check out Cynthia’s upcoming book, Ally Parenting – A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation at www.allyparenting.com.
©2017 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Family Success Coach since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She works with parents of 5 – 25 year-old children.
To learn how Cynthia can help you solve your specific challenges, contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthi[email protected], or 650. 679.8138 to have a complementary 45-minute discovery session. Why keep suffering? It’s time to change!