Last week, on 4th of July, my husband and I decided to run in the local race in our community. After the race we showered and flopped down on the bed. We checked in on Nicolas, he was fine playing his Gameboy 3D, so we took a nap. Before taking this nap we explained clearly several times that we were leaving at 5:30 to head down to the football stadium for the concert and firework show. We even explained to him that the Gameboy was going to stay home. He seemed to understand. Seemed is the best word to describe it!
About 30 minutes before we needed to leave, we gave our warning and reminder to Nolan that it was time to go to the field. We told him the time we needed to leave. He said, “okay, got it!” Upon leaving, Nolan becomes flustered. He said, “you never said anything about leaving and going to fireworks!” And the drama begins.
We reminded him that we did tell him however, he probably didn’t listen carefully. After several minutes of “you didn’t tell me!” and our response of “yes we did, you didn’t hear us”, we finally jumped in the car and headed down. I noticed the Gameboy in the car. I told Nicolas this was family time and the Gameboy needs to stay in the car. He seemed okay with the idea of leaving the Gameboy in the car.
Once at the football field, we sat down on the 30 yard line. We had a great view of the stage for the concert. My husband and I were so excited. The English Beat played. It brought us back to our high school days of social awkwardness and ska music. Anyway, the band wasn’t going to be on for another hour. So we sat, relaxed and waited. However, Nolan couldn’t get his mind off that G in the car. The tantrum had started.
He began screaming, “you call this family time? we aren’t even talking. We are just sitting here. Why can’t I have my Gameboy? There is nothing to do.” Our response was simple “we are spending time together. If you want to walk around and look for friends from school, go walk around. However, the Gameboy stays in the car.” The evening escalated to the point where he was scratching at the Astroturf trying to dig a hole. Good luck with that!
My husband and I decided that he really wanted negative attention. We were not going to engage. We made a decision and we were sticking to it. Finally the band came on and David and I hit the dance floor like it was the 1980’s. We were not going to let Nolan’s teenage tantrum ruin our night.
This entire scenario was really our fault. We have indulged Nolan with this Gameboy 3D since he was younger. We knew that anytime he was bored all we had to do is whip out this contraption and presto Nolan would no longer be bored. Hind sight being 20/20, I realize this was not the best solution. So, what are we doing about this situation now? Well since the teenage tantrum, we have removed all computer appliances. They are being kept in a secret location to protect the innocent. When Nolan earns his game time, he only gets one hour per day during the summer. He can even earn bonus time of another 30 minutes if he visits with guests or is helpful around the house.
It really is perfectly fine for children to be bored. This is when they must learn to converse, create, and learn patients. If they aren’t bored from time to time, than children might grow up to be adults who think there is always instant gratification and he/she must be fully entertained at all times of the day. This is not the reality. For our house, we have put the brakes on these electronics. We have begun using the public libraries and neighborhood pools and beaches more. We have required Nicolas to pick camps for the summer so he isn’t sitting at home all day.