Checkmate, a Ninja Fortress and tall tales from a tech-free week

Every choice has it’s consequence; and this lesson is so often learned the hard way.  Last week, my son – who is 8 – made a bad choice and he got caught. By me.  While I don’t yell or ‘get mad’, we do talk seriously about the choice and how it’s wrong and how he could have made small changes for a better outcome. And we do consequences in our house. Real ones. That stick. It’s important to me to try and teach him to realize the power of his actions and to take responsibility for the choices he makes.  And that it’s ok to make mistakes, it’s how we handle them that counts. And to be honest, no matter how hard it might be; that we can work it out together if he’s honest.

So, here’s the scoop. He and I were playing a game together – on our iPod and iPad  [we are two digital peas in one tech pod!] and I discovered that he had downloaded a couple of apps onto my iPad that I had repeatedly said no to. This was a triple whammy – he accessed my iTunes account while it was still ‘open’ after I had put in my password, he clicked download and he {well, I really} bought three apps he knew were off limits.  The good news is, soon as I asked him, he fessed up, readily and honestly. For that I am most proud. We talked about his choices and he cried { oh, he’d be so mad at me for telling you that } and it was undeniable that  he was upset – and not just because he got caught. He was mad at himself and I think he really hated letting me down.

I deleted the apps, we cuddled up and he cried some more and I said we would talk about it  in the morning; that there would be a consequence and we would decide together the next day.  He understands consequence – and he knows there will be no getting out of it.

So, because he misused technology {and my trust} and because it’s his favorite way to spend his free time,  it was decided that the consequence would be technology related. His consequence would be NO technology of any kind for 8 days – the cost of the three apps combined {that was his idea } – and it would involve two whole weekends.  No TV. No iPod. No Wii. No computer. No iPad. Nada. Zip. Zilch. No technology. And this held even if he went to a friend’s house.  Painful.

He accepted his fate without complaint, negotiation or grumbling. What I noticed though was that as the days went by…he was finding new, and imaginative things to do; and engaging me a lot more in the process!

He started off with asking for the paints and any canvases I had on hand; and he painted. And he painted. Our home is filled with his art now. It’s awesome!

Sometimes we will watch a family show while we eat dinner; but since that wasn’t an option, kiddo asked if we could play cards while we ate, as a family. Even the dog got into the game!  True family time!

We made “sun art” together and had fun experimenting with this cool art form { I will be back later with more on this! }

Kiddo rediscovered his EXTENSIVE Lego collection and spent hours building and creating. What I love most about this? He built a cool  hang out place for his ‘guys’ so that they could play VIDEO GAMES! Don’t ya just love the way the mind of a kid works!

Notice – each figure has his own video game station!

I think it must have been ‘payback’ when he brought out the chess set. And proceeded to TEACH me how to play.  He was a patient teacher but insistent. It took us two days to finish the game that HE WON!  Checkmate. Did I mention that he’s 8?

Then we played Scrabble.  But, I restored my pride with a clear win for mom on that one. Whew!

And it was a close call, but he took me down in Battleship. It was really close. Really. Hit. Sunk.

The paints came back out and more canvases filled. This one was done with a focus and determination I hadn’t seen before and when I asked about it, the response I got was

“I am painting what I saw in my dream. It’s a ninja fortress.”

One of the sweetest moments in the week though, was when I thought he was out shooting hoops, and instead I found him sitting up in our tree in the front yard reading a book he had asked me to order through Amazon…”How I survived the Titanic” .

But the moment of all moments came towards the end of the week, the end of the consequence…spring break had begun, and he went to a  day long activity camp and when the camp counselor told the kids that they would be watching a movie during lunch, he spoke up and said he was not allowed to watch TV because he had a no-technology consequence!  The camp called my husband to check in { probably hoping they didn’t have to come up with a different plan for just one kid! } who of course said the movie would be just fine.

Hearing this story later on, I realized that it’s in those moments that the difficult, not-so-fun moments of parenting are all so very much more than worth it. When being the parent and not the buddy is paramount. When you realize that the little voice inside helping steer us is mostly right most of the time; we just have to trust it and buckle up for the ride.  The choices he made had been completely owned; he understood what he had done and why it was wrong and was willing to take the consequence in stride.  Any fleeting frustration  was gone, and restored was my full admiration for this creative and growing-up-boy.  And, as it turns out we had way more fun that week than we imagined!

{ gadget girl here to say, cheers to unplugging every now and then! }

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9 thoughts on “Checkmate, a Ninja Fortress and tall tales from a tech-free week

    • Pam…thanks so much…you made my day with this – it was such an amazing week of ups and downs! That kid surprises me almost daily, and it was a learning experience for me as much as him. Thanks for your AWESOME comments. You rock too!

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    • Leslie – thanks for stopping by to read the tall tales 🙂 and leaving a note – it’s always great when the difficult moments can teach us such valuable lessons! Thanks for being here!

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  1. I love a kid reading so the pic of him in the tree I particularly liked. Sounds like you have a very creative kid.

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    • Kristy – yes…a creative kid for sure! It was so awesome to find him reading in our tree…he must have been up there for half an hour! And I agree…great to see a kiddo reading!

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    • Hi there – thanks for reading my recap of tall tales of the week…and so glad you loved it. He’s a great kid – for sure – keeps me thinking all the time!

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