Monday, February 15, 2016

It's a Control Thing, or is he a Junkie?

With all the snow days (hello two more this week) we have been a little more lax with our tablet and computer gaming policies. Seriously, we can only play SO MANY board games in a week before we can't stand any more.

And we have noticed there is *something* about the video games that act like THC or heroin or something in our little guy's brain, because he can't stop playing. Furthermore, his life seems to revolve around playing to the point where he tries to manipulate other areas of his life to get more game time. Consider this conversation:
"Mom, can I play tablet?"

"Not right now"
"Can I play Legos?"


"How long will I need to play Legos in order to earn tablet time?"

"It doesn't work that way"

"What do I have to build then, in order to earn tablet time?"
If I wanted to keep going with this conversation I could fill entire days with banal discussion about *any other* activity may be parlayed into earning tablet time. For instance, "If I eat 5 brussels sprouts, can I get 10 minutes of tablet time?"

We have even made him run on the treadmill for tablet time, which he will do for 90  minutes in a stretch just to get 30 minutes of tablet time.

The only other place I've seen this single minded drive has been with drug addicted adults and teens. This kid has dedicated his life to scoring time on the tablet, and then when he DOES get the tablet, he plays the most mindless games. Stuff without a plot, and just explosion after explosion. He drifts off to a place I don't understand.

I am so not an 8 year old boy.

I've been trying to figure out if it's a control issue outside of the game, like maybe he feels he is manipulating adults by scoring tablet time, because he knows we don't like him to use it. Once I explained to him that tablet time is at my sole discretion and that he can't "make" me give it to him, he calmed down a bit.

But um... so far 34 requests for tablet already today and it's 1pm.


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