When Coby started to get a kick out of the digital world, Peewee and I imposed some rules about computer/gadget use. We saw that there was a NEED to limit his use of technology.
To years ago, the rule was only one hour of computer daily. Eventually, he has discovered new games and has developed technical skills that would warrant more time spent on the computer. This rule didn’t work in the long run because I saw that he couldn’t keep himself focused on school. He was getting impatient with the lessons but too eager to go play his favorite Roblox game. School hours were shortened of our heated discussions over his lack of focus. A drastic change of plan was needed to address this.
During this time, Jianne has been bitten by the virtual bug too, so Peewee and I had to make rules for both kids. Instead of allowing them an hour each to play everyday, computer time was set only on weekends.
It worked for about a year or so. Since Coby has nothing to look forward to after school, he became more focused on his lessons and attentive. On weekends, both kids showed how “digitally deprived” they were over the week as they stay glued to whatever technology they held on to.
Then, they met new friends in the neighborhood. These new friends would come to the house almost every afternoon to play especially on weekends. At times, I noticed that when their playmate comes over on weekends, Coby would make excuses not to go out and play. He didn’t need to tell me why, I had a hunch that he couldn’t let go of his precious computer time.
We would tell him shut down the PC and play, he would be too tired to even talk to his friend. He ended up drained and wasted.
This went on for months and I started to think twice about our rules. Honestly, I’d rather that he play with his friend outdoors than sit in front of the computer or tinkering the iPad the whole afternoon, potentially damaging his eyesight and lose a friend in the process.
So, over the weekend, I shared my observation to Peewee. I asked him if it would be a good idea to change the rule again. Peewee agreed and told me to give it a shot and see if it works. We are hoping that Coby would be able to manage his time well this time, focus on school despite the privilege given to him.
Monday afternoon, after all the school work, I told them that about the change that was about to take place. They can no longer use their gadgets during weekends. But they would be allowed a maximum of 2 hours Monday to Friday to work and play on the computer or iPad. I added that this week would be a trial week and see if it works for everybody.
Of course, this got these two excited and immediately logged on to their favorite games.
I was hesitant to change the rules because I might send mixed signals to the kids that we are not being consistent or firm. But then if the rule is not working anymore, how can we not alter it for the better? Why insist on some rule when it’s no longer doing any good to the children? Rather, as parents we need to ask God for wisdom to find a better ways to bring harmony in the home without compromising discipline.
I remember our head pastor say in one of his parenting seminars, “Listen to your children and don’t be afraid to change the rules if you have to. Adjust when needed.”
I’m looking forward to the end of this week and will be updating you on the kids’ response to the change.
Have you changed any rules in your family recently that has a positive effect on the children? I’d love to hear how it worked for you.