Video Addiction | Teaching Self-Government

Video Addiction

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How do you parent a child who is red/yellow when you are a white/blue? My son and I are so entirely different and he's so impulsive (almost destructive) that it completely shakes my world. I often find him sneaking downstairs and turning on the Wii (which we only permit on Friday and Saturday as a privilege). Even though he receives consequences (extra chores, etc.) the benefit from sneaking still outweighs the consequences he receives.

He is extremely smart and creative, however, I find it hard to adapt and allow him to explore. Just a small example is that when I came into the kitchen, he had poured most of my white vinegar into a large pitcher and added a lot of baking soda to it to see what would happen. Of course, a nice reaction occurred (like a volcano) causing messes in the kitchen (not to mention "wasted" ingredients). My personality is such that I was upset by the experiment because I would have preferred to do that in a more controlled environment where I could measure out the amounts, etc. I ended up pouring out the concoction down the drain which resulted in him screaming, crying, and locking himself in his room. Apparently he had wanted to show his dad when he got home. He's 6.

This is just one example of MANY impulsive and messy things (some dangerous, like running away or approaching every stranger -- good trait, but not when I can't see him). Needless to say, I have no idea how to channel his enthusiasm and spontaneity in a good direction. His motivation is definitely video games, however, I don't want to corrupt his little spirit by allowing him to play too often. When he plays he gets angry and so focused that nothing else matters (hence the Friday/Saturday rule right now). My sister suggested that if I let him play video games more, then maybe he wouldn't try to sneak so much.

I am reading and enjoying your book right now, and I'm realizing just how different I am from my son. I also have six children, so it's hard to find one on one attention for all of them. It's hard even going in public because he has a hard time following orders and frequently runs off. I've had to put him in the shopping cart multiple times to keep him with us. Am I being too strict and rigid? How do I allow him some "free" time and trust that he won't get hurt? We live in such a different world today than the one in which I grew up. Any advice would be great :)