Yes, it even happens to those of us who have written books on the subject of parenting. I'm definitely in the midst of one of those mix-baking-soda-and-vinegar parenting experiments I talk about in my book.
My kids have become spoiled- not super-spoiled, but we're at the taking-things-for-granted stage of being pre-teens. My daughter has her phone, which she is always on, and The Ginger recently acquired Hubby's old phone, which he uses to play games on while connected to our wifi. Because my kids are constantly distracted by their electronic devices, it's a daily struggle in my house to get them to do their chores. Forget about asking them to do something outside their normal realm, too; any request is immediately met with grumbles, excuses and the beginnings of backtalk (which get shut down really quickly).
And yet, my kids think they are entitled to their phones/electronic devices because they are theirs.
We have taken away the devices before, and of course behavior improves. Then, as soon as they get those shiny little boxes back into their hands, they are right back to being lazy, griping trolls.
I'm at my wit's end. I'm ready to banish all electronics during the evening, yes, even for Hubby and I. My philosophy is to lead by example. If I'm reading a book instead of playing on my phone, my kids will read a book instead of play on their phones. If my phone is on the kitchen island for the night, and texts and emails can wait until I go to bed, then everyone's phones can be on the kitchen island, and texts and emails can wait until bedtime.
This is where Hubby and I are seriously butting heads.
He's a do as I say, not as I do type of person. He feels that because he's the parent, he can play on his phone all night, stay glued to the computer while watching TV at the same time, but he can tell the kids not to do the same. Why? Because he's the adult and they are the children.
This makes me want to scratch my nails down my face. One of my biggest parenting pet peeves is Do As I Say, Not as I Do parents, and I'm married to one.
And for the record, I didn't know I was married to one until our kids became of the age where lead by example started to affect things we find enjoyable, like playing on our phones.
When I first suggested that we all practiced self-control when it came to our phones and electronic devices in
the evenings, Hubby's reaction was immediate opposition. Why should he be punished because the kids were spoiled? Why should he not be allowed some relaxation time, doing something he enjoys, after a hard day's work, just because the kids couldn't strike a balance between work and play?
Then he pointed the finger at me by saying that I'm just as guilty of playing on my phone in the evenings as he is. He said I wouldn't be able to give it up, either.
Au contraire, mon cheri. Yes, my phone goes off a lot in the evenings; I run a business and a blog. But I am so ready to pull my hair out over this scenario that I have realized that there isn't anything that can't wait when it comes to emails or my websites. If a custom order request comes in, and the person can't wait 2 hours for my reply, then maybe I wasn't the right person to make their item. If a website wants to do an interview with me on such-and-such topic, and don't understand that I'm a mom blogger (key word being mom) with mom responsibilities, then maybe they didn't really want my opinion on the subject.
So yes, I'm ready to put my phone on the kitchen island and call it an evening each night. But not Hubby. And I find it really difficult to make my kids do it while not practicing the same healthy habit.
And yes, I understand I am the parent and they are the child, and you should know by now (if you are a regular here to Inklings) that my kids do not rule anything in this house. But we've tried taking away their phones while continuing to play on ours. It hasn't worked. So, now I feel something more is needed, and I feel that step is to lead by example.
We live in such a technology-driven society nowadays, that I told my best friend I was ready for a "Revolution"-style global power grid failure, I'm so done with this shit. No electricity, no internet, no phones. She said I'd go crazy. I'm inclined to agree with her at first, but I think I'd adjust. Cold baths would suck, that's for sure. And waiting for my coffee to heat up over a fire would be torture, but at least my family would have to pull together in order to just get through daily life.
Unfortunately, this is one of those posts where I don't have a conclusion. I don't have a this-is-what-we-tried-and-it-worked-so-here-it-is post today. I have an any-suggestions-or-stories-of-how-you-dealt-with-this-are-greatly-appreciated post today. So please, comment below.
In the meantime, I'm going to try and find some compromise between Hubby's do as I say, not as I do parenting and my lead by example parenting. Maybe no phone/electronic devices for a certain time frame at night? Maybe limited phone time to answer important things, but not to just simply play on the phones?
Or, maybe I need to catch up on "Revolution" to see how this global power grid failure thing goes down.