Drawing the Line

I hated to do it, but…


Let me preface this by saying that, overall, both of my girls are amazing and wonderful. I’ve seen some kids who were a handful of rotten, and my girls aren’t. They have good hearts and try hard.

That said, my little one has now driven me to issue edicts. And I HATE to issue edicts.

Each morning, the hour gets later and later. She eats breakfast around noon, slouches about with hair unbrushed, chores not done, teeth unbrushed, and obsessively sits in front of her computer. For the first five years of her life, she had no idea how to operate a remote, and no interest in learning how. For the first eight years of her life, computers were these boring things she wanted nothing to do with.

It seems that Em has been making up for lost time in the past year, and it has gone from bad to worse.

Even in the heat of the summer, faced with soaring temps in her bedroom (we have a handful of window units, but none of them are in her room), she spends hour after hour in front of the computer, watching videos on YouTube and Netflix and playing Minecraft.

This has continued, to the exclusion of anything else, and become a real issue. Especially because she isn’t even doing the basics (listed below). This morning, I found I had had enough.

It was 10:30 and I had already had to argue with her over taking a bath. What kid besides mine hates baths? It’s insane! She hadn’t even eaten breakfast, and of course she hadn’t checked on the chickens.

I promptly issued the following edict:

Every morning, seven days a week, before you can get on the computer, TV, or any other electronic device you must complete the following:

• Take bath (if bath day)
• Brush hair
• Get dressed
• Eat breakfast
• Brush teeth
• Take care of chickens

If you do not do this, and get on a computer etc, before you are finished, the computer and all electronic devices will be seized and held for ransom for a period of at least ONE day for first offense, and increasing with each further offense. This includes usage of cell phone for Pokemon Go et cetera.

In addition, during the school year, on a school night (Sunday through Friday nights) you are to turn off your computer by 9pm and brush your teeth. Failure to do so will result in the same punishment listed above.

You are old enough to remember, to read a clock, and to be held accountable for your actions.

I’ve sent it in email form to her sister, her dad, and Em herself. I’m also printing it and posting it at eye level on the wall of her bedroom.

In just 2 1/2 months, Em will be ten. By her age I was waking up to an alarm in order to get my mother up and ready for work on time. I made sure she had coffee and often had to wake her up several times before she had it together enough (she was working a job late at night to make ends meet). And I was responsible for feeding myself, packing my own lunch, and riding my bicycle to school every day.

Em can do this, and I need to put my foot down and say “Enough is enough!”

It’s all about boundaries…

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