The enforcer


Oh, boy, am I unpopular with my kids right now.

You know, way back when I thought about what kind of mom I would be when the time came, I had rosy visions of reading together, making meals together, listening well, giving big warm hugs, bedtime routines, birthday parties.  I didn't really dream of being the bad guy.  The enforcer. (Ba ba BUUM.)

But, sure enough, that's what's called for sometimes.  I'm a parent not a pal, as the lady on the morning talk show said a while back (although, really, I'd love to be a Lorelei, Gilmore Girls-type mom. She seemed to pull off the pal+parent thing, plus witty banter. I know, it's just a tv show.)

We've had some chronic problems with technology use and rule breaking around here and it reached a boiling point this weekend so we held a grand Family Summit on Technology OverUse (you know, the FSoTOU). We ended up with: 

Consequence A: one child* can't use the computer nor stay home alone with the computer for a week (broke house rule about not going on the computer when you're home alone, sneaked on and then tried to cover it up.  Good try attempting to fool The Enforcer!).

Consequence B: one child* will have certain "texting hours" every evening/afternoon but put away the phone the rest of the time (had banked a shocking 8000 texts in one month. Yikes. I'm not sure I could think of 8000 things to say in one month. Moderation, anyone?)

Consequence C: one child* has lost cell phone privileges altogether for two weeks and will gradually be able to get it back (chronically texting after hours/lights out and throughout the school day. I mean, really. How can you listen in class if you are texting every few minutes? Come on. Plus it's against school rules. Those cell phone bills are fantastic aids for this kind of sleuthing, I found out this weekend.) 

Here's the thing. I had no idea until I checked the phone bill. Surprise! (Not in a good way.)  So we enforced. There were tears and some cold shoulders for a bit. Now I'm mostly noticing more book reading, more conversations, more presence, more of how we want to be (or at least how I want us to be). 

And in the meantime I'm looking more closely at my own technology habits (+ knowing I am being watched carefully for slip-ups). How does your family manage the technology pull? How do you?

*may or may not be same child in more than one scenario.