Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Battle of the wills

Trying to curtail your teenager's screen time is a little like living through some of the Old Testament prophets and their times. I've been through Jeremiah, Lamentations, Daniel and now Hosea -- just for a little light reading.

Ironically, the notebook I use to jot down thoughts from my daily devotions used to belong to my teenager when he was little -- it started life as a "war" book, and the first page is a highly detailed battle scene, with tanks, and stick figures holding on to their helmets, sandbags and barbed wire.

Appropriate, I'd say. Most days, it feels like charging the ramparts in a tank, or at the very least wearing a pith helmet, scrambling up sandbags, scaling barbed wire, and blasting the enemy media crap with both barrels.

Sadly, the battle imagery is just that -- imagery. You can't use it for real, because it won't get you anywhere. But reason doesn't work either. I'm finding it has to be replacement strategies, just like you did with your two-year-old -- "oh look Timmy there's a bulldozer over there" while you hastily snatch the bag of candies out of reach.

Except teenagers are a lot quicker than toddlers, and a lot more ornery when you tangle with them.

So, instead, we use "incentives" -- cuz money talks.

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