I love my boys. They’re good kids, respectful (most of the time) and hard working (again, most of the time.) I really couldn’t ask for more.
I have noticed, however, that something comes over them as they become teenagers. There is a small amount of testing the boundaries. OK, some days there’s a lot of testing. This is not at all unexpected and I don’t think for a second that they are approaching rebellion. They just do things occasionally that they know they we’ve asked them not to.
The latest example of this comes from my middle child. He’s usually the most responsible of my children. Usually.
Actually, I think I need to back up a bit and tell you where I’m going with this.
We had been having some issues with the boys staying up later than they should and playing on their computers or phones. It’s not as though they were being overtly sneaky about it but, if we didn’t check on them, they stayed on-line far longer than they were supposed to.
Again, I see this as totally normal for today’s teens. Nothing crazy, just irritating.
One morning a few weeks ago, I noticed that I had not heard middle child’s alarm go off for school. Because it wasn’t the first time in recent history, I was getting a little tired of having to wake his cute butt up. He’s nearly 15, he should be able to get up for school on his own. As I opened the door to his room, I noticed that he had made a fatal mistake. I had to push a towel away from the bottom of the door as I opened it.
Oh! He was so busted!
I’ve seen the towel trick before when his older brother tried it out a couple of years ago. Dude! If you’re going to put a towel at the bottom of the door to block out the light (or the sound as he confessed to later) pick it up before you go to bed! Don’t get caught with it the next morning!
I basically told him this as I woke him up and tossed the towel at him. Teenagers!
But here’s the thing, while I appreciate this is part of the whole teenager process, I’m just tired of it. I hate to nag at them probably about as much as they hate being nagged at. Of course you can’t get up on time if you stay up so freaking late on the computer. It’s not rocket science!
I’m just too lazy to try and stay up late every night to make sure they actually go to sleep when they should. So, I took a different approach.
Why be confrontational when I can be sneaky?
I asked my darling husband about the optional parental controls on the router. Could we actually shut off their internet connection at a certain time depending on the day?
The answer? Why, yes you can!
Neil configured the whole thing so that the boys’ computers (and every other device that can connect to the internet) are cut off each night at a reasonable time. It’s later than when the lights are supposed to be out but not so late they can’t get up the next day.
We did this without telling them.
I know, I’m evil.
I wanted to see how long it would take for one of them to say something. I told you, I’m mean like that. LOL! If they said anything, they basically had to confess to breaking the rules. If they said nothing, then no harm, no foul. So, I sat back and waited.
It didn’t even take a week for the first mention of it.
My middle son made a couple of very round about comments but desperately tried not to come straight out to say he couldn’t connect late at night. My oldest tried to play like he hadn’t even noticed but I know he was dying to find out what we had done. I give him credit though. He’s finally learned to stay quiet and let one of his brothers get caught. Maturity comes in many forms.
We did finally tell them exactly what we had done and what the limits were set at. They weren’t thrilled but they’ve gotten over it pretty quickly. And you know what?
I haven’t had to wake up middle son once since then.
I think I made my point…and I didn’t have to yell.
Parents: 1 Teenagers: 0