I have not witnessed a pickup game of baseball, a child riding a stick horse, or children entertaining themselves outdoors in a very long time. Most children I see today, including my grandchildren, are glued to an electronic device that clearly has an intoxicating and controlling effect on their minds. Try to get a child to shut off their Ipad or video game, so they can concentrate on something else such as homework or heaven forbid family, and you will be met with resistance. Try to take the device from them, and you best be ready for it to get physical. It is not uncommon for normally calm easy going children to become raving lunatics when someone dares get between them and their electronic devices.
To a point, I am probably as addicted to electronic devices as any of my grandchildren, but unlike my grandchildren, there is little chance of brain or visual damage – my brain and eyesight have been shot for years. Also, as an adult, due to my maturity, knowledge and experiences, I can make decisions as to what is good or bad for me, but children are in the developmental stages of their lives, so they need the guidance of an adult to help them make decisions of what is best for them. Although a child may seem mature beyond his years, he is nevertheless still a child in need of nurturing by an individual who is not afraid to be an adult. However, these days, people who are willing and capable of being an adult with children seem to be a dying breed. To be blunt there is nothing wrong with electronic devices that parents acting like adults and using common sense cannot fix. A child sitting in front of a television, computer screen, video game, or an Ipad for hours at a time is an adult problem, not a kid problem. Face it; there is nothing justifiably right about allowing children to sit hour after unsupervised hour with an electronic device in front of their faces. Using these devices socially without parameters, as babysitters, or just to keep children out of parent’s hair is not good parenting! It is morally wrong for parents to allow it to happen.
In Walmart one afternoon, I watched in amazement as a ten year old child repeatedly ignored her mama’s request to turn off and put her Ipad away. Finally, the mother who was shopping with a friend gave up and walked away. The friend was shocked and asked the mother if she was really going to permit the child to defy her. The mother shrugged and said she would rather just let the child have the device than go through the “hell” she would raise if made to shut it down. WHAT? Who is the adult here? My mama would have “raised hell” all over my butt! Since when have parents started giving children the same rights, permissions, and latitudes as adults? When I was growing up, there was only room for two adults in our house, and my mama and daddy made sure I knew I was not one of them. My daddy made it clear I was wearing his clothes, eating his food, sleeping under his roof, and being transported by his car, and until I was ready to fully take on and pay for those responsibilities, I would answer to him as “sir,” to mama as “mam,” and I would Like It.
The world has not changed that much. The last time I checked adults still had the upper hand on children. The gap only closes when mamas and daddies shirk their duties as alpha members of the tribe. In a tribe there are chieftains, there are Indians, and there are papooses. The mama and the daddy are the chieftains. All other members of the tribe are papooses until they start paying their way then they are promoted to Indian, but for an Indian to be promoted to a chieftain, he or she must move out and establish a separate tribe. It is a simple world. If the child provides food, shelter, clothing, and the device, the child is the chief, and the mother needs to retire her mama shingle and spend her days watching reruns of the Brady Bunch and not worry about the Ipad at all. On the other hand, if the mama provides food, shelter, clothing, and the device, then she is the chief, and by being so appointed, she needs to teach the child what “hell” is when she doesn’t mind her mama. These days, for whatever reason, it is sometimes hard for parents to understand that part of being a mama and daddy is having rules and consequences for those rules when they are not followed. Therefore, it is not rocket science; if the child defies her mama, the device should be taken away for a day.
OH MY GOD! MUFFIN WILL THROW A FIT!
Bless her heart. Okay, take the device away for a week, and do not feel sorry for Muffin after an hour or even a couple of days and give it back to her. She, not the mother, made the choice to lose privileges for a week.
OH SWEET LORD, JESUS! MUFFIN WILL HAVE A KNIPTION FIT!
Who cares! Send her to her room with instructions not to resurface until she is under control, but first remove the television and home theater system with Ipod docking, computer, Ipad, radio, and cell phone from her room. However, you might want to leave a book or two in the room. It may take a while, but over time brain electrodes will start firing again, and she will recognize what a book is and maybe even how to read one.
LORD, LORD, PLEASE HAVE MERCY! MUFFIN WILL RIP THOSE BOOKS TO SHREDS!
SPANK her butt! Ground her from activities with friends, and deny her access to any electronic devices for at least a month!
REMEMBER THIS . . . . . . . .
IT IS YOUR HOUSE! Would you allow some out of control lunatic who has never paid a dime toward putting food on your table, has never paid a single house payment, never paid a dime for the clothes they wear, never paid a cable, phone, or Internet bill, doesn’t own a car, couldn’t pay the insurance if they did, disrespects you, disrespects herself, and just plain and simple is a jerk to you in every sense of the word to take over and run your household? The answer is NO! Although you love her with all your heart, and you would lay down your life for her, you DO NOT have to put up with her CRAP! That raging lunatic screaming from her bedroom because you took away her Ipad is a guest in your home; REMEMBER, your home is not her final mailing address! Besides, there is no law against a parent being an “Indian Giver,” you bought the Ipad, so you can take it back and do whatever you please with it. Sell it on Ebay, and see how willing she is the next time she gets her panties in a wad to disrespect or defy you. Besides, as a rule of thumb, you should never negotiate with terrorists, lunatics, or children.
Finally, since we are talking about lunatics, if you want to really have some fun, try this. As your sweet little baby screams like a crazy person from her room how unfair and mean you are and that you are the worst 5th grade mother ever, kick back with your favorite beverage, pump up the volume on some Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Doobie Brothers (maybe a little dated for a mama with a ten year old, but you get the drift) and sing along at the top of your lungs. Life is good, and if you are really daring you might even what to put on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The New Generation DVD. It doesn’t get much better than watching Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger screaming like lunatics in a cheap slasher movie – unless maybe, you are a parent dealing with a lunatic of your own.
[The script slowly fades as the camera pulls away]
[The night is pitch black, not a star in the sky]
[In the distance a Chainsaw can be heard sputtering and coming to life]
[Screaming, Leatherface lunges from the shadows swinging a chainsaw wildly over his head]
[As the screen goes black, we hear Matthew McConaughey say, “Alright, alright, alright.”]
©Jack Linton, June 8, 2014