The Great TVless Experiment: Day One

I know TVless isn’t a word, mostly because of the red squiggly line underneath it.  I don’t care.

This morning I expected the children to sleep in because there’s no point in getting up if you can’t watch TV, right?  No, it was a good opportunity to sulk in the silence and (attempt to) make me feel guilty.  Moments later my son complained, “This is going to be the worst birthday ever!”

Today is not his birthday.  He’s realizing three days from now is his birthday and that will fall within the one week TV ban.  That’s too bad his ill behavior wasn’t better timed. It’s even sadder that I wasn’t sensing any real remorse because I was contemplating letting him watch the movie I bought him – the one he has been begging for since Christmas.

I said, “I think you need to focus less on how awful your birthday is going to be and more on making things right with your dad.  Do you understand what you did wrong?”

“He thought I was playing when I was trying to go poop.”  (This was his excuse for not being in bed after at least the 5th time we told him to get in bed, so when we got mad about it, he claimed victim.  He wasn’t playing.  He was merely waiting his turn to use the bathroom.  In a very boisterous way.)

“No, it was because when he confronted you about it, you started yelling at him and then at me.”

“I wasn’t yelling!”

“Yes, you were yelling.”

“NO I WASN’T!”  He wasn’t really building a great case for himself here.

I dropped the subject.  A while later he was looking for a plastic bag for his lunch, I helped him find one, and he said I never listen to him, stormed upstairs, and started banging something on his metal bunkbed.  He’s mad that I won’t believe his convincing story about his sudden urge to poop that arrived at a very convenient time – 15 minutes after the first time we told him to go to bed.  He had a large window of pooping opportunity and he didn’t take it.   He can’t stand to be wrong and I have never been able to get him to admit to wrong doing or apologize for it.  It’s a huge frustration, but I know it is hard to admit when you’re wrong.  This is something he needs to learn because someday he will be a husband who doesn’t apologize or admit to being wrong.  He’s a sweet kid most of the time, but this is an issue that we really need to tackle.  I’m not sure how to handle it.  He thinks sucking up afterwards is an apology, which it is not.  His wife will want an apology – not just flowers to smooth things over.  People need an acknowledgment that you know what you did wrong and will try hard to avoid repeating the behavior in the future.

I was gone for the day and later my oldest son turned on the TV.  He wasn’t actually one of the offenders last night, but he watches too much TV and I’m sick of it.  I said, “No TV.”  “Does that apply to me?”  “Yes.”  Soon to be birthday boy asked, “Does that mean no TV tomorrow?”

I think he was hoping I was temporarily mad and that I’ve gone soft.  A week means a week.  “Do I get to watch TV on my birthday?”  “It depends.” “On what?”  “On good behavior.”

He then switched over a load of laundry.  “Was that good behavior?”  He’s really counting on a quick “Get Out of Jail Free” card, but it’s not happening.  Tomorrow I will be home all day and will get to enjoy hours of bargaining attempts.  Bring it.



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