I was so frustrated last night. I managed to waste God knows how much time trying to get an old laptop to work properly (meaning online game play capable) for my oldest son (16), because my middle son (13) received a newer old laptop for his birthday from well-meaning family throwing the balance of power "out of kilter".
It's all my fault I suppose. When we were given the old (old) laptop a couple of yeas ago, we (the parents) commandeered it, instead of giving it to our oldest son as it was apparently intended. We did that for a couple of reasons. One, my husband was writing a book (now on hold), AND we don't let the kids have Internet connections in their rooms (as per every Internet security seminar we've been to - by the way we don't let televisions in the bedrooms either, ours included), we have a central "kids" computer in the study next to our computer that they use.
Anyway, the middle child had a birthday and received a new "old" laptop and the household turned topsy-turvy. I thought I had it all figured out. Restoring the "balance of power", we gave the old "old" laptop to the eldest son. We told the boys they couldn't have the laptops in their rooms, but we set up our own "cyber cafe" in the basement common area. That was well received and the oldest son didn't mind that his was the older machine, not quite as sleep, and on a different operating system - as long as it worked. They were excited at the prospect of finally being able to play online RPGs (role playing games) together.
At first glance all seemed well. Email, Facebook, Googling. But then it started. The downloaded game worked on the Vista but not on the Firefox. No games will play in Facebook. Music won't play. A small victory came through with some You Tube, but voice and video don't sync.
It's all part of the responsibility of parenting. Teaching the kids how to work through disappointments, jealousies, and fears - while processing our own. My husband and I come from totally different childhoods with radically different approaches. His family came through the pain of alcoholism, resulting in a brutal honesty to deal with issues out in the open.
My family seemed to always back away, and disagreements were nipped and ignored if they couldn't be quickly resolved. Somehow we've managed to blend it all together into our own unique parenting style. My husband has softened and I've toughened up. It still takes both of us to make it work, but we've both grown a lot.
Now that we have two teenage sons (and a young daughter), it takes everything we've got to keep it together and try to stay one step ahead of them. The outside "stuff" that happens is tough sometimes, but I'm learning to embrace not ignore it. For whatever doesn't kill us will make us strong, right?
Labels: difficulties, Sheila Siler, teenagers