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Hot Mess Mom » Family, Ways I know I'm failing as a parent » I have committed a HUGE parenting FAIL

I have committed a HUGE parenting FAIL


I hate video games.  HATE THEM.  If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you know this.  My boys had a Wii and each had a DS.  Unless it’s a lazy Sunday, a road trip, or I am sick, they have always been limited to 30-45 minutes of game time per day.

Santa brought them an XBox for Christmas.  Santa didn’t want to do that but all three of them asked for it.  Together.  And when your almost-12-year-old asks Santa for something, Santa better deliver ‘cuz you know it’s going to be last time.

Since bringing this box of destruction into my home, the game time has increased significantly.  I am totally at fault.  We traveled all of Christmas break, so when school resumed I cut the kids some slack and allowed them to play with their Christmas gifts for unlimited amounts of time once their homework and chores were done.

That was over 3 weeks ago.

They’ve been on that damn box incessantly.  And guess what?  I’ve let them!  You know why?  Because I’m busy and it’s easy!!  They play TOGETHER for hours quietly so I’ve ignored the nagging “get them off that damn game” whisper in my head.

This past weekend, I had to shut it down.  We had beautiful weather.  My boys are outside boys– always out on bikes, ripsticks, skateboards and scooters.  This weekend, they attempted to sit their pre-pubescent asses in the playroom in front of the XBOX on a gorgeous Saturday.  I unplugged it.

I reinstated Mom Law and advised them that their cyber-holiday is over.  Back to 30-45 minutes per day AFTER homework, outdoor play, chores and showers.

Number Three is an early riser.  Almost always up by 6 a.m.   I am an insomniac.  I don’t sleep.  When I do get sleep, I don’t like to be woken at 6 a.m. with requests of waffles and socks.   We’ve long let Number Three watch TV or play video games when he wakes up AFTER he gets dressed, brushes his teeth and makes himself breakfast if we are still sleeping.

Last night I didn’t sleep.  Went to bed at midnight.  Woke up at 4:15.  At 5:00 a.m. I gave up on catching any more Z’s and got up.  I made a cup of coffee and let the dog out.  The playroom light was on.  I looked in there.  Number Three- totally dressed, playing Minecraft on the XBOX and eating a waffle.  At 5:02 A.M.!!!!!

Oh my God!  What are you doing??  How long have you been up? 

I dunno.  Maybe an hour.

Dude!! It’s FIVE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING… You’ve been up since 4:00??? You cannot do this! 

I didn’t know what time it was.  I unplugged my clock.

So, once again, I have unplugged that devil box.  I gave Number Three the option to A) go back to bed  B) clean the playroom or C) Read.

He’s reading.  I’m writing.  It’s going to be a long day for both of us.


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Filed under: Family, Ways I know I'm failing as a parent



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41 Responses to "I have committed a HUGE parenting FAIL"

  1. Michelle says:

    I understand. Mine have the devil boxes too. I hate them all. But I am also guilty of just letting them play.

    1. Kimmer says:

      Oh boy, do I relate to the devil box. My son is now 20, an in college, if this helps at all,, I did the same, got to point, let him play, when he wanted,as long as school work was done, Weekends turned into house of no less than 5 xtra boys I did not give birth too,,lol, I looked at it as, young teenager, could be out, doing who knows what, but he’s home an I can see him. lots of pizza’s ordered, an french toast made in AM’s, (not at 6am though,lol, My hubby would hate,, HATE IT,, Said, way to much time, on that “THING”,, an he wondered if he could add the other 5 boys on our tax returns at one point,,lol. Here we are now, 5 years later, my son, PROUD TO SAY,goes to college, carry’s a 4.0 grade point average, an holds down part time job, he is great young man, soooooo, maybe I didn’t do as bad a job as I was told I was doing,, :))) maybe your OK,, :))) TOOO, :))) PS, my son hasn’t touch a BOX,,LOL, in over a year, :))) YOU HAVE HOPE NOW,, RIGHT :))) ???

  2. BTT says:

    OMG – You are my crystal ball or maybe the ghost of Christmas Future. I hate video games and my sweet 5 and 6 year old boys LOVE them. Keep fighting the good fight! :)

  3. Joy says:

    We’ve had the same issue – up at 4:30 to play. In fact Eldest is playing right now – he normally gets on the bus at 6;42 but there’s a two hour delay. And I’ve already stated you’re not on that puppy for two hours – give me a break! The other kids get on the bus at 10. We could have had an insomniac’s meeting at 4am – I was up at 3 – 6 – slept for 15 minutes and gave up. Good luck today!

  4. thebev says:

    We have the devil box too and let me just say that at least with my son the thrill does wear off. He was obsessed like your boys with his xbox but he slowly over about 6 months got bored with it himself.

    I find the more forbidden it is the more they want it so try to be liberal on the weekend after outside time. When I did this he started self weaning. Even with new games he rarely plays more than an hour at a time even when allowed.

  5. Earth Muffin says:

    Moms Against Video Games UNITE!!! I hate them too. My favorite line from The Blind Side is when she says, “SJ, get off the play box!”

  6. KBar3 - MMR says:

    Damn! He’s committed. Might have to hide that damn thing. That’s ht we hd to do with my stepson. He was an Xbox crackhead.

  7. Jeannie says:

    My son did that a couple of months ago. I got up at 7:30 to get him up for school and he was already sitting in the living room watching TV. I asked him what time he got up and he had been up since 2:30am! He went to school and was home about 15 minutes when he passed out on the couch. BTW he is 7!

  8. Joe dee says:

    And yet guys dont obsess about shoes, huh, maybe we’re different. Btw, games are cheaper than shoes. Video games RULE! :)

  9. krissylou says:

    Yup, nailed it. I have 2 boys and a husband that love nothing better than playing video games. I fricking hate it! What a waste of time/money/brain activity! I try to limit it as much as I can, but I don’t stand a chance in hell when their father enjoys/encourages the game play.

  10. Viki says:

    I so know (KNEW) that devil box…I got up one moring 5:30 to start my hellish day of being a single mom to find him in his room, he had been up ALL night playing. Eyes were more bloodshot than mine after an exceptionally good night. Unplugged it, packed that shit up, sent him to school, and SOLD it. Gone. buh bye, no video games are allowed in my house. Ever. We are both happier for it. Even he admits it, as long as no friends are around to hear it. :)

  11. J says:

    yup I’m with you on the video games & thanx for validating the “get them off that damn game” voice screaming in my head. I threw the xbox in the pool in a fit of anger one day … “she gone!” Get the fuck outside & enjoy using your imagination & play zombie killer or man hunt with REAL kids! There… now I can go outside also and supervise w my bottle of wine.

  12. Julie says:

    I have successfully kept the devil-boxes out of my house thus far. Two years ago Santa brought Dramasaur a Leapster Explorer. That lasted all of three months before someone got mad, threw it and cracked the screen to shit. That was the last devil-box they got.

    Computer games are another story, but at least I have some parental controls locked in! Now if someone would just develop an app that freezes the computer after a certain amount of time, only to be unlocked by a parental password…

  13. S says:

    Our kids got an xbox for Christmas too. I have an all our ban on video games during the week and it has been that way for years – since we got a wii. We let them play on the weekend mornings, which lets us sleep in :) It is a devil box for sure!!! My little one is OBSESSED with Minecraft.

  14. Bukky Olu says:

    That is such a dilema! It’s so nice to be able to get things done while the kids are preoccupied with video games.. or ANYTHING for that matter! I use audio books instead! Educational and entertaining! How’s that for a win-win?

  15. Red Hot Mama says:

    You totally need to start a support group. “Moms Against Video Arcade Games”. You have to throw the “Arcade” in there cuz then the acronym is “MA VAG” and that shit’s funny.

    1. Hot Mess Mom says:

      that. is. GOLD. Pure GOLD.

  16. Kristen Mae says:

    So far I’ve been able to keep video games to a minimum… but it is horrifying to watch my six-year-old’s eyes glaze over when he plays his fighter jet game (which is a reward for a good day at school / homework done etc). I just can’t stop the mental image of his brains turning to mush and melting down his neck-hole. That’s gross. I am weird.

    Mehhehe… “MA VAG.” I’m SO in.

  17. What I Really Meant To Say says:

    Oh Gawd. We have this box of Beelzebub, too. My 12 year old was so wrapped up in it and then he made the mistake of telling me that when he was at school, he couldn’t focus because he was thinking about the game. Soooo, we did away with the xbox during school days and he could only play on the weekends. Then it got to the point that he didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere on the weekends because it messed with his xbox time. So NOW, he’s only allowed to play it after 7:00PM on the weekend nights. It is the devil box. For sure.

  18. Jamie Bee says:

    I think this is just one of the common battles of our generation as mothers. Seriously. I vowed it would never be a problem in my family, but like you said, it’s easy. My oldest is only 4 but she LOVES the TV, the computer, and my phone. If my husband and I hadn’t introduced these things to her it wouldn’t be an issue, but we did and so it will always be something we have to fight to keep in balance. Heck, my own computer time sometimes spirals out of control! And don’t even get me started on my hub’s TV habit.

  19. Julie says:

    It’s minecraft. My 10 yo would play all day if we let him. His friends too.

  20. Katie O says:

    We gave our six-year old a 3DS for Christmas and it turned him into a zombie. I let him play it for a good month whenever he wanted to, them instated Mom Law (I like that phrase!), and now he can’t play it until after his bath at night. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was, looking up to his beautiful face and instead meeting a red hand-held video game instead. Also, I have the same rule for my husband. Yea me.

  21. No better here! But it is all electronics, there has been a long fight with the 5 year old this year getting up or staying up and finding a way to some kind of mind numbing visual interaction!

    TV in room, timer, parental, and the DTV box kicks off and stays off till morning. All preset….. so what does he do, goes to the living room to watch TV. Solution, timers and everything to the point where we have to put a code in just to watch TV in any room.

    iPad – he shares his Dad’s. Got to make sure it is no where to be found, cause if he even thinks he remembers it may be on a side table someplace in the house he is on it all night.

    Xbox – Timer 1 hour – at bed time all remotes get put out of reach.

    Leap Pad & Explorer – up out of reach.
    Mobi-go – up out of reach.

    And anything else that has lights and a screen – either locked up tight or put up out of reach. All done every night at bedtime or I will find him in the morning, puffy eyed and won’t get up, or red eyed and never slept. This little guy is a smart one. It took him like 5 seconds to realize that just because his TV didn’t work didn’t mean the living room one didn’t.

    This shit starts early, he is 5!! We have beaten it for now, so far, he only bothers on weekends and he has an hour available at night but hardly ever uses his weeknight hour, unless it is raining or he has no one else around to torment, but my god I can’t imagine how bad it is gonna be and gonna get!

    Beware – PreTeen and Teen Girls it’s not the video games, it is the phone, they will absolutely DIE if they loose there phone, yep it literally kills them, and causes them to loose all sense of clear thinking while they do not have that dam thing attached permanently to the end of there arms! We have squashed this too, kinda. G17 is having a huge teenage crisis right now because we took her phone and made her join the real flesh and blood human population. It is killing her to have to use her voice and real words to interact with people, we think she has reverted back to early pre speak toddler stage when it comes to communication. “Sorry girl we don’t understand Alpha Speak, Use your words and grow into a big girl!” Yeah, you said a whole word!! But hun you do know “annoying” is a word you can’t comprehend until you try to have a conversation with someone who’s entire language consist of “Ha What”! As they lift there head and try to tare there eyes away from the screen, only because they thought they might have missed something important to them like the word Mall, when you were discussing hanging a picture on a Wall.

  22. what says:

    The kid got up, made himself food and was entertaining himself all without bothering you, what’s the issue?

  23. Kat says:

    Good to know… I will refrain from XBox!

    My husband recently bought the Amazon Kindle Fires for both of our young kids (4 & 6). This has been great because Amazon has a “Kids” environment that allows US (the parents) to set time limits on Videos/games, learning games, and reading. We limit Videos (mindless entertainment) to 2 hours, learning games at 2 hours, and unlimited Reading. This has been great at limiting the kids time on the devices, and limits their searches to kid friendly content.

  24. Sharon s says:

    Its all good, I promise,eventually,all this frustration goes away when they grow up and leave home. All 4 of ours did. And now all those games sit idle our house wondering when someone is coming to visit. So remember to enjoy while you Can!

  25. Two cents says:

    I also have the box, and i also want to trow it out the window. I am always panicking over hiuch time and when my lids get to use it. But i have noticed my husband has a better approach when it comes to get the kids off of it. He doesn’t panic in front of the kids an very calmly gets the kids off to something more productive. He dosent make it look like is bad for them, or that he doesn’t like it. And i think that is what lightens the desire in them. Its just like if your mom told you not to date the bad boy, that he wasn’t allowed. The more you forbid or dislike it, the more they want it.
    It was my aha moment…. I have helped my son pass a dificuly race, or jumped in front of the kinnect for a bit. As a way to let him see its Ok, but when its time to stop, its Ok too.
    Just food for thought!
    Never give up moms, there is always a better way, not just for the kids, but for us the parents too.

  26. BMX MOM says:

    Love it!! But are you sure he even went to sleep that night? I will never forget waking up at 4am (mom intuition never sleeps) went to the kitchen and heard this noise down the hall which got louder as I approached my son’s bedroom, opened the door and there he was!! He was on Xbox LIVE!! I yelled out the usual WTF are you doing??? Priceless! The joys of having a split-bedroom home…the kid took advantage of it! LOL Oh, I took the controller from him as punishment only to find out he had a way to play using his laptop! Sneaky…

  27. Momofthree says:

    OMG, this really made me laugh out loud. Probably because we all have a number three child in our home. Thanks for the chuckle.

  28. Rebecca says:

    This sounds so much like life in our house. I love your blog.

  29. That box will get the best of us sometimes! I hope the rest of the day is better :)

  30. Dr Charlie says:

    Ladies, I was blessed with 4 daughters and a son. I’ve also been a grandfather for 12 years now. My children played those damn video games, but not as much as my grandkids do! I was fortunate that my wife was able to be a stay at home mom, and I truly believe that made a difference in the lives of my children.

    Today’s video games are much more violent and addicting than the games of a generation ago. I scold my daughter and son-in-law about letting my grandkids play video games instead of playing outside. But they both have to work full time, overtime, and my SIL also has his own auto detailing business. They don’t have much of a life outside of work!

    So what do you do? In my opinion, never cast blame upon yourself! Unfortunately, it is what it is! It’s called LIFE! If you do the best that you can do then you did all you can do!

  31. Angela Johnson says:

    My husband and I had custody of my then 15 yr old brother..same issues w/ the box and the ds…the rule was “as many minutes as you do homework/study, then you get equal amounts of brain cell killing time”..that didn’t last too long…neither did the ds when he did something that had so royally pissed me the fuck off that I broke the thing in two instead of knocking the living shit outta him ;)

  32. KP says:

    Ahhh… I remember when this worried me (still does sometimes but I do what works for our family)… hope you are able to keep your boys away from the devil! I caved in a few years ago. Next month my boys turn 18 and 14, I have a daughter 9. I have RA and fibro, am not as active as I was when they were little, and after I get home from work if they have homework finished they play. My house sounds a lot like Kimmer’s…I have always preferred the kids be here than worry about them being anywhere else. We have extra boys every weekend, holiday, break… some that have stayed for weeks at a time. We have 3 extra 14 year olds today. Lots of pizza nights and waffle mornings, and they play. (My oldest also plays music with his “band” friends…video games are much quieter! My 14yo and his friends may have Dr. Who marathon’s or build knight armour with duct tape etc.but mostly they play and giggle ) We have made it a “thing” …we collect vintage and retro game system’s and games, thrift stores and flea markets on the weekends is typical fun. My oldest is a tech geek…built his first PC at age 15, and his dream job is to be a video game “journalist”. I know that it is not the best way for them to spend their time, but they are A students with exceptional minds. They were never outdoor sporty kids and fought with me about the soccer, karate whatever I used go drag them out to. They play mostly with friends either here or online and have maintained life long friendships with other kids that like the same things, some online that have moved to other States or countries. I totally support your stand against them… not trying to convince anyone that stands against them otherwise. For my life, with my dorky kids, and with my personal parenting needs and challenges, they fit.

  33. What is it with the Xbox?! My son hardly ever played his Wii or tablet, or DS and since “Santa” brought him the one single thing he asked for he hasn’t gotten off it since. We have a special TV for just games and just the sound of it turned on makes my skin crawl!

  34. lesray says:

    i cant believe all of you, dont blame the videogames on your parenting. you should have played with them from the begining of their lives and sppent time with them outside the house, outside the tv, outside the constant phone use. that way they learn that there is a world out there where it is funner than video games. you should be taking them out on adventures to the museum, zoo, park or new areas so they could enjoy being outside, and if your to lazy to do that, why dont you play card games or board games with them or invent new interactive ways to stimulate their minds instead of just letting them watch tv and other things and breeaking games and taking the enjoyment they get around the house from games is not the right way to solve the problem thats why things are getting worse after u do that. you have to draw them out of those habits by other means like instead of playing games lets go to the new theme park or national park or a hike lets go to volunteer some place idk there are manythings you could do

    1. Hot Mess Mom says:

      thanks for the parenting advice ?
      I think that is the whole point. We DO do the things you mentioned… and sometimes we don’t.

  35. Red Hot Mama says:

    Lesray – I think that you also need a support group: Commenters Uploading Nonsensical Tirades. Have you ever a actually READ HMM??? Based solely on your written English I will guess that you haven’t read anything much longer than a tweet.

  36. Sheri says:

    My son is 6 and his life revolves around Minecraft on Xbox….. It’s way over my head so I don’t even try to figure out how to play the damn game. I do know that his imagination has expanded 10-fold because of it. I have set limits during the school days/nights but to be honest, it is my serenity time while he is playing! This single, working mom secretly enjoys the peace and quiet that comes during these playtimes…maybe it isn’t the best idea but it works for us and his grades are impressive. Glad to know that I am not alone.

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