I am a firm believer in the notion that experiences are better investments than material objects. If I had $1000, I would rather spend it on a vacation than a new TV. Aamir and I differ vastly on this. He would buy the TV (or laptop, or gaming console or some other depreciating asset). This would be the exact reason why I prefer to engage Camran in various after-school activities while he buys him video games and toys, creating a sure recipe for conflict of time, and resulting in too many fights and timeouts for the little guy.
I finally had enough yesterday. Little Camran decided that he preferred to continue playing his PSP (and mouthing off to me to boot) instead of taking 20 minutes to eat lunch. After 20 minutes of timeouts which accomplished nothing, I finally informed him that he had lost his "electronic" privileges (PS3, PSP, TV, movies and computer time) for 6 days. Pretty steep for a kid who spends 3-4 hours a day in front of some screen or another. He grudgingly agreed (after I threatened to double it to 12 days if he didn't) to finally calm down and eat his lunch.
Today was his first full day of non-screen time. He did the following without prompting (where normally the entire day would be a struggle): Woke up happily at 7am, brushed his teeth, made his bed, ate his entire breakfast in record time, made a peek-a-boo craft toy for Rayan, changed for swimming lessons, packed his towel and clothes, had an amazing class, ate his entire lunch, did 4 pages of English, 2 pages of Math, did a 3-D puzzle, ate his entire dinner, got ready for baseball, played a good game, changed into pajamas and slept promptly at 8:30pm. The entire day went by without a single fight!
To be honest, when Camran plays his video games or watches TV, he's entertained and I get some much-valued "me" time. But of course, that's such a parenting cop out. I'll admit, I wasn't too thrilled about having to spend all day with him in his full misery. It's funny how you can learn things about yourself when situations present themselves. Camran learned to spend a whole day without electronics and without being sullen and argumentative - he daren't lest I extend his punishment (but really who cares why).
And I learned that, sometimes, drastic measures can result in positive outcomes!