Longer Still

Thanks to everyone who commented on “How Much Longer?”. I just wanted to clarify that we have a separate desktop computer for the children’s use. It is a (used) first- or second-generation iMac G5 (BabyMac) with a wireless connection to the home network. It is located in the playroom, which is adjacent to the family room and kitchen area of The Zone.

When I first installed BabyMac, I gave each child his own password, which he was supposed to keep a secret. That didn’t last very long. Before I knew it, Wizard had figured out his brothers’ passwords and was logging himself on to the computer all the time. I changed everyone’s passwords a couple of more times, but Wizard always caught up with me. Finally, WineGuy and I agreed on one password for the kids; only WG and I know this password. Wizard has not been able to figure it out for the last 6-8 months or so.

My concern about allowing Wizard to earn the money to buy the computer is that once he has it, he will never adhere to the rules or limitations. For instance, when Wizard wanted to play lacrosse this spring, his grades and his attitude were lousy. I drafted a contract which provided that he had to turn in his schoolwork on time, do his laundry weekly, and help out around the house. First, Wizard tried to renegotiate the terms of the contract. I refused. Once he signed the contract, Wizard tried to weasel out of the provisions by “substantially complying” [legal term] with the provisions instead of following them to the letter. His continual fighting and manipulating was exhausting — these are his usual ploys for not working.

Lastly, you need to know that Wizard is a deceitful child who always looks for the illicit, easy way out. As I recounted this whole computer issue to Calvin yesterday at lunch, I shocked her with Wizard’s comment that he would steal my ATM card, “figure out the PIN,” and withdraw all the money in his savings account so he could buy that computer. Wizard takes things without asking, uses my stuff without asking, doesn’t put anything away, and then lies to cover his tracks. Nice? Not.

Now, has your position changed?


10 thoughts on “Longer Still

  1. Initial response… who does he think is going to drive him to the bank?

    Second response…I was pre-supposing a basic level of honesty and willingness to work within reasonable rules. If that’s not there, then there is little point in trying to make a deal. Frankly, if my kid was plotting that type of activity and was bold enough to tell me about it, I would be tempted to box up all the child’s possessions, take them to storage and tell him, “Fine, if you want more toys here are some nice cardboard boxes to play with until you leave for college.”

    In all seriousness, have you considered consulting a counselor? This sounds like more than typical preteen subborness; if he’s like this at 11 I’m afraid he’ll be completely out of control as a teen.

    Will he be getting any specialized religious mentoring over the next year or so in preparation for his bar mitzvah? (sp?) If so, is there any way he can start early and perhaps get a little special emphasis on the Honor Thy Father and Mother part?

  2. I have considered a counselor. WineGuy isn’t interested, and Wizard blatantly said he would sit there mute. Your comment about religious mentoring is on target: Wizard will start his Bar Mitzvah training with the rabbi in August. Hopefully, there will be some positive influence there.

  3. While it would certainly help to have your husband’s support, I think I would consider making Wizard go anyway. Wizard isn’t the first kid to claim he’d never say anything; an experienced counselor would know a dozen ways to break through that wall.

  4. ugh.

    this must be incredibly trying for you. i’m still not inclined to give him his own pc. i’m probably a major old school crank, of course, but as someone who worked for a major internet provider for 6 years, i am familiar with the issues people of a certain age can get into. and, in short, it is scary as hell. unless there are certain protections in place, well, i am nervous. and wiz sounds like he is smart as hell and might be able to get around such things. i would want to see where he was online via a pc in a central location in the house, as you have.

    one suggestion: is it possible for him to not get access to your network on his own computer? is he smart enough to know how to hook himself up? if not, he could conceivably use his laptop only for things like word processing, spreadsheets, etc. not web surfing. web surfing would need to happen on the central pc. of course, once again, i suspect he is smart enough to know how to hook himself up 😦

    i do agree, though, with louise. an experienced counselor can break through a lot of stubborn peoples’ walls. may take a few sessions, i suspect.

  5. Has my position changed? Yes, fry him. JK. (I actually am not a fan of the death penalty, but I digress.)

    I did not realize you had the BabyMac when I wrote my comment yesterday. AND, I am still shocked that he threatened to take your ATM card. I hear that they frown upon kids on bicycles in the drive-thru ATM lane. He would ikely be surprised when after the third try at the pin they kept the card in the ATM black hole. If he were successful guessing your pin, you could really teach him a lesson by reporting the ATM stolen and having him thrown in jail when they retreive the video of the thief. Then he could be sentenced to the juvie boot camp – which would solve your summer camp problem!

    In all seriousness, I don’t know what you should do. I like the idea of getting earlier intervention from the rabbi if WG continues to refuse the counseling option. I have long been of the opinion that counseling would be helpful. If Wizard doesn’t go then you should go to get yourself some objective assistance to work this out in your mind at least. GB goes regularly just to talk things out and get a rational opinion from an outsider. It seems to ground him and give him the confidence to stick to his decisions.

  6. OH yes, it does change things!! I forgot how he ignores things like rules. Sigh…
    Counseling of some sort – whether it be you or him – sounds imperative. I cannot imagine such willful belligerence and disrespect – or you having to deal with it.

  7. Hmmm…that does change things….I am not sure what to say. I can’t even imagine you having to deal with a child acting that way. Personally if one of my girls were acting that way and Fly Guy was saying no to counciling I would pull the mother’s veto. The last time I pulled that was for the spelling of History Girl’s name. I guess with my history of mental illness, when History Girl was having “issues” I got her to a councilor as soon as one I liked had an opening. The good ones often have wait lists so right might get him on a wait list and with Wine Guy’s history of saying no, no, no about thing and then changing his mind, it might be by the time Wizard makes it to the top of the list Wine Guy will have changed his mind. I am not saying that Wizard has a major mental illness, but if Wizard was having problems say his lungs, his eyes, his heart, Wine Guy would have you take him to see the correct specialist. About Wizard saying he won’t talk….History Girl didn’t talk for her first two sessons, not because she was being deifent, just because she is shy and socailly akward. It killed me to pay $300 for those two sessions when she maybe said three words, but the third session she broke through and she got the help she needed.

  8. For what I’m paying to send Wizard to the Snooty School, I could probably send him to boarding school. WG was thinking of something more like Parris Island. I’m thinking VMI or The Citadel. This Jewish, white boy would totally get his head bashed in.

  9. Well, in our house, the kids can only use internet with a removable USB internet router. That way the internet privilege is earned, and the plug is is kept someplace that only Ralph and I know. Just a thought

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