Saturday, September 27, 2008

The evil box

"Turn off that TV and go outside!"
Those words were spoken often in my house while I was growing up. I would turn it off, wait for mom to leave the room and turn it back on.
I'm lucky I'm alive. Now, as a parent, I understand how frustrating such disobedience is.
And it seems as if the TV multiplies the episodes of uncooperative behavior.
"Big sister! Big sister! Are you listening to me? Go take this to your room now!"
That is a common series of sentences that are spoken right now as the child stares blankly at Sponge Bob for the third consecutive hour.
She simply doesn't want to do anything but stare at the boob tube. I decided last week to try an experiment.
For several years now the beautiful wife and I have used a bead system to reward good behavior. We start with a jar full of beads and give her a reward of two or three beads for being good. When she gets all the way through the beads, she gets to pick her reward.
So far, it has worked pretty well.
I decided to make a little bet with Big Sister. She was already almost through her beads, but has been having trouble getting the last 15-20 over.
With a little goading, I bet her that she couldn't go for an entire week without turning on the TV. By going the whole week, I would move all the beads over and she could have the microphone she had been striving to earn for the last three or four months.
We made a couple of little exceptions for her. She loves Dancing with the Stars, so we let her watch that., but otherwise she went the entire week.
It really didn't seem to be all that hard for her. I'm not sure she even missed the TV, she just found other things to do.
She was better behaved too! Now I just have to find ways to convince her to watch less all the time.

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