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One child is addicted to screens, the other is not. How to fix?

14 replies

GreyishDays · 27/09/2020 09:20

I am stuck on how to deal with this!

We have an eight yr old who’s screen time crept up in lockdown, but it’s been a bit of a problem for a while. He is having tantrums when told no to a screen or when we get him off it. He’s currently lost a whole week of iPad for two incidents where he was hitting, kicking, throwing things.

So I think he needs to be very limited on screens or for them to be totally removed.

But, ten yr old is very happily playing games with friends, watching YouTube videos to work stuff out. He will come off quite willingly if I ask or if I offer to do something with him. Doesn’t object to the limits he has. He has too much too, but it’s not a massive problem.

So if I take the younger one‘s screen time away, it’s very much in his face that older one is on a screen. He screeches at us that we like the older one more and it really ramps the whole situation up again.

Is it just tough luck though? Or is there anything clever we can do?

OP posts:
GreyishDays · 27/09/2020 14:20

Hopeful bump. I know it’s not very interesting.

OP posts:
omega3 · 27/09/2020 14:24

I'm unclear as to why you take screen time away from the youngest? Do you use it as a punishment?

InDubiousBattle · 27/09/2020 14:34

It's just tough. His older brother behaves properly, will come off the screens when asked and doesn't screech, hit, kick or throw things so is allowed limited screen time. When he can do he same then (presumably)he'll be allowed some limited screen time too. We're the two incidents of kicking, hitting etc related to the I pad?

omega3 · 27/09/2020 14:37

Ah! I completely misread! Thought it was the other way round. Doh!

elQuintoConyo · 27/09/2020 14:48

I let DS have an hour, with a timer, so the alarm kicks him off not me repeating himself. If he can turn it off without (A) whingeing that he hasn't finished his game, (B) mithering to then go on the computer to play Minecraft Hmm (C) complaining that the hour went to fast, etc - then he gets 20p for his money box. Works fantastically!

He had also become rather a monster during lockdown (we're in Spain, kids were banned from leaving the house the first 6 weeks!). But he's very calm now. I've also boxed up a lot of his toys that he doesn't play with anymore, mostly his big box of cars and his uncountable Playmobil. He's 9yo.

You could write up a simple contract that he can understand and agree to and sign his name. Eh
I did my homework
I made my bed
I laid the table
I will not complain to get off
I will not mither for more
I will run round the garden/do some yoga/read a book once I've finished

That sort of thing, I don't know.

I do explain to ds clearly why he can't have the tablet: it's too close to bedtime remember how you can't sleep? We're about to eat, you like chatting with us at dinnertime, don't you? I told you you could have it if you did XYZ and you didn't, so you can't have it.

We get the odd whinge but I'm unbending and he doesn't have a sibling, so we don't have that to contend with.

ComicePear · 27/09/2020 14:55

I think losing a whole week of iPad is a little harsh (unless he hurt someone - I'm assuming he was just hitting out in a tantrum rather than he actually punched someone). An 8yo still lives very much in the moment - so I can see it's tricky for him if the incident was (say) 5 days ago and he's still being punished for it while his brother is happily using his iPad.

Maybe you could make the punishment harsher in the short term (eg not just banned from devices but he also needs to spend an hour helping you and DH do a chore) but not lasting as long?

GreyishDays · 27/09/2020 14:57

They were screen related, Indubious

First was he’d been given fifteen minutes as warning and then it was switched off after “a bit more, just finishing this” etc etc forty minutes later, and then we finally said, now right now.
After incident one he was told no screen time for two days. Incident two was when we stick to that.

OP posts:
GreyishDays · 27/09/2020 14:58

Comice he was trying to punch and kick DH and I. Tried to bite me at one point. I have bruises. He also threw things around including a bit metal plant pot and swiped clear the top of my chest of drawers.

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GreyishDays · 27/09/2020 14:59

me and DH, more correctly Blush

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GreyishDays · 27/09/2020 14:59

*big metal plant pot!

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ComicePear · 27/09/2020 15:06

Ok, if you have bruises then that's different - you were right to come down heavily. In that case I think that watching DS1 on his screen is part of the punishment.

Have you tried talking to him about it calmly when he's is a good mood (not in the middle of an argument)? Explain that you will take away his screens when he behaved badly, but ask him to help you come up with the ground rules for screen use? Show him that you're open to (some!) negotiation about limits etc - you want to understand what is most important to him. Eg would he prefer more time at the weekend and less on a school night or vice verse? Does a 15 minute warning work well or is there another way of keeping track of time that would work better for him? If he's involved in setting the rules he may be more likely to stick to them.

GreyishDays · 27/09/2020 17:21

Thank you everyone. Really helpful and really good ideas. We will come up with a plan.

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Greenleaves21 · 27/09/2020 17:34

I don’t know if I can word this right, but banning the iPad seems it would just make it even more you want to punish him so are taking away the one thing he really loves, it’s giving it a real “reward” factor and making it seem very precious. If you see what I mean? I would stick to the limits you want to set (I would set it pretty low at first as it might also help his behaviour? I know mine are always more prone to tantrums etc when they have too much screen time), make minimum fuss about taking them away when that limit is reached - ie, don’t hide it away. I would personally ignore any tantrums about it and just carry on with your business, maybe a reward marble jar or similar if he makes no fuss.

LabiaMinoraPissusFlapus · 27/09/2020 18:22

I have one son who is autistic, and another one who has traits. I have found that they cannot stand their device not being in its proper place (this is torture for the autistic one). So taking the device away from them causes so many more problems. However, they will agree to not use it without further upset, until I say so, if they can keep it in its usual place. Understanding this has really helped matters! My daughter on the other hand, asks for devices to be hidden as she can't control herself on them (she has ADHD). Not sure if this is relevant to you, but thought I would share it in case it helps!

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