XBox Tantrums Suck

February 28, 2008

XBox made a big appearance in our home almost 2 months ago.

I brought it out of storage, dusted it off and got my 4 year old 2 games. We started with Munchie’s Odysey which we had and then I found Zathura which is one of his favorite movies. After that we moved onto Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

With some effort he has progressed pretty well with the games and we started using it as a reward for going to school which had become a problem for a few months.

I put him on a timer after 55 minutes to 2 hours depending on the day and inform him when I will be starting the timer and when the bell rings he is done. This worked for a while but now since he is getting more into the game it is taking a lot more coaxing to get him to shut the game off after the bell rings. He fights me the moment he hears me wind it and has started hitting at me.

Well, now he is 43.6 pounds and more than half my height. My son hitting me is a huge problem. For about 2 weeks I would work up the timer, when it rang I would ask him to shut it off, he would yell and rush at me, I would tell him it was ok I would do it and he would say that he would then he would turn it off, and cry in my lap for 2 minutes. Then I would tell him he was a big boy for shutting it and thank you for listening.

Yesterday I had to take the game away for the first time. Here’s why…He went ballistic when the timer went off, hitting at me, rushing at me, pushing me, yelling at the top of his lungs, totally acting crazy.

I told him that if he didn’t stop I would take the game away. He pushed and scream at me again so I walked over and unplugged it.

As I carried it to away looking for a place to put it he hit at my back. I finally put it in a cabinet and then he tried to climb it. I asked him to stop and he told me no. I told him that if he didn’t stop hitting or yelling I would put him in time out. He didn’t.

I put him in time out and he laughed for the first 10 minutes. Is he kidding me? Every time I placed him in the time out spot he walked away and acted like I was playing a game with him. I told him I wasn’t happy and this wasn’t funny.

Every time I walked away he was right behind me telling me he didn’t want to. I told him I didn’t care what he wanted but he was in time out until the timer rang. His speech therapist was waiting for him and was lucky enough to see the whole hour of time out. Why does a 4 minute timeout have to last 55 minutes?

As I put him in, he yelled, screamed and came out. I walked over to bring him back to time out and he hit me or yelled.

Wrestling my 4 year old for timeout seems ridiculous. I need to get his ass in gear soon. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Hopefully he will get his game back soon but last night was his first day not being able to play and he wasn’t too happy.

I explained why he wasn’t getting it. I told him that he had to listen to mommy and that he was never ever to hit me.

When I disciple I always have Jo “Supernanny” on my shoulder. I always wonder what would she say about what I am doing? What am I doing wrong? I never believe there are bad children I always believe there is bad parenting. It is time for me to take my parenting skills to the next level because this kid is only getting bigger and I can no longer carry him to time out.

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6 Responses to “XBox Tantrums Suck”

  1. Bose said

    Tough circumstances… in no particular order, if facing such stuff with my kids, I’d be thinking about…

    * separating hitting consequences from all others — while temper tantrums are not acceptable, everybody sometimes gets really upset — but hitting will always compound the consequences.
    * doing an XBox hiatus for a few days, paired with reminders that XBox is a privilege which can be earned back.
    * scaling XBox access back to 15 minutes at a time, and making further privileges contingent on a peaceful end to the 15 minute session.
    * calm reminders that life was ok before XBox, and will be again if it leaves the house.
    * look for books / kid-level resources on anger and conflict stuff
    * reinforce importance of family order — noncompliance with time-outs may need to trigger additional loss of privileges

    my heart goes out to ya, though… challenging stuff!

    –Bose

  2. FXSmom said

    I think a lot about Jo when I have an issue with my babies too. Bose has some excellent ideas. It could easily just be a phase he is going through. It sounds like you are on top of it and will rein it in before it gets out of hand. Good luck. Keep us updated. 🙂

  3. mgagliano said

    Thanks for writing. Yes, I agree Bose has some good ideas. My sister’s solution was take away XBox but the XBox is not the problem right? If not XBox it will be something else unless he understands that he has to lisen to Mommy.

  4. Bose said

    Well, XBox is the one thing to which he attaches a lot of value. At that age, my kids didn’t have deep thinking skills; they knew what they wanted and learned what what they needed to do to get the things. It wasn’t a very high-minded process at first; they didn’t start behaving because their conscience would bother them otherwise.

    One aspect of critical thinking started very early with them, though. They were utterly scientific about testing where the actual boundaries were, and how consistently the boundaries were enforced. I was amazed. Is the line here? OK, it’s not, so can I go two inches further? Yup, two inches was over the line. But, what about one inch? Or, an inch and a half?

    So, maybe helping him see that listening and not hitting helps to increase XBox time for now, and you will set the stage for him to figure out the more global point — that Mommy, and all of the women in his life, are worthy of his respect.

  5. maria said

    Bose, thanks for coming back because it is impossible to find you I tried.

    Anyway, yes..XBox is the one thing that I finally knew I could use as a form of reward. It helped get him back into wanting to go to school because he knew if he went and worked with his therapists he would get it.

    You are right on about the boundaries and the way kids test it. MY daughter is 2 and totally knows about testing things. I am constantly asking the both of them if they are testing me, they usually are.

    Thanks for all of your well written advice. I appreciate it.

  6. Bose said

    aww, now you’re being way too nice to me…

    It’s impossible to find me? wow… I hadn’t thought I was anonymous.

    I’ve read you from time to time because you’re on the Abigail Garner’s OverSampled feed.

    Reach me at bose@opho.org… ask me anything; I’m not shy, I’ll tell ya whatever you want to know.

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