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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Parenting Question -- Whose Responsibility Is It?

Bedtime in our home is 8:30 pm, with lights out at 8:45.

There is a certain amount of flexibility, but this is the default, despite constant objections and surreptitious attempts to create a fait accompli.

At this time, the authorities (that would be us parents) are uncompromising. As long as it remains challenging to wake children in the morning, the official bedtimes remain the same.

Today, a certain child was waiting to use the computer. While that child was waiting, the child turned on the television (without permission).

At 8:30, I finished using the computer and instructed my child to go get ready for bed.

The child was upset that I did not grant access to the computer.

I maintain that the child knows the parameters of our evening schedule and that the child is old enough to watch the time and fulfill all obligations.

Had the child gotten ready for bed, rather than watching television, there would have been no conflict over the computer.

When we started going around in circles, I ended the argument discussion and sent the child to get ready for bed.

The child quickly got ready for bed, and went onto the computer for 3 minutes, which turned into at least half an hour, since Moshe is not home with dinner yet.

What would you do?

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Cheryl Pitt said...

I think I would have done exactly what you did. Our bedtime here for my 13 year old is 8:30, lights out at 9:30.

Batya said...

It's good that you're strict about bedtime. Considering that you were on the computer, that extra 1/2 hour was fair.

Anonymous said...

our bedtimes have become later than that, but we do use the "how easily do you get up in the morning" standard. since waking and getting ready for school is the child's own responsibility (except for the youngest who is 7), they can appreciate the difference of being "sufficiently rested" and not. i can't tell you what it difference it makes to everyone's morning not to spend an hour going back and forth to a child's bedroom saying "get-up, you're going to be late!" until it turns into "get up, you're late!".
a couple of cheap bedside alarm clocks are neccessary. (you may have to suffer the occasional shabbat alarms when the child forgets to turn it off erev shabbat).
anyway, everything you wrote sounded completely reasonable.

i find that when i know in advance i'm on my own with the kids, i'm much stricter about bedtimes than when i'm expecting my husband to be home from work to help out.
(this is especially true when he's away on business). the hardest is when he's unexpectedly late....

b'hazlacha and chag same'ach

ps- the movie was a lot of fun! i wonder how many forward-referances i missed? will have to compare notes with you guys!

Anonymous said...

Dearest RivkA,

So many times I read your blog and smile or nod in recognition of having been there, and tried to do that. Or close to that. Or something. Although you started your blog to update people on your condition, it is so much more than that. Thank you for validating us all in our difficulties in going about the mundane, ordinary, every day, day in, day out issues of parenting, and even just living, in the modern world

I have a feeling I won't get a chance to phone you today, so wishing you and your entire family a chag kasher v'sameach. (I wish we could both walk all over Jerusalem tonight again.... :-) )

Love, hugs, and wonderful dairy desserts.


Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

HOW in Heaven's name do you enforce a bedtime AT ALL? Dear oldest daughter (17) (who, admittedly, does not GO to school) goes to bed between 10 and 12. Oldest son (almost 15), who davens at hanetz (sunrise)(by choice) goes to sleep first, right after Ma'ariv. He's often asleep before 9.
Middle daughter (11)insists that all her friends stay up till 10 and why can't she? (See your answer about getting up in the morning.) Youngest son (9) is too hyped up to sleep before 9. He is supposed to be in bed at 7:30. He also maintains that we are out of touch with reality regarding bedtimes for his age group. Youngest daughter (5) will not/cannot go to sleep until her siblings do, but she can sleep a bit later in the morning. I am impressed that you maintain such a strict schedule and to blow it once is FABULOUS!

Baila said...

I am also impressed. Bedtime is a big issue in our house. In our house everyone has to be in their room by 9:30. After that I'm not responsible for my actions :-)

RivkA with a capital A said...

Cheryl, Muse -- thanks for your inpute!!

BW -- I will suggest the alarm clock thing to Moshe. I wonder if it would work for our kids. Everyone in our home, except Moshe, is a really deep sleeper. Even in college I sometimes slept through my alarm.

Maybe some sort of combo thing would work for us. We would have to figure out which should come first the alarm or the warm, gentle wake-up from a parent....

Part of our "problem" is exactly what you write -- when I expect Moshe to come home and put the kids to bed, I will often wait for him, even as the evening pushes on and I see it is getting late.

Often, by the time I realize that is it "too late," things are already out of control and I do not want to deal with cranky kids.

What do you do when your husband is unexpedly late?

Na'amah -- what a wonderful comment! thanks!!

I am glad to know that you remember that first Shavuot as fondly as I do. I still cannot believe how much we walked that night!!

Ah.... the folly of youth!!!


Ye'he Sh'mey -- I hope I was not misleading in my post!! We do have set bedtimes.... but the children are not always in bed at said bedtimes!!

I enforce things a bit less on my eldest, who tend to be very responsible about getting enough sleep.

When I see that she is not being responsible, a small admonishment is usually enough to get her back on track. Most times, she is pretty self aware about her need for sleep. And, on the occasions when she has made ridiculous claims about not needing sleep, a few days without enough sleep is enough to demonstrate that she gets grumpy and unpleasant.

Middle son (12) insists the same. Besides the above response, I often add that when he is a parent then he can decide what time he wants to let his kids go to sleep. (occasionally, I even request that he call me to let me know what he decides and suggest that he might want to apologize to me in the future...)

The main reason our bedtimes are broken into two is that it is clear that my kids need "down time" at the end of the day. That is why they have a "bedtime" and a "lights-out" time. Even when the kids miss their "bedtime," we usually allow them extra "lights out" time. Only when it is really late (for whatever reason), do we sometimes skip the "light out" stage.

The schedule is really only strict in theory.... in practice there is more chaos than I would like to admit.....

Baila -- "after that I am not resonsible for my actions" -- LOL!!