Connecting Despite the Xbox

Oldest son is entering the middle school years. As such, he is becoming adept at tuning mom and dad out to focus on what is more important to a teenager.

Like raiding the fridge, Xbox, television, bickering with his little sister, etc.

After dropping the little crew off at their every-other-day-summer camp last week, I returned home and failed to engage older boy in a traditional conversation. The fruits of my labor being several "uhuhs" and a couple of unintelligible grunts.

So, I changed my approach:

"Son, a battalion of Pharaoh ants has breached the interior of the garage compound again. I just acquired airborne weaponry so that we can repulse the invaders and launch a counter offensive. 

Now, this situation requires the utmost in discretion as the Commandant of our humble abode needs not to be informed or concerned about this development--creepy crawlies that close to living areas are definitely not her thing.

So what do you say soldier, can you be locked and loaded; ready to implement the attack at 0930?"

My son gave me the just-embarrassed-my-classmate-by-thumping-him-at-Call-of-Duty smile, laughed, and said: "Sure dad, I'm in."

Too bad that since I used this approach on a simple task and eliminated it's unique appeal, I am sure it won't work next time.

One day at a time as a parent, right?

Happy Monday.


lisa said...

Ahhhh, middle school. How much I (don't) miss those days! I must say your approach to the invading ants made me giggle, so thanks for the Monday morning smile. I really need it today.

Pat Hatt said...

hahaha well you sure are creative. That will at least keep his attention. Or force him to get ear plugs

EC Stilson said...

You're preaching to the choir today. My eleven-year-old is becoming quite independent. I'm glad you gave me a new approach though! I'm sure this will work for me a few times ;) Thanks!

messymimi said...

Well, the one approach that really gets their attention is to unplug said device, but i don't recommend it unless the house is on fire and you can't get their attention any other way.

Kay G. said...

Ah, the middle school years... I remember them but I have tried to block them out. Our son didn't give us any problems but it is an awkward age and I was happy when they were over.
Keep a sense of humor! Looks like I don't have to tell you that, you have figured it out!

jodeeluna said...

I cannot believe your oldest is a middle schooler already. Where did our blogging years go? As a former middle school teacher, and parent of two middle schoolers, I can offer some great advice :).

Maxi said...

Uh Slam, hate to tell ya but that kinda communication ain't gonna work.
blessings ~ maxi

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

That's a great response. Out of curiosity, have you ever thought about making a father/son night once a week where you play one XBOX game together? Or perhaps a computer game together? Just to be clear...this would be a game that only you two play and one that he can't play with his friends or online buddies or by himself. It may be a great way to bond with your son.

Just speaking from experience (and I'm over 40) I've had tremendous fun playing computer games and am quite good at them. It could be fun to "show up" your son if you are similarly talented so that he has someone to strive and beat. There's nothing like the feeling of having fun with a loved one combined with a little competition.

Bob G. said...

Never went to middle school...

Hell we were tossed out of elementary school and RIGHT into HIGH SCHOOL the next about "culture-shock"...LOL.

I like your "approach"...nice tactics AND strategy.

Now, if you can convince him to pick up a copy of Sun Tzu...!

Roll safe out there.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for all the comments.

@ Jodeeluna--I may take you up on that offer.

@ Michael: I appreciate the wisdom and can relate. I secretly play lots of video games with older boy. He can defeat me at most of them, but the sports and strategy ones, I still have the upper-hand.