Friday, January 23, 2015

The Favorite Son Saga: The X-Box Contract

The Favorite Son and friend hanging out and playing X-Box.
Forget about mastery. I have to admit, there have been more than a few things about parenting that it has taken me a long time to even understand. One of those things is just the nearly addictive nature of the new gaming systems and video games.

For The Favorite Son (TFS), I've struggled to strike a balance that I can live with among school work, extra-curricular activities, responsibilities at home, and gaming systems. On one hand, I want TFS to be able to unwind a little or have a way to entertain his friends during "hang-out's." On the other hand, well, when there's been a gaming system available, TFS tends to play it to the exclusion of everything else. That's a problem for me.

Thirteen months ago, I bought the family an X-Box and 12 months ago, I put it away. With TFS having aged and matured another year, I decided to give it another try and recently re-installed the X-Box with a catch. TFS had to sign a contract:

The X-Box Contract

This X-Box Contract, (hereafter, “Agreement”), made on January 11, 2015 between The Favorite Son and Dad relates to the use of the X-Box or any gaming system, (hereafter, “X-Box”), used, located in any room, or connected to any electronic device located in or on the property located at our house.  In consideration for having the X-Box, The Favorite Son understands and agrees:

1)    The X-Box may only be played by The Favorite Son on weekend days, Saturdays or Sundays unless special permission is given only by Dad;
2)    The X-Box may only be played by The Favorite Son on weekend days only if The Favorite Son does his homework and chores during the previous week without incident;
3)    The X-Box may only be played by The Favorite Son on weekend days only if Dad gives permission;
4)    While playing on the X-Box, The Favorite Son will willingly and without incident turn X-Box off and stop playing when asked to do so by Dad;
5)    The Favorite Son understands that X-Box controllers will be stored by Dad when the X-Box is not in use. The Favorite Son will not attempt to locate X-Box controllers;
6)    The Favorite Son understands that failure to comply with Agreement may result in the removal of the X-Box and temporary or permanent removal of X-Box from our house and The Favorite Son’s privileges to use X-Box.
I promise to comply with this Agreement:

_________________________                                _________________________
Dad                                                                              The Favorite Son

After I printed a couple of copies, TFS and I sat down and we started to read it together. He said, "Dad, this sounds silly."

I answered, "This is the kind of agreement that grown-up's make."

When we finished reading it, TFS took the pen, looked pensively out the window, and did not sign the contract. I asked, "Why aren't you signing."

He replied, "I'm thinking about it. Isn't that what grown-up's do?"

"Yes," I reluctantly answered.


It's too early to tell how much benefit The X-Box Contract will be, but I'll write another blog in few weeks to update our progress.