My kids are boring.

Until I was a teenager the nearest thing our family had to legit technology was a rotary dial telephone and a four-station television set – five stations if Fox was coming in good that day. If there was more savvy stuff available it hadn’t made it to the back forty yet or we couldn’t afford it. I can still remember when my parents brought home our first video game – the Atari 2600. It had been out long enough other kids in school were already talking about it and my sister and I evidently whined enough they bought one just to shut us up.

My game of choice was Pitfall, I was without a doubt the best in the family and the first to beat it. I had learned that by standing on the alligator’s eyes you can jump across landing on their heads without getting eaten. My sister’s game was Frogger and my dad’s Ms. Pacman. Our mom couldn’t care less. Once we had it the family dynamic changed forever. No longer would we spend evenings around the television watching Dallas or Falcon Crest, instead we would fight for turns on who got to play next.

There were times while playing that the day would virtually waste away. I would be so enchanted by the pixels and the sounds that I became hypnotized with jumping rolling barrels and eating blue bobble eyed ghosts. But I would always come back to reality and remember there was a real world outside where I could play with friends, ride bikes, climb trees, or throw a tennis balls against the side of our house like I was Nolan Ryan pitching in the 9th inning. God, how my mother hated that.

I so rocked this game

I can’t ever remember my mom screaming at me to stop playing video games and go outside and do something. And unless I was in some hot streak gammer ‘zone’, dying for the 2,898 time was usually enough for me to realize I needed to stop or I was going to throw the controller out the window.  And when that did happen never, and I mean never, did I expect, require, hope for, or demand my mom or dad to entertain me. I was creative enough I could usually find something to get into of my own accord which might include hitting my sister with a baseball bat or wrecking the four-wheeler.

•♦•

If the ability for self-entertainment is hereditary, my kids got none of my genes. For my kids, if their recreation doesn’t include a Wii, iTouch or iPad, Netflix, Nickelodeon, or a laptop with an internet connection they spend the entire day laying around the couch like those bored models in Calvin Klein ads. It drives me to the brink of insanity. We live in a private gated community that is as safe as a police station. We have nice manicured grounds and my son has a friend his same age a stone throw from our front door. But instead of adventuring the great outdoors they’d rather snuggle up with a controller and argue about who gets to be Harry Potter.

It invariably happens that I reach my tipping point and demand all electronics go into the ‘OFF’ position and they need to find some other way to amuse themselves that doesn’t require an electrical plug. Then within minutes, as if rehearsed, comes the gripe-fest at how bored they are with pleas for, Daddy, can we go here? Daddy, can we do this? Daddy, can you buy me that? Daddy, can you do this with me? Daddy, make monkeys fly out your butt. 

And when I can’t immediately drop the 649 other things I’m doing like washing clothes, cleaning floors, or earning a living they start in with their whiny Fran Dresher voices …I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!

And then I unleash one of my favorites on them: “You’re responsible for your own fun! If you’re bored, that means you’re boring!”

•♦•

Am I the only one that has this problem? Or have they only gotten like this because they’re divorced kids and have become far too dependent on mom and dad who, after missing them for several days, does back handsprings, somersaults, and pulls a raccoon out of their hat with joy that they’re kids are back? And when did it become my parental responsibility, aside from clothing, feeding, keeping them warm, and ensuring they aren’t mauled by panther,s to be their walking three-ring circus replete with clowns and a bearded lady ready to perform at a moments notice – ot to mention the whole monkey butt thing?  Besides I’m pretty sure that gig doesn’t pay well and has crappy benefits.

For the life of me I can’t, and won’t, be that dad who shoves his kids in front of a monitor because it’s easier nor am I going to be that parent who stresses out weeks before spring break each year scouring the internet for ‘fun ways to entertain your kids this spring break’. I graduated with a concentration in Finance, if they want to talk about the Theory of Supply and Demand I’m all in, otherwise I’m done pooping monkeys.

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12 responses to My kids are boring.

  1. Margareth

    Boring is a common case were most of us encounter at the same way, but more often I make a twist that bring a kind of entertainment to my children…. Movie marathon is one of the best thing for it….

  2. Kimberly

    Ive gotten so sick of the im bored line I have made up a list of chores with numbers (ie: wipe down the kitchen cabinets, clean up the yard, clean the bathroom etc) every time my kids say Mommy Im bored i call out a number and they have to do the asigned chore. It worked very well with my older girls Im hoping it will work just as well on my younger girls.

  3. Papa – Author

    Oh I have no issues putting my kids to work. I’m waiting for the day when I’ll be the one sitting on my butt while their vacuuming around my feet.

  4. Boredom is the ideal in an operating room. You never want things to be interesting there. I always tell my kid that when he complains of being bored, which is a lot.

  5. You are not alone my friend. My son is only 4 and he is already being inundated with all the electronic crap. From iPhone games (Angry Birds) to MarioKart, it’s as if once they get a taste of it, they NEED it forever! We’ve been fairly strict with the gaming, reserving it for weekends only! I guess we’re lucky in a way because my kids love playing outside as well but I can see the demons creep in when video games get brought up.

  6. Okay, I have to say this before I say anything else…your mention of Dallas and Falcon Crest gave me a “blast from your past” moment.

    As for the kids and boredom…I believe you. Children have gotten farther and farther from being creative, using their imagination…and all the other important things like speaking well, reading, writing, spelling. We — adults — have failed to put down limits, saying “no” and being firm about it. I can’t see why a parent would want to have their child sitting in front of a computer or television screen or with a mobile gaming device for what amounts to HOURS on a daily or weekly basis. That’s too easy. And it is disturbing to hear year after year of how unhealthy we’re all becoming — especialy kids, at an alarming rate. Smh.

  7. Kimberly

    My kids are 11 and soon to be 13 my older girls were about thier age when I started them on chores. As it is my 13 yr old is a wiz at cleaning the bathroom lol. Rt now they do dishes, clean bathroom, help with laundry, clean thier rooms and vaccum. They both can cook as well simple meals but tasty, this was a necessity for me as I have have 3 major surguries in the past 3 yrs so needed them to help out. This has worked to my advantage.

  8. Florence18Moore

    Boredom comes along, one thing that I made in order to create a happiness with my little princess is to buy her a “tablet” and now, even she’s at home she has a lovely face…

  9. Jenkins

    One thing that I gonna do when boredom strikes to my children, I’m was able to talk them and have a great fun with their stuff…

  10. (apologies for dredging up an old post)

    My father always responded with one of two things:
    1. A paraphrase from Abraham Lincoln: “You are going to be as happy as you decide to be”
    or
    2. Read a book. Write a book. Invent something. How about a transporter?

    I continue that tradition with my kids.

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