Saturday, August 7, 2010
Invariably as a parent I'm caught between two opposing desires: I want my kids to have each other's backs, and I want them to tell me if the other one is doing something that puts the other kid in danger. I want them to be on the same team and to be on my team, even though half the time I'm the enemy.
The only problem with the scenario is that Daughter is a natural-born snitch. She loves catching Bar Mitzvahzilla doing something he's not supposed to be doing. She'll sneak around rooms, lurk out of sight, just about shimmy on her belly down a hallway, anything to catch him in some unauthorized activity, which, around here, could be something pretty innocuous, like playing on the Xbox when he's not supposed to.
This doesn't exactly build a healthy relationship between the kids. It also doesn't help that Bar Mitzvahzilla, a nice, mellow kid, doesn't really see this coming each time it happens. He'll be doing his favorite activity in the world, which apparently is killing the bad guys who have pretend-invaded the United States, and won't have made any attempt to disguise his activity - like there are the sounds of bombs and missiles coming from the den where he's supposed to be watching TV. Then Daughter will just happen to cruise through the kitchen and tell me that her brother's on the Xbox.
It's extremely tempting to use a snitchy child like this as my eyes and ears, to be my spycam on the teenager. But, I know. I have to avoid that. First of all, and even if she can't see it, I need them to be friends. I need them on the same team. I'm willing to have her rat him out if it was a safety issue or risky behavior. But Xbox? I think I can take it from here.
So I tell the snitch that she has to stop telling on her brother, that she has to try harder to consider herself on his "team." The kid team, not the parent team. She gives me a stormy look and goes to tell Husband instead.
Do you have any snitches in the house? Do you find it hard not to want the information but wanting the behavior to stop? Any teenagers (or significant others) with gaming addictions?