He thought that since he had been re-instated to rehab, he should have the X-box back, immediately.
He quietly listened as we explained that we needed to establish some new rules since everything had gone haywire in the last week.
Then, he went to his room.
The rules were:
1. Do one chore each day, before playing the X-box.
2. X-box time is determined by parents.
3. X-box usage is on a daily basis depending on all rules being followed.
*4. Treat parents with respect and in a positive, kind manner. No swearing and talking negatively to us.
*5. Follow rehab facility rules and behavior expectations. Keep committed to working through the program positively.
*6. Do homework
7. Give controller back each night.
*8. Be willing to do family things with us that we normally do. (Go out to dinner, go to movies, go camping, etc.).
*’d numbers are general rules, not just X-box rules.
Lose the X-box for a day for:
1. Disrespect (breaking rule #4)
2. Swearing (breaking rule #4)
3. Not doing rehab facility requirements. (breaking rule #5)
4. Telling us what you think you are going to do without regard to the rules or expectations.
Apparently, he wasn’t planning on doing anything with the new rules that night.
He had taken up “tagging drawing” in the last week and spent the rest of the night lying on his bed drawing. He acted as if he could care less about playing the X-box anymore.
He definitely had a hidden talent for tagging and had actually done some pretty good work on his sketch pad. We wondered why, all of a sudden, he had decided to start this kind of drawing, but at least he was doing something. Maybe this could lead to an interest in graphic art and would be something he could make a career of. Anything was possible, I guess.
It made me slightly nervous that he was practicing tagging since he had a period of time in rehab where he had been gang-talking and would only wear his red and black clothes. He declared that it had nothing to do with gangs and that he wouldn’t go around spray painting buildings and fences.
It was another one of those things that we just didn’t know what to think about, but couldn’t help but worry about.
It was fine that he didn’t want to play the X-box, but not fine that he was still isolating himself and acting as if the rules were inconsequential to him.
So, I decided to give a small lecture.
Because lectures are so effective.
I told him that one chore a day isn’t that much to ask and that it definitely helps me out if others who are living in our house, actually contribute a little bit when it comes to keeping it clean.
I also reminded him that there were things on the list (the ones with stars by them) that pertained to everyday life, not just the X-box and that those rules needed to be followed whether he played the X-box or not.
He seemed to understand that.
I asked, “Is it really worth it to you to just not play the X-box so that you won’t have to do one little chore a day?”
I did not get an answer.
Surprisingly, after my little lecture, he stopped acting as grouchy toward me. (Not necessarily toward my husband, though).
But, he still did not do a chore that night.
Over the next few days there gradually began to be more cooperation in our house and less arguing.
Something seemed to have changed for the better, as if some kind of awakening had happened in my son.
It was nice to see him waking up.
It was a good thing.