- Handphone controls: They are locked out of the App Store.
- Computer controls: They are not allowed near computers during exams.
- After school controls: Some are not allowed to take part in after school social activities at all. Others need to ask permission.
- Financial controls: Some are given daily cash to spend. Cash that is NOT spent that day, is taken back by the parent. Hence, the child has no discretionary spending, whatsoever.
Smelly Boy was not given access to a smart phone in primary school. He was also not allowed ANY computer games in primary school. His brain has never had a chance to develop a childhood gaming addiction. Going into secondary school, Smelly Boy was well aware of the nefarious consequences of gaming. Discreetly, I observed his gaming patterns.
Just when I was beginning to get worried, Smelly Boy lost his Samsung Galaxy smartphone. He now carries a beat-up Nokia phone which receives Whatsapp and can do nothing else. See picture below. I guess God does look out for me and my children. That which I cannot manage, I leave it to God. Somehow, He allowed for someone to steal Smelly Boy's smartphone.
Nobody can game with this phone.
I assumed that Smelly Boy would need to do projects of all sorts in secondary school. I gave him a Macbook Air. 2 months into Year 1, Smelly Boy cracked the screen. He then had to make do with a very slow netbook (good luck gaming on that neanderthal machine) and an iPad (for word processing and Powerpoint). The family's iPads are all under Petunia's account, and I do not download any games whatsoever.
I don't play them, you see.
Again, it would seem that Providence played a part in keeping Smelly Boy safe. Obviously, God thought it dangerous for Smelly Boy to have easy access to computer games in Year 1 and Year 2.
We will be repairing the cracked screen for his Year 3 but by then, Smelly Boy has had 2 years in secondary school to experience the panoply of exciting school activities (from fund-raising, to cross-country, to techno competitions, to shooting, to football...) that I pretty much know that he will not easily be drawn into a computer game addiction.
Still, I guess I should still be vigilant.
After School Controls
I felt a tinge of guilt when Smelly Boy explained that he often did not ask me for permission to go out with his friends for movies and meals. Gee... I thought in a small panic to myself... if he had gone and become a drug addict after school, I would not have known till too late.
So, again, I guess I just have to thank God for watching over my Smelly Boy.
Smelly Boy spent very little money in primary school. He developed the habit of eating his friends' leftovers.
I used to get upset. It isn't as if Petunia cannot afford to feed Smelly Boy. Why did he have to eat his friends' leftovers? In fact, this was something The Daughter did too! She was waitressing at Sque and it disturbed her so greatly that people did not finish their perfectly delicious fries, that she ate them!! She ate the leftovers of perfect strangers!
When she told me, I was very upset indeed! I can feed you! Don't eat other people's leftovers!! That is just so yucky poo!
Anyway, Smelly Boy used to get a real kick out of the amount of money he had saved at the end of every semester. There was really no need to give him money. We would just count the number of schooldays each semester and bank the total into his account.
Once he got into secondary school, Smelly Boy's EXTREME frugality came to the fore. Petunia considers herself frugal. Compared to Smelly Boy, I actually look like a Paris Hilton. Smelly Boy would not let me order iced tea. "Mom! When they add in ice, they charge a lot more. Yet, you get a very diluted drink. They give you less drink and more ice. Don't you see?!" he explained exasperatedly.
I looked stupidly at him and then I made a mental note to myself that Petunia shall always maintain a discretionary spending account no matter how old I become. If I rely on Smelly Boy to buy me drinks in my retirement, I will probably never get to drink teh si siew tai ping again.
Yesterday, I dragged Smelly Boy and The Husband out to a Thai restaurant which charged $30/person. I was very happy after the meal, raving about the very reasonable prices for good Thai food (because Patara Fine Thai Cuisine charges $60/person). The Husband sniggered and said, "My meals usually cost $6." The Husband looked very proud of himself when Smelly Boy fixed us BOTH with a level stare and said "I eat lunch for $2.50 only. I don't believe in paying a cent more. In fact, in school, my lunch costs less than $1.50."
In conclusion, I am not going to push the issue of financial controls because Smelly Boy is more likely to control MY spending than the other way around.
An Okay Mom
I was so thrilled at being described as a Cool Mom that I went on and on and on about this singular honour that Smelly Boy decided to put a stop to my boasting. He said, "Actually, Mom. They did not say 'cool'. They said you're 'okay'. You see, there are okay moms and terrible moms. The terrible ones control everything. You're only an okay mom."
After thinking for a bit, I asked, "Hmmmm... is there anything cooler than an okay mom?"
****Looooooong pause****.... ****Roll eyes****
Then Smelly Boy replied, "No... an okay mom is about the best kinda mom one can have."
Hee! I am still gloating.