The Nuclear Option

Photo 1
Photo 1

On Saturday, I invoked the “nuclear option.” Fed up with my 10-year-old son’s consistently rude behavior, and his knee-jerk instinct to fill up any free time with “electronics,” I banned him from watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the web for the day (with the specter of a much longer ban if things didn’t improve). So what happened?

He read more. He was consistently more pleasant and polite.  At night, without cell phone or computer or TV to turn to, he asked if he and I could bake cookies, which we did from scratch.

He really stepped up for the baking project, sharing in most of the prep. See photo 1 for a classic tableau of two men looking befuddled while trying to differentiate between baking soda and baking powder.

See photo 2 for our first batch of cookies, in which we learned the hard way about how baking usually entails a degree of expansion.

Photo 2
Photo 2

Finally, see photo 3 for our second batch, in which we course corrected the placing of the dough.

Later, while enjoying the cookies with milk at our dining table, the phone rang and I asked Adam to get up and answer it–the nearest phone being a few feet away in the kitchen.


Photo 3

“I’m sorry,” he said, smiling. “I’m banned from using all electronics.

Eric Messinger is the editor of  New York Family. He can be reached at [email protected].