Lesson for Đạo

After taking a bath and brushing his teeth last night, Xuân asked me if he could play video games. I granted him permission, which was somehow automatically applied to his brothers. As they turned on their devices, I told Đạo and Đán to brush their teeth first before they could play. While Đán ran into the bathroom to get it done and over with, Đạo immediately released his frustration and protested, “You gotta be kidding me.” He did this every single time I asked him to do something and I had enough of it last night. I revoked his permission.

He threw a tantrum and said, “I hate you.” His sharp word was like a knife stabbing through my heart, but I stayed calm and quiet. I went into my bedroom to read. He brushed his teeth, stumped into my room, and dragged his blanket and pillows to his mom’s room. He came back and asked if he could play. I stayed firm and said no. He got more upset and accused me of singled him out and that no one loved him. I had to point out to him that if I didn’t love him or didn’t care about him, I wouldn’t have asked him to brush his teeth. There was no benefit for me to ask him to do it. My teeth wouldn’t get any cleaner or shinier if he brushed his teeth. He covered his ears and didn’t want to hear my explanation.

He said that I just wanted to make him unhappy. I asked him, “As a parent, what can I do to make him happy? Would allowing unlimited time for playing video games make you happy?” I explained to him the danger of addiction. The way he behaved when he was not allowed to play showed a sign of addiction. The fact that he hated me for not letting him play was a sign of addiction. Somehow explaining to him how game makers used psychology to get the players hooked got through to him.

He went downstairs to make me an ice cold cup of water because of all the talking I did. He brought back his blanket and pillows. He wrapped himself in a blanket, but reached out his hand to grab mine. We held each other’s hand and fell asleep. This kid can break my heart one minute and just heal it the next. I have nothing but love for him even when the love is tough.

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