Dear Dr. Jim
I sure do need your help. My wife hogs the computer here, and if she lets it loose the kids grab hold.
We can't afford two so mostly I am in the lurch. Once in a while I call in sick so that I can get on the computer during the day.
Other times I throw a fit (it would be a tantrum if I were a kid) about it and they all feel guilty. So then I may get to use it a little until they settle down and start begging with me for THEIR computer.
I really am missing my computer games and visiting with my FaceBook friends.
Please help me, Dr. Jim,
Andy in Andersonville, Arkansas
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Dear Andy (really AAA, huh?)
Well now, you have gotten yourself into a mess, haven't you.
Really now, we could see this coming since you are all bound to just the one computer. Unfortunately you have drawn the short straw and are pretty much left out of the rotation.
Our solution is to get you back into the rotation. You must call a family conference and ANNOUNCE that you also need some prime time computer time.
It would help if Mrs. Andy will support you in this. You can ANNOUNCE to her as well but things will go a lot easier for all if she approves ahead of time.
Here is what you do:
1. Divide the evening hours that you all have into 30-minute segments on a piece of paper. Keep in mind that some of the children may have earlier bed times than others and than you adults.
2. Have everyone write their preferences in time for all the slots, from one (1) to as many as you have in common.
3. Start at square number one and write the names of those who want this early time. Mrs. Andy may not want these early ones if she is going to prepare supper. THIS MAY BE THE TIME WHEN YOU SHARE--FROM HERE ON--IN THE PREPARATION OF MEALS to give her some prime time for reading her e-mails and the like.
4. In a hat, place the name token (that you have made for each) for those desiring this time. If possible let someone who has not wanted this time to draw. The name drawn will get the time.
5. Leave the name just drawn out and put in anyone else whose token is not in from the last drawing. Remove any one's who does not want this time. Let a person who is not in the hat draw. The person who won the last drawing would be good for this.
6. Repeat the process until all slots have names assigned. Easy way to do this, cross out everyone except the winner where they first wrote. You could have a fresh schedule but this leads to problems of one's word against the other about mistakes.
7. Put the all the name tokens back into the hat when it becomes empty. Watch that the distribution of times is equal until the kids start going to bed.
8. Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 for all the days of the week. Weekends may be on hold until everyone's weekend schedule of activities is firmed up.
Hope this has helped you out of your problem, it really was/is a family problem.
A Colombo: I purposely referenced the AAA in my greeting because my idea for the solution to the computer time situation is similar to the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) approach to problem drinking.
And you, staying home from work just to play and use the computer. Talk about addictions, you need to think about this one. Dr. Jim
So, keep on keep'n on, and till then,
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