A user asked, Am I wrong for following our family’s electronics rule?


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The Original Poster (OP) (F29) married her husband (M45) a little over a year ago. He had two kids from a previous marriage “Sam” (M14) and “Zach” (M9).

OP’s husband and OP started dating when Zach was four, and Sam was 9. OP treats both of them like her own sons, but Zach and OP have a closer relationship.

OP says, “I figure it is because I met him when he was young. My husband and his ex-wife have 50-50 custody, one week with us and then one week with her.”

What Is The Rule Everyone Follows?

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In their home, they have a rule that there are no electronics after 8:30 PM. This applies to OP’s husband and OP as well.

They think it’s essential for them to have quality family time in the evenings and protect their young kids from using the internet without their supervision (the internet is a dangerous place for kids nowadays).

What Does Sam Do?

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Sam is involved in school with extracurriculars and sports, so sometimes, he doesn’t get home until 7 PM. Sometimes it can be challenging to balance everything, but we support him; he doesn’t want to give up anything.

What Happened Two Days Back?

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Two nights ago, he came home at 7, and they ate dinner, watched a 30-minute show, and then Sam went to his room around 8. OP planned to read before bed, so she put her phone and laptop in the “Docking Station” early.

This is where they put their electronics at 8:30.

What Did She Notice?

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At 8:45/9 PM, OP checked on Sam, and he was on his computer. She asked him why he was breaking the rules, and he said he had homework due the next day that he had to finish.

What Did OP Tell Him

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OP told him that, unfortunately, rules are rules, and he would have to put his laptop up immediately, and she would spare him the consequence. He told her that it would only take him 15 more minutes; OP said no he has to give it to OP now.

After some back and forth, he gave it to OP.

What’s The Consequence?

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Their consequence is that if anyone breaks this rule, they cannot have electronics for three days. Because he argued with OP, she told him he could not have his laptop, phone, or Nintendo Switch for three days.

He was upset, calling OP names and saying how OP wasn’t his mother, but OP took his electronics and left.

What Happened Yesterday?

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Yesterday, OP got a phone call from her husband’s ex-wife.

She started yelling at OP over the phone, telling OP that Sam got a zero on an assignment because OP didn’t let him finish it and that this rule in their home was absurd.

What Did He Do?

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Turns out he emailed her from a school laptop.

She was furious, and OP told her respectfully that we have their own rules at their home, and when the kids are there, they have to follow them.

What Does OP Think?

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Also, Sam should have planned better to get the work done before 8:30. She yelled at OP some more and said that this was unfair and that OP was being a “tyrant.”

After this, OP called her husband, and he told OP to stick to the rule but not to talk to his ex anymore because he didn’t want her to yell at him. Now Sam is giving OP the silent-angry treatment, and his mother has been texting OP that OP is cold and heartless. 

OP wants to know if she is being a jerk.

What Do Others Think?

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“You are wrong and might want to consider changing your rule. If he gets home at 7, how will he have time to eat and do homework by 8:30?

Like it or not, electronics are essential for school nowadays, and he should get his homework done one way or another.”

Where Is The Husband?

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“You’re wrong for all these reasons.

Also, where is the father when this is going down? If he’s letting OP lay down detrimental rules without standing up for his kid’s ability to do required schoolwork, then he has no business having custody.

Then again, maybe that’s OP’s real goal here.”

You Know You’re Wrong

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“He didn’t even get the full-time from 7:00 to 8:30. I doubt watching the “family” show is voluntary from the little dude’s side, but even if he did, dinner alone would take up at least 30 minutes. Thirty minutes to an hour are barely enough to finish primary school homework.

She set her stupid rules out of spite and not goodwill. The little dude was put in a damn if you do, damn if you don’t the situation. If he skipped dinner and “family” show to finish his homework on time, OP would likely have another tantrum because he did not value her pretentious family time.

OP, you are a jerk, and you know it. Stop sabotaging your stepson’s future to satisfy your ego and your delusional “perfect family” picture.”

Rules Are Harming The Future

What the hell are you talking about, nonsense. Studio shot of frustrated female with long chestnut hair gesturing with raised palm, frowning, being displeased and confused with dumb question.
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“You are a jerk. This kid couldn’t finish homework because of this “rule.” You want this child to manage his time better. Here’s the thing, you aren’t this kid’s parent, and it shouldn’t be your job to discipline and punish him.

Your inflexibility and lack of understanding are detrimental to this kid and his education. It’s not like he was goofing off and playing video games. He was doing schoolwork. He got a zero because of your dumb rule.

His mom is to be upset, and she should take this to the courts and try to get primary custody. You are more concerned with your rule than a child’s education and future.”

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