What is the point of parenting if you don't get to force your own agenda? We start doing this early, by picking a mate. I picked smart, good looking, and Jewish. I didn't pick good social skills. Believe me, I would have, if I had understood their importance at the time. But one result of not having social skills is you don't know why anyone else needs them, either.
So I have smart, good-looking, Jewish kids. And I also have kids who spend a good part of each day running around fields and forests, which is also my agenda: I wanted that as a kid, so I moved to a farm as an adult.
So I talk all about self-directed learning and following my kids' lead, but really, if my kid said he wanted to play football there would be a quick stop to the idea that kids know what's best for themselves.
I have other agenda items: No teen pregnancy. I am starting early on that one. No keeping odd hours for bedtime. I feel like it's a linchpin of to self-discipline. And no rampant sex videos on YouTube.
The last one was the hardest for me to manage. Mostly because my son has already done a lot of searches and knew what he'd be missing. So I started looking into my options. When I found Hax Attacks, and gave it a whirl, I learned something about forcing my agenda: The kids will try anything in the form of a game.
Hax Attacks teaches kids about safe Internet use in the form of a game. If I had said to the kids, "I need you to know about cyber security," they would have decided right then that they don't care about cyber security. But when I say, "Hey, maybe you'll like this game," they'll give it a try.
This is my new tactic for forcing my agenda. I have already done this a few time – like with a geography game. But now I realize that I can force them to think about any topic for a few minutes if it comes in the form of a game.