posted by Joe Anaya on June 10th, 2013

My kid loves to read. Most parents are envious of that trait. They often marvel over his voracious reading. He’ll go through novels like a regular kid goes through a bag of chips. If left to his own devices, he’d just read, eat, play video games, then read some more. But what the other parents don’t see is the dark side of this habit. We’ve had to make rules around the house that would seem ridiculous to other parents.

No Reading Material With Company: We had company and instead of shaking hands, introducing himself, and making idol chit-chat, he had his nose in a book and couldn’t be bothered to engage in human interaction. So, no reading when company comes over. Once he’s done the obligatory “This is my son” stuff, he’s excused and can go back to reading.

No Reading Material In A Restaurant: Part of going out to eat is social. So, it doesn’t add to the evening when he isn’t part of the conversation. When we take his book away, he reads the placemat, he’ll read the menu, we just keep trying to engage him in human interaction.

No Reading Material At Breakfast: This came about because our son would read while eating breakfast and suddenly look up and realize he was late for school. So, we banned reading at breakfast. But he’s so compelled to read, he’d reach out and start reading the ingredients of the cereal box. Boxes banned from the table. Reading newspaper ads. Banned. Nothing with words or letters anywhere near the breakfast table.

No Reading Material In The Bathroom: He would go into the bathroom to brush his teeth and disappear for an hour. He would go in to wash his hands and disappear for 45 minutes. When we called out to him, he would claim to be going to the bathroom. We didn’t want to call him a liar or burst into the bathroom to catch him, so… All reading material banned from the bathroom.

So the next time you lament how your kid only reads his school assigned text, think twice about what the other options are and be glad you don’t have to make reading rules like me.

File Under King of the Castle