Max and the Monday Adventure

Max is eight and lately he’s been grumpy. Like all the time. He’s at an age where all he wants to do is play video games. We’re not really big on video games, so that causes a lot of issues. He asks to play, we say no, he gets angry and storms off. It’s a difficult stage, to say the least.

We’re really big on family time and spending time outside and adventuring. Lately, Max has been refusing to anything with us… like taking a bike ride, going on a walk, even going to the park. He just says he doesn’t want to go.

Last Monday, Josh mentioned taking a walk as a family. Max said he wanted to stay home, so Josh took the girls and I stayed with Max. I tried convincing him to go on a bike ride or a walk with me and he kept saying no. I ended up throwing a bit of a mommy fit (surely I’m not the only one to do this!).

In the end, he decided to go on a bike ride with me and we had an incredible adventure! We biked the long trail by our house and found a creek. We took off our shoes and played in the creek and then we biked home. It was almost six miles roundtrip, so we had lots of time to chat about life during that time.

I posted about this on Facebook and my friend Dana called it ‘reluctance to transition’. And it’s really the perfect label for Max’s behavior lately… He was reluctant to transition from what he was doing to going on a bike ride with me. But the second he got on his bike, his entire mood changed and we had a great time.

I’ve been feeling hurt lately that Max has been so uninvolved in our family fun… feeling like he doesn’t want to be a part of our adventures. Thanks to our bike ride and Dana’s perspective, I realize that I was completely wrong. Max really does love hanging out with his family… he just needs some help making that transition.

I’ve tried giving him warnings like “at 5 pm, we’re going on a walk”, but he hasn’t responded well to that. For now, I’m just telling him he has to participate. As soon as we get him out the door, he’s great. I’d love to hear how you help your kids make that transition when they’re so resistant!

P.S. I didn’t bring a camera so these phones were taken on my iPhone. Please pardon the poor quality!

boy playing in the creek

Jenny (290 Posts)

Jenny Solar is the co-founder of The Happy Family Movement and Phone Monsters, Inc. She's a wife to Josh and mama to three kiddos: Max, Ava, and Lia. She's passionate about creating memorable experiences for her family and inspiring others to do the same.


It was like you were talking about my kid. J is almost 8 (youngest in his class) and is just now into video games and playing games on the iPad. I am also not a fan. Luckily we started letting him play with rules so pulling the reigns a little tighter has been easier than if he used to get to play a lot. What we've done is tell him that he is only allowed to play 3-4 times per week and he can choose the days. We set the oven's timer for 1 hour and as soon as it beeps, if he doesn't get off, he forfeits his time for the next play day. Believe me, when he hears that timer, he runs! It really has been so much easier to manage, but that doesn't necessarily take his attitude away. Jaxson is a lot like Max- he has a great time doing other things besides gaming and once he lets loose, it takes him no time at all to figure that out. I had a talk with Jaxson about how the older a person gets, the easier it is to be mean and grumpy and the harder it is to be nice and happy because we realize that we want to do what we want to do when we want to do it so I put a challenge out there. I challenged him to prove the norm wrong- to be just as nice, if not, more so as he gets older. He's about to turn 8 and when he's acting like a brat, I simply say, "Remember what I said about the older you get, the harder it is to be nice?" He just looks at me, apologizes and moves on. He is a sensitive kid. The last thing in the word he wants to do is disappoint us so I feel like being straight with him is the best solution for him and us. He has to realize that his bad mood drags the rest of us down and it's unfair. We have our days and moments, but keeping good attitude top of mind and timing his gaming has really helped us. Wishing you all the best of luck and more than anything, just know you are NOT alone.


This post is so spot on with our family and describes our day to day to a tee.  We have a set of 8 year old twins and our son (boy/girl twins) is exactly what you described your son to be.  Just yesterday was their birthday and he didn't want to do the paddle boats with us.  Then, once I forced him to go...he had the best time of his life  (from his words exactly).  For us it truly is the transition of things and it started once they got in 2nd grade and progressively got worse towards the end of 2nd.  Here's to a happy, energetic, fun summer enjoying each other!!

Rachael May
Rachael May

Not that you need MORE parenting advice....but we've got a similar situation at our house. My oldest is only 7 (so we are a little younger) and dad is into video games too (and was when he was younger). So he has a nice perspective and my husband totally understands where our son's little mind is coming from.

We started a "video games only on the weekend" rule. And he has to earn his video game time doing reading, homework, exercise, etc.. This really stopped the day to day whining about video games (which drove me absolutely crazy).  On the weekends we usually get up and go do something as a family (also required before video games can be played) and when he gets home he's allowed to play.  It's  a set time each day on the weekend, and it's like he knows he'll get to do it so he stops bugging us about it every min. of every day.  We let him play for a few hours....which might seem like a lot....but my husband's input on this was " just let him get it out of his system. When we tried 30 min. a day turning off the games was such a battle. He just didn't have enough time to do what he wanted.

Anyway...I know you've got lots of input and different ideas. I thought my husband's insight (with a passion for video games) was helpful.

Good luck.

And, you are not the only mom throwing mommy fits over issues like this.


My Mason is 8 and also loves video games. We limit it but he still gets in such a bad mood when it's time to do something new. Love the phrase 'reluctance to transition'. That is a great description. One thing I am going o do this summer is put him in a camp where they start learning how to write the programs or ideo games. Hopefully it does not make his obsession worse but instead helps his creativity soar and has him interacting with other boys his age.

I have 2 other boys that are younger. Here's hoping I'm more prepared for age 8 when they get there in a few years!!!

happyfammvmt moderator

@kendra_kimball I love that. We've been trying to get Max into coding for quite some time, but he's not interested. No biggie, though. I hope it works for you!


HI :) I'm so glad that what I said help you. Jack has, like I told you, a reluctance to transition. We have started empowering him to make the right choices while structuring it so that he has to make the right choices in order to earn time on his computer, iPod, etc...This has proven to be the best solution thus far...and, we have searched for solutions...of course, Jack is almost 11, but they are pretty similar so, it might be worth trying this approach with Max. Hugs to you all!


I seriously think it's just the age.  My daughter started the same thing around 8 years old - she's now 11.  Even now, it's hard transitioning her into "family time" and it does hurt my feelings when she would rather play on the computer than hang out with us.  I try to maintain a balance, though.  I want her to have time to herself, so I give her an allotted amount of time each day for computer time/quiet time on her own.  But she understands (albeit reluctantly) that at, say, 6:30pm, it's time to turn off all electronics and spend time as a family.  

I've also found that allowing her to choose our family activity from time to time helps.  Sometimes we'll let her choose a movie, or choose a game, etc.  Because it's something she picked, she's more willing to participate, and usually has a blast once we get started.  

I told my husband not long ago that sometimes I feel like I'm losing her.  She's growing up, and I know, inevitably, there will come a day when she doesn't want to hang out with mom...  So for now, I'll cherish the time I have, even if it has to be gently pushed on her.  :)