Hope can be sneaky. She’s gotten much better about her covert operations. It used to be food. She snuck it all the time; I mean ALL the time. We seem to be finally past that now; Hope gets what she wants to eat and all that she wants to eat. It’s rare that she binges anymore.

Now if I could just get her to throw the food wrappers away life would be greater.

Hope’s current sneaky endeavors are reserved to technology. Her obsession with K-Dramas fuels this intense need to watch all the time, but when she uses her phone screen time within a few hours of waking up and has to turn in her laptop at 9pm she can’t get enough of her fix.

The laptop goes in the living room, and after I go to bed around 10:30, Hope tiptoes out of her room to go retrieve it. I’m none the wiser since according to my Fitbit I hit deep sleep immediately after hitting the sheets.

I got suspicious a few months ago when my daughter strangely started going to the “bathroom” (ie returning the laptop to the living room) around 4:30am. That’s close to waking time for me so I’m cycling through a light sleep and the light always wakes me. #motionsensinglights

So I started monitoring and Google’s “My Activity” dishes all the dirt.



Get into it!


I periodically take the laptop into my room at night, but in an effort to engender trust I often still leave it out giving Hope a chance to work on curbing her sneaky impulsivity.

In total, she’s been caught 3 times, which frankly is not bad at all given her obsession, the temptation and her level of impulsiveness.

Well, this long holiday weekend she got busted on the first night we were home together—Thursday. And since I increase the consequences each time she gets caught (increased length of tech blackouts) we had 48 hours of togetherness to enjoy, with no K-dramas.

Of course, kids don’t enjoy consequences, but Hope has told me repeatedly, that they don’t phase her since she’s lived through so much worse.

But tech blackouts…yeah, they are effective around these parts because it really ends up being a Time In. Without the tech wall, Hope tends to just hang out with me.

So, this weekend we watched lots of movies—all selected by me. It was two days of lounging about with snacks, Yappy cuddles and hardcore family time. We’d finish one movie and Hope would say, “Ok what’s next on your list of movies?”

“Oh, you want to keep watching?”

“With the blackout, I don’t have anything else to do.”

“Oh yeah, you don’t.  Ok, so next on the list is…”

Although the blackout was lifted on Saturday night, I still have not provided access to the laptop and I only allowed 2 hours of FireTV access last night to watch her dramas, and I sat and watched one with her.

Hope often talks about how she doesn’t have close friends. Social situations still can be hard for her. What’s cool is that my daughter actually seems to like me. She enjoys spending time with me. She shows her best self when she’s with me.

We laughed together. We cried together. We ate together. We went out to watch a movie at the theater and she offered to pay for the snacks with her birthday money, a sweet act of generosity that I said no to, instead, letting her use her checking account that I fund, which still allowed her to “treat me.”

I was reminded how much I like my daughter. Of course, I love her, but the blackouts force us to hang out and just be together. And with the drama of 10th grade behind us, she’s relaxed and feeling safe.

She’s a great kid, and it’s amazing sometimes that it takes a punishment to reveal how awesome she is all over again.

In a few days, I’ll drop her off at band camp and say a prayer that she makes friends. Her peers need to see what a great kid she is too.


About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted my now adult daughter in 2014, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©, 2013-2022. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

5 responses to “Blackout

  • AdoptiveNYMomma

    Loved this sweet post. Thanks for sharing.

  • nicole

    I get this! Often I find myself removing obstacles so I can connect with my kids. Relationships are hard, and they DO need a break from me sometimes (and sometimes media is an okay break). But those items quickly become obsessions and can drive a wedge between us.
    I look forward to the day they feel safer and don’t feel the need to be sneaky.

  • Beth H

    Hope will get the social skills and learn to manage friendships. It wil take time, but she will.

    I take my girl’s phone and laptop at 11 pm Sundays through Thursdays and keep them in my bedroom–I used to keep them in the living room, but then figured that the temptation to cheat (which she succumbed to regularly) was painful for her. So now I keep it easy and remove the temptation; in my room they stay. Friday and Saturday nights she can keep her devices. I wish I had established earlier times for the other nights, but for this issue it’s not worth the fighting and loss of trust that would result if I changed it.

    We use blackouts as “big gun” consequences when she does something really bad–mainly skip class or refuse to go to an appointment. They are quite effective, because it is a very strong deterrent for her. She HATES losing tech proviledges. It’s the worst for her.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Hope hates losing tech, but she sees the blackouts as a natural consequence of tech related inappropriate behavior so it works for us. I’m random about taking it to my room so she has to think about going to check, especially since she knows that I’m also going to check that activity page.She’s getting better about self control.

  • HerdingChickens

    Ok so now you went and made me cry! I love that you know the reason behind the behaviors. You accept that she isn’t perfect. You love her as she is. And also she isn’t trying to kill you. All in all you’ve given me something to aspire to!

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