Alex: I know what I want for my birthday.
Alex: Two Wii Games. One for me and one for the family.
Me: Which games are you interested in?
Alex: Oh, I don't care. I just want games that are rated T for Teens.
Me: Sorry, no.
Alex: Why not?
Me: You're turning 8, not 18. Those games are for Teens, meaning kids 13 and older.
Alex: I know a kid who is 9 who has all the T games. And even one rated M (Mature)!
Me: Doesn't matter. You're not getting them until you're 13 or older, and only after I've checked them out first.
Alex: That is SO NOT FAIR. Why can't I have them? Why are you so mean?
Me: Because it's my job, as your parent, to protect you.
Alex: Protect me from what? You think those dudes are going to come to life and get me? Hahaha. I'm not a baby, Mom. I know it's a cartoon.
Me: No, I think they come to life in your imagination, they give you bad dreams, and they show you things that might look funny or fun and are not.
Alex: Like what?
Me: Like hurting people or animals, or saying unkind words to others. If you see it in a game, you might think, "Oh, that's not so bad" and it's not something we allow. It doesn't hurt your body, it hurts your heart.
Alex: But that other kid has them...
Me: He wouldn't if he lived here.
Alex: You know that kid I told you about? The one with all the T games?
Me: Yes. What about him?
Alex: I don't think he has very good parents. They should protect him. They should protect his heart.
Me: (giving myself a mental fist-bump): Every family has different rules.