Here's my son, in a hotel room, practicing. I forgot the chair he usually sits on to play, and the only thing short enough for sitting was the toilet.
It turns out that there are interesting acoustics in a bathroom, so it was fun to play in there. But you can be certain that it took a lot of convincing to get him to do it.
And I'm sick of arguing.
Except for practicing their instruments. I make them practice.
In the beginning I had a strong feeling that this is the right thing. Learning to do something hard by working at it a little each day is important for teaching persistence and grit. Learning to play an instrument is important for brain development. Learning self-discipline is important for everything (unfortunately).
But now I'm thinking that teaching a kid to be diligent doing something they don't want to do is stupid. We are each able to be diligent if we are enthralled with what we're doing.
But just as I was getting to the point where I was done fighting about practice time, each boy had a concert, and each boy was not only a standout, but they were also thrilled with themselves. They each had a great time, and seeing their reaction makes me think that the fighting is not really as big a fight as I was thinking it was.
I'm unimpressed with peoples' analogies to sugar. I let my kids eat all the sugar they want, and honestly, they don't want very much because they're sick of it. And the same goes for video games. So I think they are good at self-regulation.
When I finish writing, I will have to tell them it's time for practice. I have already poured a glass of wine to get through the practice. Which should be a sign that the arguments are too difficult, but instead I take the glass of wine as a sign of hope: maybe it'll be fun today.