Sunday, February 12, 2006

Am I making my children into nerds?

I am more than convinced after an out-of-town week of children, including mine, who were constantly looking to plug in and zone out, that I would be a horrible mother of children with Game Boys, Game Cubes, X-boxes, televisions. It seemed to be a constant battle for me, and I honestly don't know how other parents do it, to coax children away from those enticing electronics into real life and relationship. And if your answer is "limit on screen time", and please be honest, I haven't met an interested child who doesn't try to play sneaking under the radar of their parents yet. Longer and more seem never to be enough for the child.

Or maybe it's not a painstaking chore for other parents with more patience, less children, or more obedient children than mine to monitor and moderate screen time.

When my children were small, I drank in a delicious lecture about allowing children to explore wonder, and I made the tiny leap that a screen was no place to really experience anything. Years later, another I attended another lecture on "raising your children to love literature". The speaker boldly admonished that her approach would not work if parents were not committed to totally unplugging their children. So, I did.

We're safely home now to Tennessee, and back into our own family's routine. So, here's how my guys spent their day now that we are away from beeping, singing, boinging devices beckoning to hiding youth like the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, "Candy. Lollipops. Icecream. All free today." Two boys played lazer tag over the hills and woods of our yard this afternoon while another hung out with the dog and goats in the field. My girl dressed up and dragged out every doll in her closet. I read aloud for some time in the afternoon to the gang. And since it's dark and rather cold (otherwise my boys still might still be outside) they have spent the evening gathered around a book on CD building with legos. It's very pleasantly peaceful evening.

We may watch Home Extreme Makeover or some Olympic action together if they wish.

So, am I cursing my children to nerdom by depriving them of the American Boy's Electronic Dream, simply because I don't want to deal with the hassle? I do wonder what other segways between boyhood toys and grown up jobs are available which don't involve power sources. Is it sad to you that my boys are so mesmerized when a TV is on in the same room, and they can't manage to play around ignoring the program like others who tune it out? Would moderation serve my children better than my deliberate household fast? I'd love to hear your opinion.


unquenchableworshipper said...

No.. letting them play lazer tag and listen to books on tape dont make your kids nerds..
Its the fact that they've seen every episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, and have long debates on whether Star Wars spaceships could defeat Star Trek spaceships that makes them nerds.
oh..and that they correct each other's Hamlet solilquies..

truevyne said...

Oh, man!

Running2Ks said...

Although I haven't banned screen time, there are days that I wish I did.

Philothea Rose said...

I'm one of the "limiting screen time" crowd. I let my kids play on the computer for 30 minutes and I set a timer (they are now trained like pavlov's dog). my struggle is with the TV. It is so hard when you have so much housework to do to stop the electronic babysitter from taking over.

And, i admit that I am not a naturally kid-friendly person. I have never been one to sit down and play blocks with my kids for an hour or make crafts at the kitchen table or anything like that. I have to work myself into that mode....and i mean really work. But, I when I do I really see it as prayer time. Seriously.

I don't really have an answer for you, if your asking for advice, that is. What I do with any parenting problem I have is ask myself, am I truly being the mom I want to be? If yes, then I let it roll off. If I say, 'no, but I am trying my hardest," I give myself some slack. If the answer is 'absolutely not" then I try and make drastic changes, no matter how much it hurts. I guess with the tv thing I haven't asked myself that question lately.

truevyne said...

Running, you are one good mommy, and I love your honesty.

Philothea Rose,I am asking for advice, and I appreciate your thoughtful response. I don't want to warp my children because *I'm* not into all that media. I want to ask myself your question about mothering, and at this point, I think bans make me more the mom I want to be. And in case you are wondering about the electronic sitter. I turned it off around my third child, and it was HARD for about 2 weeks, and now it's not. My children naturally fell into many other projects (without me, because I'm not one to play either). They are now extreme lego creators, fort building, kite flying, armor making, robot drawing dudes, who fly outside the second the sun is shining. Thank God we moved to a place this is always a safe option. Further on down the parenting road, they've become readers too. Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield rule.

Beth said...

We limit screentime too, for tv (mostly videos, we have only basic cable) and for the 'puter, definitely. I'm thankful that my dh has decreed that there will be no gaming devices (x-boxes and the like) here at our abode. So, that's one less battle we'll have to fight. But when we're at friends, our son is fixated on those video games!LOL

I'm of the persuasion that the less screentime the better. And lately, I've been guilty of allowing too much, I'm sure (aah, such a pushover I am sometimes!)...I am the oldest of 5 very creatively artistic, writerly, nature loving siblings. I'm certain this must due in part to the fact that we grew up without a t.v. in our house, for the most part.

And hey, what's wrong with being nerdy anyways?! hehehhee

I really appreciated your last post over at Samantha's Home Realm (about church, and wives' submitting to husbands), right on! You expressed my own sentiments perfectly.

Hope that your family gets to feeling better soon, what a miserable Valentines day.;(

blessings to you and yours~

truevyne said...

Beth, thanks for your well wishes and opinions. I did have the tv on non-stop, sadly it may have my best friend besides my cat at times, and have always been artistic and into great literature. Maybe screen time really doesn't make such a difference after all!

Kate said...

Yes, my friend, you making your children into nerds, and that is a good thing! I will be writing a post on this topic in the near future.