Thank you to Karyn at Kloppenmum for sharing this video on her blog. (which is amazing by the way)
That was a video by Neil Mayers author of the book ‘Gifted At Primary, Failing By Secondary’. I know some people might not agree (I know this because I was told I am being too harsh and that I am policing my kids) but again, this is what I agree with and what I am trying to do with my children (despite it being like swimming against the tide) and not an attack at anyones parenting style.
Someone once told me “you know one day they are going to be 18 and you can’t stop them from doing what they want” to which I replies “Yes, that is the plan and by the time they are 18 they won’t be addicted to TV and electronic games and mobile phones”.
I felt like the second part of the video (talking about who to invite birthday party) was aimed at myself, the mother who insisted on inviting all the boys in the class including the boy who S tried to convince me not to invite. In response to his protest I said there is no way you will invite the whole class and not this one boy.
This boy was dropped off at the birthday party and wreaked havoc. He swore at the kids, pushed them, tried to hit them. I literally dragged him out of the pool and said “If you do not stop behaving like you are behaving I will call your mother AND your father and send you straight home and it will be the last time you set foot into our house!”
The next day over breakfast I said to S: ” Oh my God that boy was so rude” and S said:”I told you not to invite him mama and you said we have to”. He’s right.
Here is my plan; I am going to set up a small desk in the hall area outside the rooms (away from the playroom and TV) for a study area with a computer that is in a common area so that I can see what my children are doing. Yes, because I do not trust them at the age of 8 and 5 to be able to make responsible decisions on internet use and because I was searching for wallpaper and got a very graphic pornographic site pop up even when using the censored internet connection. This must have slipped through the cracks and the name wonderwall must have a double meaning of some sorts that has eluded me.
My children’s rooms will never have a television in them, they will not have a computer or any other gaming device. And if I can and get the support at home they will not use their mobiles in their rooms either. The room is the place to go when you want to sleep or relax.
I am not totally against TV and gaming consoles. I am against the fact that so many children I see do not know how to play any real games anymore. I am against the fact that when they play they are in a hypnotic hyper charged state so much so that when it is finally taken away from them it inevitably ends in a meltdown. At least that is what happens when S is playing a PSP game and it’s time for him to stop. I am against what I hear so many kids say lately “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do! I have nothing to play with”. It is our role to teach children not to be dependent on these things. To be able to enjoy them and play with them for reasonable amounts of time but not let it consume them.
It kills me that my kids keep misplacing the Ipad my mother bought them and that it is never charged when they do stumble upon it but at the same time I thank God they are not glued to it. I disagree with not letting them near anything electronic because this is the world we live in and we would be handicapping them if we did not teach them to use these correctly. But we are also handicapping them by letting them become so dependent on them that they cannot have fun any other way. Sounds very much like a bad drug addiction to me.
For all of you out there who know me yes I know I am somewhat addicted to my IPad. But I make a conscious effort not to be on it when I am with my children. Same goes for my mobile phone. And we are not policing our children by limiting their access to mobiles and internet we are doing our jobs as parents. If they were meant to be able to make good decisions at 5 years, 8 years, 12 years of age they would not need parents.