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Television, computer, and video games, oh my - Page 2

post #21 of 80

I do not think TV, computers, games, candy, etc. are inherently "bad."  BUT, I absolutely know they are addictive.  Maybe not to everyone, but for many of us, yes.

 

This is what we do-- for TV, we have a DVR.  We only record certain shows, and they have to skip past commercials.  My guideline for TV is that they should not watch it only because they are bored.  Want to relax?  Sure.  Want to learn something?  Yup.  But doing it just because they have nothing else to do-- no.  This is where you step in with ideas. This DOES NOT mean that you have to be your son's playmate.  I think many adults are uncomfortable with this because it is not what we are meant to do.  We can be playful with children and play with them, but I do not think we should be their playmates.  Plus, sometimes, children should be bored.  Why is bored a bad thing?  We can't see it this way.  Even though I was not an only child, I learned to play a lot on my own.  It is a good skill, to be able to hang out with yourself.  You can learn this by being bored.  By accepting boredom, we also come to peace-- to see that we do not need to be entertained every second.  Isn't that a nice freedom?

 

For the computer, we have a timer.  They can play games for 30 minutes (we give them choices) but they can use the computer other times for writing and drawing.  That does not count for the 30 minutes.  One thing they LOVED was when I gave them tickets.  You could do this for your son.  You could give him screen time tickets-- whatever limit you set, and then in 30 min. increments or whatever.  He could apply them to TV or computer.  They love to cash in those tickets!

 

So, they do have access, but there are limits in terms of content as well as time.  Like you said you don't like the fighting on TV-- neither do I, which is why I would never let my children watch shows in which there is violence.  (Well, not the young ones-- older DD has read and seen HP movies.)

 

Oh, and something else they like-- they like when I watch TV with them.  We talk about the shows.  I actually like some of them!  Not only do I like some of the kid ones, but they watch some meant for "everyone" like Nature (they love this show). ..and they will watch Globe Trekkers with me, too.

 

Really, I wish someone would set limits for ME.  I always did my homework and was "responsible" but I watched waaaaaay too much TV.  No real limits.  Now I have the task of trying to do it as an adult (set limits) and I think it is hard.  I love when we are on vacation-- even though DH always brings a laptop, I steer clear and enjoy my time away from it-- I do not use it at all!

 

 

post #22 of 80

Great post, Mizelenius, especially the quoted part below.  I am a (mostly) good, loving mother, but I really do not enjoy playing.  It's been a huge source of parenting guilt for me, and I'm only starting to be able to let it go.  Thanks also for sharing how you limit screen time in your family.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post

This DOES NOT mean that you have to be your son's playmate.  I think many adults are uncomfortable with this because it is not what we are meant to do.  We can be playful with children and play with them, but I do not think we should be their playmates.  

 

post #23 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post



what is wrong with strict limits on screen time?  How is that NOT gentle?  It's more gentle to let a child get addicted to that kind of thing?

 

We absolutely cut back on screen time here if I feel like my DS is getting too  'into' it.  And yes if there is whining/obsessive talk I limit it even more.  It's simply not healthy for a child to become obsessed with gaming/TV at the age of FIVE.  My God how is this being debated?
 

 


um... did you even read my posts?  i am wondering how suggesting simply making rules and "enforcing them" is gentle.  i agree that screen time should be limited.  and i said so in my original post, along with offering gentle discipline suggestions about how to include the child in coming up with solutions.  which IS what most folks would consider "gentle discipline," rather than ominous and vague mentions of rules and enforcement.

 

I've read a ton about gentle discipline, and it's what we practice.  i honestly and truly am not trying to be confrontational, but do think it's helpful to point out that gentle discipline is not about the parent creating arbitrary rules then taking things away from a child (which in the kid's eyes, if you have been allowing excessive screentime, pretty much feels like) isn't really anything more than, as some people said, "training up a child," or "being the boss." 

the inital suggestion i had for the OP was to include the child in the decision making process after sharing information about the recommended amount of screen time.  that is a gd approach, and i'll be glad to point out resources that support that rather than some of the other suggestions, which actually surprise me. 

and, honestly, in my opinion, which is neither gd nor non-gd, the best way to prevent this situation is to not ever allow it in the first place or find some mutually agreed upon rules before having kids engage in screen time or video games.  and, yes, i agree with the poster who said it was difficult to try to force your kid to do something you are not willing to do yourself.  a 5 year old is not going to really understand that.

 

and, again, nothing really to do with gd, but i don't necessarily agree that a parent is responsible for entertaining a child in the way a video game could, nor should a parent "have" to be a playmate.  i think it's ideally much better for a kid to learn to be resourceful on her/his own.  not to say parent involvement isn't really important, but i just think it's better for a kid to come up with activities and ideas (at OP's kid's age) rather than being dependent on ANY outside entity -- parent, tv, whatever-- to provide complete entertainment.  (of course, books are the exception...)

maybe mdc needs a separate forum for folks who want to talk about discipline that is not typically gentle discipline? 

 


Edited by hildare - 7/26/11 at 7:15am
post #24 of 80

notnice comment removed.


Edited by hildare - 7/26/11 at 12:36pm
post #25 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post




um... did you even read my posts?  i am wondering how suggesting simply making rules and "enforcing them" is gentle.  i agree that screen time should be limited.  and i said so in my original post, along with offering gentle discipline suggestions about how to include the child in coming up with solutions.  which IS what most folks would consider "gentle discipline," rather than ominous and vague mentions of rules and enforcement.

 

I've read a ton about gentle discipline, and it's what we practice.  i honestly and truly am not trying to be confrontational, but do think it's helpful to point out that gentle discipline is not about the parent creating arbitrary rules then taking things away from a child (which in the kid's eyes, if you have been allowing excessive screentime, pretty much feels like) isn't really anything more than, as some people said, "training up a child," or "being the boss." 

the inital suggestion i had for the OP was to include the child in the decision making process after sharing information about the recommended amount of screen time.  that is a gd approach, and i'll be glad to point out resources that support that rather than some of the other suggestions, which actually surprise me. 

and, honestly, in my opinion, which is neither gd nor non-gd, the best way to prevent this situation is to not ever allow it in the first place or find some mutually agreed upon rules before having kids engage in screen time or video games.  and, yes, i agree with the poster who said it was difficult to try to force your kid to do something you are not willing to do yourself.  a 5 year old is not going to really understand that.

 

and, again, nothing really to do with gd, but i don't necessarily agree that a parent is responsible for entertaining a child in the way a video game could, nor should a parent "have" to be a playmate.  i think it's ideally much better for a kid to learn to be resourceful on her/his own.  not to say parent involvement isn't really important, but i just think it's better for a kid to come up with activities and ideas (at OP's kid's age) rather than being dependent on ANY outside entity -- parent, tv, whatever-- to provide complete entertainment.  (of course, books are the exception...)

maybe mdc needs a separate forum for folks who want to talk about discipline that is not typically gentle discipline? 

 


Isn't what you're referring to called "consensual living"? I don't think that's the same thing as gentle discipline, IMO anyway. For me, gentle discipline includes rules and limitations. It's gentle and guiding. I'm not shaming or threatening or yelling. There are plenty of rules and limitations in the world, I don't think there is anything not gentle about having some household rules.
post #26 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by applecider View Post



Isn't what you're referring to called "consensual living"? I don't think that's the same thing as gentle discipline, IMO anyway. For me, gentle discipline includes rules and limitations. It's gentle and guiding. I'm not shaming or threatening or yelling. There are plenty of rules and limitations in the world, I don't think there is anything not gentle about having some household rules.


exactly.

and I AM the boss.  My kids are 5, 2 and 2 mos.  They need a boss.  You've never had a kind, gentle boss?  

 

Not everything is a negotiation here.  Sometimes rules are just what they are.  I am 35, not 2 (or 5).  Some of the rules I make are not up for debate.  I can't think of anything more exhausting than having a situation where every single rule was negotiable.

 

I think CL is a terrible idea.

post #27 of 80

Being alive for 35 years does not make you better than someone who's been alive for 2 or 5. More knowledgeable, sure, but it does not give you a right to boss anyone around whatever "gentle" way you'd find to do it. People often mistake coercion and manipulation (e.g. going away on vacation and hiding the television) for gentle discipline, but kids can tell the difference. It reminds me of a phrase that was thrown around on this board a while back, "benevolent dictatorship" as if there ever was such a thing. 

 

I also agree that CL is a bad idea, mostly because children are not capable of deciding what is best for their future and for the people around them. But can they decide what is best for them, personally in the present? Sure, and they deserve to be included in decisions that involve them, because they have a right to autonomy. That being said it is important to respect their limits and it is our job to know what they are and are not capable of at varying stages in their development. 

 

Is there anything wrong with having rules and limits? No, of course not, they are an inevitable part of life. But arbitrary rules based on the parent's needs and not the child's are absolutely NOT a part of gentle discipline. 

 

And a 5 year old DOES have a need for their parent to at least occasionally enter their world so they feel like they are understood. Everyone at every age has that need. At 5, this does mean playing with them. Just because the idea of it makes you uncomfortable doesn't make it any less of a legitimate need for them. If you spend no time playing with your child they are going to feel isolated and alone at home. Play is their way of interacting with the world and if they have to go at it alone all of the time it's no wonder they'd want to watch TV and play video games...

 

 

post #28 of 80

who is talking about arbitrary rules?  The thread is about screen time.

 

And I think I have used the term 'benevolent dictator' about my own parenting style (tongue in cheek, but more than a hint of truth)

 

we can agree to disagree :)

post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

who is talking about arbitrary rules?  The thread is about screen time.

 


If you decide to take all screen time away from a child because enforcing a limit of 2 hours is too difficult (which was discussed on this thread, I don't know by whom), you are absolutely setting an arbitrary rule that is more for your benefit (less nagging by the child) than for the child's who is used to having screen time to fill whatever time they don't spend playing with their parents because they can't get over whatever uncomfortable feelings they have about playing. 

 

You know what boggles me? Mothers overcome incredible discomfort to breast feed their babies, but then when they start to be more independent and need to play mothers will not get over any small discomfort to play with them. 

 

post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by applecider View Post



Isn't what you're referring to called "consensual living"? I don't think that's the same thing as gentle discipline, IMO anyway. For me, gentle discipline includes rules and limitations. It's gentle and guiding. I'm not shaming or threatening or yelling. There are plenty of rules and limitations in the world, I don't think there is anything not gentle about having some household rules.

nope.  i am talking about gentle discipline, unconditional parenting in particular.  in our family we have rules and limits.  the difference is that children based upon their age and ability are allowed to help us as we create these rules that affect us all. 

philosophically, i think the theme that kind of runs throughout GD is that we should, as much as possible, encourage autonomy and independence.  In any group of humans living together, there can be mutually decided upon rules.  There's no reason whatsoever a parent would not encourage participation in this structural design of their environment, except to prepare a child to be a non-questioning, rule-following, obedient-to-authority child. 

in my opinion, some of the posts kind of hint at this.  "because i am the parent and i say so" isn't teaching anything.  teaching is discipline.  encouraging participation in family life is gentle discipline.  manipulating a child or demanding that a child follow a particular rule that isn't explained, not so much. 

i have no idea what consentual living is, but i do know what GD is.  and isn't. 
 

 

post #31 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

But arbitrary rules based on the parent's needs and not the child's are absolutely NOT a part of gentle discipline. 

 

 


I guess perhaps we differ here: my children do not *need* a tv.  Nothing arbitrary about that.

 

post #32 of 80

I suppose we all have different interpretations, eh?  I shudder to see the judgment going on here.  I wouldn't subscribe to your brand of GD, just as you would never to mine.  But perhaps I also would never make it a personal attack, but alas.... Suffice it to say, I'm satisfied with my personal interpretation of GD and certainly do not need your judgment of what is/isn't.  thumb.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post


i have no idea what consentual living is, but i do know what GD is.  and isn't. 
 

 



 

post #33 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post



nope.  i am talking about gentle discipline, unconditional parenting in particular.  in our family we have rules and limits.  the difference is that children based upon their age and ability are allowed to help us as we create these rules that affect us all. 

philosophically, i think the theme that kind of runs throughout GD is that we should, as much as possible, encourage autonomy and independence.  In any group of humans living together, there can be mutually decided upon rules.  There's no reason whatsoever a parent would not encourage participation in this structural design of their environment, except to prepare a child to be a non-questioning, rule-following, obedient-to-authority child. 

in my opinion, some of the posts kind of hint at this.  "because i am the parent and i say so" isn't teaching anything.  teaching is discipline.  encouraging participation in family life is gentle discipline.  manipulating a child or demanding that a child follow a particular rule that isn't explained, not so much. 

i have no idea what consentual living is, but i do know what GD is.  and isn't. 
 

 

 

Alfie Kohn doesn't rule out rules that are put in place by parents even if the kids don't agree with the rule, he gives a framework for talking yourself through reflecting on the rules you have in place and guides you towards thinking about the way you parent in the book Unconditional Parenting.  He actually seems to have some rules that are typically absolute and talks about the importance of letting kids know when you are letting kids know when something is an exception.  Unconditional Parenting is very close to consensual living but a little less child involved.  It is in the realm of Gentle Discipline but on the very extreme side of it.  It occasionally pops up on the GD board, less now than it did in the future, but there has never been a consensus on it being the standard for GD.  GD is a lot more lax and accepting about standards and can include anything from Dr. Sear's to Alfie Kohn.  It seems like this board has gone a lot more towards the Dr. Sear's side of things in the last year or so and that is really sad because it is the people who advocate Alfie Kohn type of thinking that really stimulate good thinking, reflecting, and discussion.
 

 

post #34 of 80
I guess for me, sometimes there is no mutually agreed upon "rule". Sometimes, for my own sanity's sake, I make the rule and that's that. Again, I"m not shaming, hitting, yelling and what not so it is still "gentle". I think GD is a spectrum so there is no need to tell someone who is a little more on the rule side that they are not GD.
post #35 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thandiwe View Post

I suppose we all have different interpretations, eh?  I shudder to see the judgment going on here. 

I know.  Really.  I went to respond but I don't know where to start.  This thread has jumped the shark.  I'm out.  

post #36 of 80

Well, the term gentle is really subjective. A lot of people would call time-outs gentle discipline. In fact, I think most people think that gentle just means no hitting. I don't, and I do think that manipulation and coercion are abusive so, no, I am not apt to take an "agree to disagree" stance when I think that another person is advocating what I would view to be abuse. So sorry if sharks have been jumped but I think you'll find it most understandable if you viewed it from my side of the screen.

post #37 of 80

 

I think you already have the forbidden fruit effect going since you limit TV and your son spends his time and energy trying to get in as much of it as he can because he's not being allowed to make the decision when to stop watching.  And I would also offer that you state that you feel your screen time is justified because you feel you make good use of your time.  Certainly your son does as well - he's five, his definition of good use isn't the same as the definition of good use for an adult.  Good use for him might be television giving him some downtime, or a way to zone out when he's tired.  These are things that my son uses television for, and that's totally okay with me.  I don't hold the expectation that every single day is going to be filled with uber creative play, just like I know that some days I'll be more engaged in my own world and other days I just want to check out.  I don't think it's any different for my kid.  We don't limit screen time and I would say my son has very balanced habits and is very creative.

 

I would recommend a DVR if you can afford one.  That is a life-saver for us because I don't like the commercialism that comes with television.  That way I can skip the commercials that even populate PBS.  You can control what is watched and it's easier to encourage stopping because you're not watching a series of kids programming that goes on and one - it's just one show at a time.

 

Lastly, it's his birthday.  Spoil the kid rotten, get him the video game, let him play it until he's going cross-eyed, then stand back and absorb his joy.  Even if you decide to place limits later, even if you don't buy him another video game until his next birthday, I am a firm believer that birthdays are about making dreams come true to the best of your ability, and that is so easy when they're five. 

post #38 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

Well, the term gentle is really subjective. A lot of people would call time-outs gentle discipline. In fact, I think most people think that gentle just means no hitting. I don't, and I do think that manipulation and coercion are abusive so, no, I am not apt to take an "agree to disagree" stance when I think that another person is advocating what I would view to be abuse. So sorry if sharks have been jumped but I think you'll find it most understandable if you viewed it from my side of the screen.



Hiding a television is abuse?

 

post #39 of 80

... hiding a television is not necessarily abusive.  however, if on a regular basis, lies and manipulation are employed to bring about certain behaviors, or as i see it, compliance, then that's really not such a good thing.  in my opinion (and everything i say is merely an educated opinion, so if you do disagree, then that is absolutely fine.  we're here to bring our perspectives and takes on situations, and i think there is room to call people out gently or to express differing opinions) the reason we use GD is to build relationships.  relationships built upon lies and manipulation, even lies that are time-saving or "white" lies, those still don't add trust to a relationship.  eventually, your kid will figure out that there's not truth behind what you say.. and that could lead to your kid deciding that it's not necessary to be truthful on his/her part either. 

and i'm not trying to criticize anybody personally, but is there not a potential for some kids to freak out a little bit if they thought a tv was stolen?  i think some children might have a tendancy to really worry about safety of the family and possessions.  that could be a MAJOR thing for some kids. 

plus, if you are going to hide the tv, why not just own that?  i don't necessarily agree with doing that, but if you feel like it's necessary, then i don't see why you wouldn't just say so.

i think sure.. there are firm rules.. like we don't open the door for people we don't know.   but the reasons can ALWAYS be explained, and in the case of the screen time, i just don't see why most folks would want to exclude their kids from that decision making process.  giving your kids control (or, ok, in some cases just the illusion of control) is never a bad thing.  one of the premises of UP is that kids learn to make decisions by making decisions, right?  

just from the way i see it, this is an EASY call.  the recommended guidelines for the kid is 2 hours or less a day.  a 5 year old can easily understand that and pick how to use those 2 hours.  even come up with a way to regulate it or control for special occasions (friends over for a movie and popcorn session on the weekend, etc).  nothing about that seems hard.  i am just curious about  folks who would resist letting kids make such a small move toward self regulation  and just a little taken aback by the folks who expect their kids to follow rules without giving them a chance to have any input. 

i think too, at least from what i've read, that gentle discipline isn't really about not hitting or yelling.  it's more about giving kids the opportunity to make decisions and grow, to experience the decision making process as well as autonomy.  and.. if this were about more than screen time, and were a more complicated issue i could understand the "I make the rules" posturing a bit more.. but this seems like a perfect opportunity to let a kid have information and puzzle out how to structure time for him/herself. 

if i came across as sharky then i apologize, i feel like i was reacting to other posts which weren't altogether kind as well.

 

post #40 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

A thought on learning to enjoy things in moderation... I used to eat a piece of chocolate every day. DD discovered that she liked chocolate and wanted to have it all the time. I was obviously not OK with that, I told her that she can have one bite a day just like me. That was not enough for her, she asked for it about 10 times a day. So I said, since you can't do it in moderation maybe we better not have chocolate. But I didn't hide it in the cupboard and tell her we didn't have any, I stopped eating chocolate. If you are going to ban your kids from watching TV, playing video games and being on the computer then you better be prepared to give it up yourself otherwise you are just a big fat hypocrite. 

 

If they can't handle having limits on something, and you feel that they are truly addicted and it is having a negative affect on their well-being, then by all means get rid of the offending activity but don't puss out and lie about it. Also be prepared to put in the extra time entertaining your kids were they were previously entertained by other things. If you want the results, you've got to do the work.

 


So you are arguing against age-based rules for behavior?  In order not to be a hypocrite I have to let my kids do everything I do? How does that work, holothuoridea?  So right now I put my son to bed at 8 and usually go to bed by 9:30 or 10 myself. So you're saying that if I want to be able to stay up until 10 I need to let me 2 year old stay up that late, too? He has to be up at 6AM to go to school and he's really, really cranky if he only gets 8 hours of sleep. He would just be miserable. I'm confused, doesn't that seem  really mean to my poor son? Also, that would mean that if I want to have a glass of wine with dinner I need to be prepared to give one to my 2 year old son?  And if I want to have sex, I need to be allowed to let my 10 year old have sex, too?  If I want to smoke cigarettes, then I need to let my kids have them, too? I'm really concerned that that might be abusive. How does that work for your kids? Do they get really cranky or hyper after they've been smoking or drinking? Let me know. I want to be a good parent, but I'm just so confused by this advice.  

 

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