Thursday, July 14, 2005

Well, here I was feeling a bit weak and sick, air conditioning not working in the van, financial stresses weighing on me, stomach virus traveling from child to child, getting on the scale to see I'd put on some unwanted pounds... Things just aren't the way I've been planning them out to be. I've had a difficult time doing much of what I ought to do and that includes parenting. Not a depressed state, just a "I'm tired and want a rest" state of mind.

During the few days that I was out of sorts, I did some lazy parenting... Instead of going to my children to address their running in the house, I said, "Hey kids, be quiet and watch television." Instead of reading their routine bedtime stories, singing their favorite songs, and praying with them before tucking them in, I popped in a movie, called, "Hey, after your movie, turn off the television and go to bed." One press of the power button and the active, noisy, chaos around me was silenced.

So, how has this affected the children? Well, I know that the kids are arguing more lately, grumbling about the chores they need to help with to keep the house running smoothly, whining a bit more than normal, and less and less willing to interact with each other. It's not like I'm sitting here thinking, "Oh no!! I've destroyed my children." I've been especially blessed to have children who are obedient, respectful, fun, and a true joy. At the risk of sounding like the doting mother, I hesitantly say that my children are some of the most well behaved children that I know. At the same time, I realize that I may not be singing the same tune if I don't return to my "old ways" when it comes to parenting.

Now, someone reading this probably has already thought, "Well, Gretchen, you have five children who you are trying to raise alone. Don't be hard on yourself." Well, I'm not being hard on myself. Plain and simple observation being made here. No doubt in my mind on this next statement. If I continue to allow my five little ones to vegetate in front of the television, I'm going to pay dearly later on.

Children MUST learn to entertain themselves without video games, television and computers. They need to play outside, build things, draw things, write things, be silly together, do chores, interact with the children and adults around them, etc. If they don't, they will not be able to cope with the stresses of everyday life, they will be unwilling and/or possible inept when it comes to interacting with those around them. And my job as a single mom will be that much harder down the line.

Am I going to get rid of my television? NO. Am I going to threaten to throw the television out of the window if the kids have one more argument? Absolutely not! Will I unplug the television or disconnect the cable and then tell the children that the television is broken? Though I've considered it, it's just not happening.

What I will do is take the time each day to make sure that the children are doing something other than watch television. I will, once again, limit the amount of time the children are allowed to watch television. When children watch an minimal amount of television, they learn to do cooperate with each other, to use their imaginations, to create things, to play games, to enjoy reading a book... And I have the peaceful atmosphere that I long for.

Well, that's my thoughts for now. More to come later.

~Gretchen

3 Comments:

Blogger Shalomathome said...

Hey Gretchen, I totally agree on this story. As a teacher I can see the bad results of children watching too much television and video and dvd. I often say no, when my children ask to watch tv. Children also have to learn to deal with a no, when they want a yes. Just like you I am not going tell that the thing is broken or something. Just the truth! So you're not allone in this thing. Even in Europe are people thinking the same!

6:55 PM, July 19, 2005  
Blogger Shalomathome said...

Hey Gretchen, I totally agree on this story. As a teacher I can see the bad results of children watching too much television and video and dvd. I often say no, when my own children ask to watch tv. Children also have to learn to deal with a no, when they want a yes. Just like you I am not going to tell that the thing is broken or something. Just the truth! So you're not allone in this thing. Even in Europe are people thinking the same!

6:57 PM, July 19, 2005  
Blogger Shalomathome said...

Hey Gretchen, I totally agree on this story. As a teacher I can see the bad results of children watching too much television and video and dvd. I often say no, when my own children ask to watch tv. Children also have to learn to deal with a no, when they want a yes. Just like you I am not going to tell that the thing is broken or something. Just the truth! So you're not allone in this thing. Even in Europe are people thinking the same!

6:58 PM, July 19, 2005  

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