UPDATE on taking every electronic away

Yesterday marked the 2nd week since I removed all electronics following my 5yo’s meltdown. I had interrupted him playing Minecraft to take him to BJJ and he lost his shit for 1.5hrs. That prompted me to ban electronics.

Well, he has been amazing! Of course, there are moments every other day, sometimes more than once/day, where he inquires about the electronics. The first day was the worst. He loops back around to it because he is trying to understand what happened and how long until he gets it back. In the past, he HAS gotten them back. I was taking them away as a consequence of poor behaviour and returning them following him upgrading his thinking/actions. That’s why we thought it was working. Now that he has not gotten them back he ends up angry; I don’t budge on the ban and I’m very matter-of-fact about it, and that anger varies from mild to holy crap who’s child are you!?

Usually, he starts off quietly asking about it, to which I reply flatly, “I’m sorry bud, I know you like them -they’re fun- but I’m not putting them back.” That sets him off, even though it’s delicate. He usually tells me that I WILL put them back, and if I don’t then he will do some consequence. Isn’t that a great example of how kids copy us!? He is doing to me what we do to him: consequences for non-compliance.

Today I put the TV back (my wife wanted to use it), but no gaming options are on it. Technically, the Apple TV is connected, but the remote is hidden. This lets us send shows to the TV from my phone or her iPad, or from my work MacBook. Also, he has no say in what it is used for. The new –permanent– rules are:

For my 5yo:
1.) Electronics are invitation-only.
-If you ask for it, you don’t get it.
-If I invite you to use it with me, you may use it.
2.) Zero access to tablets, phones, consoles, and PCs.
3.) Absolutely ZERO YouTube!
-Gawd that site is pure poison for kids!
-If we invite him to watch a show or a movie, we’ve already selected it, or worked out a choice with him. We ultimately choose.

For my 15yo:
She already had her iPhone permanently swapped with a flip phone.
1.) Electronics are for cadet and school work.
2.) Don’t use them in front of the 5yo (unless it’s obviously work).
3.) Fun uses of any device ONLY after completion of responsibilities.

The results have been WAY more human interaction because there are no screens to park the kid in front of so that I can go clean up or take a break. Sadly, he doesn’t seem to care about the activity and learning books I got for him, which surprised me. He likes picking out stickers and putting them in all sorts of places OUT of the book, though. So, board games, cards, toys, crafting, pillow fighting, running around like kids, shoveling snow, cleaning up together, etc. are what we end up doing. No peace for me, but satisfaction in seeing him stabilize his attitude and ability to have normal human interactions.

My 15yo often tells me that there are so many kids in her cadet unit or school who has social problems, like anxiety, and she just doesn’t get it. She is observing the results of getting too much screen time growing up – there is so much less actual human interaction that the kids are literally deficient in this aspect of life. No wonder they can’t handle human interactions – the screens that raised them have been devoid of all the emotions that go with dealing with people.

I Took the TV, PS4, Wii, DS XL, & iPad Away

Today I suddenly realized we were late for Jiu-Jitsu so I jumped up and told my 5y/o that it was time to go to BJJ. He was playing Minecraft and didn’t want to stop (because he was not done building yet). I said what I always say, and what he has always understood: “It’s ok, bud, the game will wait for you; it will be there when we get back.

Surprisingly, this time he protested – hard. When I was first teaching him the idea that if he is obedient, then the thing he wants will be available, he struggled with it. But, he did get it and we have been doing it very well. That was perhaps a year ago now so I wasn’t expecting a 1.5 hr meltdown that lasted the trip to BJJ, 3/4 of the lesson (on the bench; we left early), the drive home, and still once we were back.

Read More »

Life’s To-Do List

Here’s Your Check-List:

Dream big.
Plan ahead.
Get up early.
Stay focused.Read More »

If You Grew Up in the 80’s…

  1. You know what “Sike” means.
  2. You know the profound meaning of “Wax on, Wax off.”
  3. You know that another name for a keyboard is a “Synthesizer.”
  4. You can sing the McDonald’s Big Mack, Filet-o-fish, Quarter Pounder, and French Fry song.
  5. You know who Mr. T is.
  6. You know who Fat Albert is. And who was old boy with the pink mask?
  7. You ever wore fluorescent, neon clothing.
  8. You could breakdance, or wish you could.
  9. You wanted to be The Hulk for Halloween.
  10. You Believed that saying “By the power of Greyskull!”  You actually HAD the power.Read More »

20 Activities to do With Your Kids Other Than Watch TV

Almost half of kids spend at least two hours a day watching TV. While this may sound harmless enough, numerous studies have come out showing that TV is definitely taking its toll on American children.

UPDATE: When I first posted this (8 years ago in 2010) TV still mattered. Now the cell phone is the mind-sucking device that plagues parents. This article is still valid, though.

For instance, a study in the April 2004 journal Pediatrics found that every added hour of watching TV increased a child’s odds of having attention problems at age 7 by about 10 percent. Those who watched for three hours a day between the ages of 1 and 3 were 30 percent more likely to have attention trouble at age 7 than those viewing no TV.

The notion that kids watch far too much TV is a no-brainer, literally. My strong recommendation is to minimize TV watching to no more than a few hours per WEEK, as a short attention span is only the beginning of the problem with TV. Here are some of the other negatives of kids watching TV:Read More »

How The News Works

TV and Your Child’s Brain – EXPLAINED

I looked at some research into how TV affects the viewers brain. I will try to explain it in simple terms (because I am rather simple myself)

  • The stimulus (TV/Porn/Movie/Music video/etc) sends A/V signals to the subject’s brain.
  • The subject’s brain then processes what it is experiencing with eyes and ears.
  • The subject is stationary, usually at rest, in a familiar setting and is comfortable there.
  • The violent stimulus triggers natural fight or flight reactions in the subject’s brain, but the subject is not in any real danger, so the subject’s brain suppresses any reactions.
  • Change the stimulus and the respective reactions take place in the brain, usually contrary to the subject’s state, and the brain suppresses further.
  • There are no exciting videos of people sitting on their couches. The SIMS is the closest you’re going to get to that, haha, so the stimulus is almost always in direct contrast to the viewer’s current state.

Now, with that said, what happens when the brain reacts, then is suppressed – repeatedly? Well, over a 120 minute movie with the action, romance, and drama peaking and falling throughout, the brain gets a good workout. As an adult you’re used to it, but with a kid, they’re just learning to suppress these things, and what happens is they build up the feelings rather than suppressing them. So, at the end of a fighting movie they want to release that build up, and they act-out. At the end of a sad movie they might be on a downer, or appear saddened. Over time, they develop coping mechanisms, but some kids don’t and they act-out all the time, and as they grow up they act-out on a larger scale.

Think About It.