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StellaM

s/o restricting screen time - feedback on this idea please ? No harshness pls

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Yes, I made a spin off of my own thread :)

 

So, I want less YouTube in my kid's life and more other things. I've been helped to come up with other things, at least to start with.

 

I'm not comfortable laying down the screen law. I'm just not. So there's no point me thinking I'll do that because I won't do it. It isn't congruent with my sense of how I relate to the kids. Please don't try to convince me otherwise :)

 

But...what if I sat down with ds to work on some goal setting ? Talking about intentional use of time ? Offering ideas and skills for how to make his free time more meaningful to him. I am sure a lot of his screen time is due to boredom/loneliness. Not all. But some. 

 

So what do you guys think ? Is that likely to be a useful way of approaching it ? 

 

Please hold my hand on this one. I feel like a young teen newbie instead of a third time rounder. 

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Sounds good to me too. Maybe give him a chart afterwards so he can think it over and jot down ideas? My DD and I have a note book where we write to each other.

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Sure. Sounds like a great way to encourage his growth and independence and get through this transition phase.

 

Many adults benefit from goals lists as well.

 

Good luck.

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You said you can attribute much of his screen time to loneliness/boredom. 

 

Does he have any kind of written school schedule?  When my kids were this age, they had daily school schedules, and I would specifically write in a block for "FREE TIME: Anything you would like to do that doesn't involve a screen."  We didn't have time available every day, but I'd add it 3-4 times a week, for an hour or two.  They actually enjoyed this because it was an active reminder, and they would do things like listen to music, play with Legos, draw, read, write, etc.  A couple of their choices turned into serious hobbies. I had a list of suggestions in the beginning to give ideas.

 

If you don't have a schedule, maybe you can plan this for him anyway?

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I think that's an outstanding way to go about it! You are "parenting by relationship, not by control." Teens need to have chances to make mistakes, so have a plan if he can't handle it, but allow him to try. My advice, anyway.

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Yeah, this sounds great.  I wondered what kind of crazy plan you had in mind when you said "no harshness please."

 

My son has had times when he is stuck to a screen.  We did/do talk about long-term goals and things he should be doing.   It can be hard to find things to do, depending on the home environment.  (Urban/suburban vs farm/acreage.  There are few logs to split here. :-)  )

 

I never managed screen rules.  If there is nothing to do, there's nothing to do.  I don't believe all kids can find something to do at all times.  And even for an avid reader, there is a limit.

Edited by marbel
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I think that screen time is easy time and most of us tend to opt for easy over hard.

 

Based on some recent experiences with suggesting better options in a particular situation without any power to 'enforce', I don't think your option of talking about use of time etc will be at all effective. I was dealing with a 9 year old, however.

 

I do think you might create some sort of incentive / reward for changing behaviour, but that's perhaps just the circuitous route to enforcing limits and not what you want.

 

I guess the only realistic route I could see would be modelling the behaviour you want and providing alternatives that fill the time in such a way that screen time is squeezed out. Here that takes the form of completing homework tasks, assigned reading ("do your reading first"), requests for assistance ("can you please help me by chopping the vegetables"), assigned responsibilities (chores) and doing things together that get us all out of the house.

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It sounds reasonable to me.  The worst that can happen is that it doesn't solve the problem and you need to try a different approach.

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Is he not making better use of his time because he isn't trying to?  Or is it because of too many limitations on what he'd be able to do? 

 

I could think of 100 things to entertain myself.  I never run out of stuff to do.  But the bulk of those things are things that either my kids cannot do for one reason or another or have zero interest in doing. 

 

It's worth a try either way.  I kinda had this conversation with my older kid the other day about making better use of free time.  I'm not sure I said the best things.  For example, I said he should spend less time playing video games during his free time.  I spend a lot of time doing jigsaw puzzles.  Is this really any better?  Why am I picking on video games?  I don't know.  Mostly I think he should spend more time on school work, but I think he won't do that on his own so I think i do need to more often specifically tell him what to work on.

 

 

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One thing can be to help kid realize the difference between different types of screen time. (I was going to say good and bad screen time, but decided not to put a moral cast on it.) for example, one kid here is working through an online chess tactics course, another did a first aid app with lessons. Then there are the car race games. Those can be ok too, for a while.

 

I tried the technique of confiscating devices, remotes, and cables. Did not work.

 

But we do talk about pluses and minuses of screen time. For example, some games can be relaxing, good for breaks. Others, ones with levels and so on, can be addictive. I want kids to understand the difference.

 

I am in a similar position to you, so I don't have a lot of foolproof advice. :-(. As to comments about activities, my kids both have jam packed days. I wish that eliminated screens, but it doesn't. Ymmv.

 

Btw, I try not to sneer at kids and screens. There can be a big benefit to sitting down together to watch a tv show your kids like or play a mobile game together, especially with teens who may not be that communicative. You may be able to turn something 'bad' (screens) into something 'good' (communication).

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So what do you guys think ? Is that likely to be a useful way of approaching it ? 

 

I know you and I often differ on parenting approaches, but here's my two cent anyway.

 

Yes, it will probably be useful. Anything that encourages a child to think broadly and consider other paths/perspectives is useful.

 

Whether or not it will effect the change you are hoping for will depend largely on your child's personality. 

 

I have three kids who are not biologically related. For two of them, talking like this does not usually effect much change at all. Their motivations for using screens have much to do with their own biology and the experiences they had before coming to us. The payoff they get from using screens supersedes any of the "benefits" that I feel come from decreased screen usage. With these children, if I want change, I have to enforce it. And this is not just a problem of kids who were adopted and had negative experiences. This (excessive screen usage) is a problem I observe many parents dealing with, regardless of how their families were formed.

 

With my third child, these types of discussions are more productive (from my point of view) in encouraging more limited screen time. This child has different motivations for using screens and derives different benefits from doing so. The motivations and benefits are more malleable and subject to parental influence, if that makes sense.

 

I am of the opinion that screen time, which is documented to change brain structure and function, is like a drug, and some people are more susceptible to becoming addicted to it. I have no problem with people simply telling their kids "no," and in some cases I think the parents are being negligent if they don't do so. I didn't read your other thread, so I am not aware of the particulars of your situation, but I do encourage you to consider the biological basis for your child's excessive screen use and to consider whether it is something your child truly needs external (rather than purely internal) limitations on.

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Ham radio is a hobby that lends itself to isolated locations. Getting his license could be a realistic goal. It's worth looking in to. At the very least it could redirect his screen time to something goal oriented.

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:grouphug: You're a good mom.

 

 

Kids that age have very different capacities to absorb the concept of long term goals and deferring gratification NOW to build towards mastery LATER.  Of my three, my eldest kinda-sorta could hear that message at 15 (but was nonetheless inconsistent in holding to disciplined habits toward a distant payoff); my middle really only hears the Charlie Brown teacher drone when we try to go there; and my youngest (13 yo) does.not.even.need.us.to.say.anything because she knows, herself, what she needs to do now to get to where she wants to go.

 

And their use of screens directly reflects those differences.  I've never, at any age, had to tell my youngest, don't mess around on the iPad until your work is done... because on her own, intrinsically, without any carrots or sticks or limits I hold out, she doesn't *do* "downtime" until she's completed A-quality work on her work.  She's not even compliant -- she's self-motivated.

 

If I had happened to draw *that* kid as my eldest, oh, the theories I'd have! on parenting techniques.  

 

 

As it is....  It's great to try to discuss long term goals with kids.  Some of them can hear and even contribute to the discussion.  Not all can.

 

I agree with Tara that there is nothing wrong AT ALL with just saying no, sometimes.  This is it, spanky: only ____ minutes of YouTube a day, and only after ____ is completed.  Not because coercive parental authority is a value unto itself but because, from your... uh... wiser and bigger-picture perspective, you have visibility into the consequences, now, of what that exposure is doing... and also into the flip side, of what are the hoops and obstacles between where he is now vs. where he wants to go.  Whereas he, bless his heart, hasn't grown a frontal lobe yet.  

 

But at the same time I also agree with marbel, that sometimes there really is nothing to do, and people will fill the time.  From your other thread, I got the sense that if he had connected more socially, he would be more willing to do more active / engaged things to fill it... which leaves me wondering if he'd do better if y'all found a way to get him into a standing activity (cooking club, doing after-school tutoring at a community center, other service, intramural sports -- anything, really, that gave him the opportunity to connect).  If public transportation exists, getting him comfortable using it would be HUGE in terms of his autonomy and ability to carry on connection on his own.

 

Good luck, dear.  Y'all have been through a lot.

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Yes, we have had those discussions here. 

One thing you can consider is an app like Rescue Time and use it at first to just *track* where the time is spent.    


You can get a report which says "hey hornblower, this week you spent 40 hours on WTM forums, 40 hours on twitter, 20 hours on youtube"  

And then you might say "what? That much on twitter? I need to ditch it so that I can spend more time on WTM!" ;) 


For us, measuring is an important part of understanding what is going on & then being more conscious of our choices and how we decide to spend our time. 

On top of such measurements, you can also use the app to set limits and lock yourself out or certain sites or applications, but the child which IMO most needs that function is not using it like that.  

College girl is though! She has been using it the past couple weeks during prep for finals and I think it's been very beneficial for her. 

What my other child does has had some good experience with is making lists of 'things I'd like to do'  (build that thing, go to that store, visit that park, etc etc etc, short term & long term) and then making concrete plans to do that because otherwise the default is goof off on the web. 

I also say "inertia is a property of matter" (in the voice that was used for the Bill Nye show intros where they said this line in the opener), just to remind all of us that we need a push to start doing stuff.  

What I'm trying to move beyond is mindless habit and just more into intentionally spending time on whatever activities they've decided are worthwhile. Ultimately they will have to decide what they want (apparently watching every Nerd^3 video is on ds's bucket list  :huh: ) and there's a point where I have to respect their interests but I have interfered to ask repeatedly 'what about the other stuff you want to do? when will you do that?' and I like to think that my endless yakking on that is making some sort of difference... 
 

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I do think its important to talk to kids about the addictive qualities of some screen-related activities.  This is actually one thing I don't like about dividing between "passive" and "active" uses in terms of the former being bad and the latter good.  Passive screens can be easy and suck people in for hours at a time if we aren't careful.  But it tends to be the moer active types that lead to real addiction problems.

 

I know I've found with my kids that I actually have to restrict time with active gaming.  When I've been more ad hoc, they would play all day if I let them and when I said it was enough, the nagging and complining was unbearable.  It was much better to make it clear when was ok, and when was not.  And even then it seemed to work better if the limits were pretty low.

 

I've also tried to encourage better choices for television watching.

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I think your idea is a good one. IMO, the only time management lessons that will stick are the ones our kids learn themselves. Your approach would potentially help him learn better self regulation and stronger time management skills in a way that externally imposed limits generally do not.

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Would he feel better if you were 'in the struggle' with him? What if you just plug your router into a timer so that it's just off between certain hours of the day? Then you both can go 'Nooooooo!' together and find something to do. Cleaning, still motion photography, new recipe, pvc structures in the yard. (Ok, this is fun for me. I don't know why. ) Some twine and cuttings from a bamboo stand could keep him busy for hours. Does he like computers? Maybe he can fiddle with a raspberry pi or something educational where he's actively engaged with technology, but not passively surfing the net. Would he like his own tiny, raised garden to care for? You can build one with cinderblocks . . . and build a pvc/chicken wire cage to keep the critters out! (I have a pvc problem. It's like giant tinker toys. Would he like an erector set? Those eat up some time.

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For my DS who was a heavy screen user as a young teen the problem resolved itself once he had a busier life: he became actively involved with sports, took a part time job, has a girl friend. So instead of external restrictions, he found more productive uses of his time and is a happier person. He still uses screens, but much less so because he does not have that much idle time.

Based on this experience, I think your approach is a good one: brainstorm to find a way to replace part of the screen time with more satisfying pursuits.

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I agree with the mom(s) who said having a more scheduled school day is REALLY helpful even though it goes against how we always did school in the younger years.  The reason I say this helps with the screen time issue is that it motivates us to talk about specific, small goals for the day.  I like to follow up at dinner time--of course, they're not 100% on their own during school, I'm right there to SEE if they are doing stuff, but I like them to be able to articulate that they wanted to (or were supposed to) accomplish XYZ (school related or not, btw!) and they DID.  This makes us ALL feel better and then I feel like I don't have to be the screen time police which I don't want to do anyway.  LOL  Because if they are getting important things done, too, then I could care less if they want to watch an hour of anime when they can fit it in, kwim?

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I think talking about it openly is great.  You can make it a "family" goal and not just focus on him, perhaps?  (At least, I know with a couple of my kids, I'd need to do it that way or they'd take it too personally.)  

 

Also, I found that at that age, what really helped was to actively do stuff with them.  Drag them out of the house to go on a nature hike, or go biking together, or do a cool art project together, etc.  Some of my kids needed more "pulling" than others.  Sometimes just forcing them into a different activity (by way of doing it with me ;-)), they'd become interested and more involved with it on their own.

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I think you could do what you propose. And if not now, then in a year or so. My son is 13 and he's starting (dimly) to understand how to take charge of his time and make choices that don't satisfy the immediate desire, but will help reach a long term goal. Like, he hates physical activity. Just doesn't like any of it. And frankly, neither do I. So we understand each other. However, I make myself get up and walk on the treadmill about 5 times a week.

 

He knows he needs exercise, so until he comes up with something else he knows he needs to walk on the treadmill, too. He doesn't like it, but he understands it's in his own best interest long term. He will watch a tv show while he walks so it's not entirely boring. Sometimes he skips a bunch of days and I gently remind him, "Sweetie, don't forget to walk on the treadmill tomorrow morning." He's fine with the reminder because he understands it's necessary for his health.

 

Same with screens. Now, I have limited screen time because my youngest will NOT stop with the screens. He will play 10 or more hours a day. That wasn't an anomoly. I tested this out over 3 weekends recently and over the summer vacation last year. He will play every waking hour except when eating or bathing for the entire weekend (or 4 weeks in a row in the summer) if I don't stop him.

 

But my oldest understand logically that that isn't healthy. So, he is better able to control himself if I say, "You need a break from the screens." As I said, unfortunately I did have to create strict screen boundaries for the youngest and my oldest has to follow them, too, because the youngest just can't seem to stop himself yet. He's 11. Hopefully when he's 13.5 like the oldest he'll get better. But right now it feels like a true addiction. He'll play until he has raging headaches and keep on playing. He'll play rather than do any other activity, no matter if he normally likes it.

 

But...your son. If he's old enough to listen to the logic and is old enough to defer reward, then a discussion will be good. You'll probably have to have the discussion over and over as it takes time to develop new habits. You'll certainly have to have some very appealing options of what to do with his time other than looking at screens. And you'll need to discuss the best use of screens. If he's using screen time to further his education in some way, that's great. But if he's just watching goofy videos then he might need to learn to curtail that. If he makes better choices of what he watches, then maybe he could watch more often.

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Sadie, I think your idea sounds very workable.

 

My boys struggle with self-control and screen time. Two of them particularly. I finally sat them down and told them that I am tired of being the screen police, and they decided on their own, together, that for now, until they can get to a better school-activity-screen balance, they will only make screens a social activity that they do in person with friends.

 

It has been lovely turning over control to them, because while they still ask me for permission, I talk them through rather than granting or denying. Does what you're asking for meet the terms of your agreement with your brothers? What is your goal? Etc. They usually come to a conclusion on their own, although occasionally they'll all consult with one another. And I am relieved of the constant need to remind/police and I'm not being nagged constantly.

 

Bonus: They're inviting friends over for screen time. That means I can say, "Go play outside for a while," or start a poker game, or provide snack and social time in between video games. All of the other kids' families try to find a good screen/life balance, so the friends are accustomed to parents saying, "Hey, your brains are going to leak out your ears! Find something else to do for a while." :)

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Thanks for all this useful feedback. 

 

I have to say, reading through this makes me think it's a family relationship problem - ie none of us have much time for him - and a too much leisure time problem, as well as lack of intentionality.

 

I'm struggling. I feel like I can, as someone who is chronically ill, do two jobs well - parent and homeschool, homeschool and study, parent and study - but I'm falling down on all three.

 

The only option to that is school. I don't like that option.

 

My girls are too busy with study/out to help with ds. Dh works 7 days a week, including quite a few nights. So implementing the changes that make sense to me - man, I just feel overwhelmed.

 

I know there is nothing wrong with other people just saying no to their kids. I just can't do it. Partly because it doesn't sit right with me due to my own experience of growing up in a controlling environment - guess I've gone the other way. Partly because enforcement is yet another drain on my energy and my time. 

 

I do suck it up quite a lot, but when I have a flare - right now, can't breathe all that well - it's rough. 

 

But I have a lot to think about. Thank you.

 

 

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I agree with the mom(s) who said having a more scheduled school day is REALLY helpful even though it goes against how we always did school in the younger years.  The reason I say this helps with the screen time issue is that it motivates us to talk about specific, small goals for the day.  I like to follow up at dinner time--of course, they're not 100% on their own during school, I'm right there to SEE if they are doing stuff, but I like them to be able to articulate that they wanted to (or were supposed to) accomplish XYZ (school related or not, btw!) and they DID.  This makes us ALL feel better and then I feel like I don't have to be the screen time police which I don't want to do anyway.  LOL  Because if they are getting important things done, too, then I could care less if they want to watch an hour of anime when they can fit it in, kwim?

 

There's actually no issue with the school day. The only 'rule' I've successfully enforced there is the 9-3 rule. So he gets a lot of school stuff done, and he has around 5 hrs week of extracurriculars (2 hrs drama, 3 hours soccer). 

 

There's just so much time between 3 and bedtime at 9. 

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Yeah, this sounds great.  I wondered what kind of crazy plan you had in mind when you said "no harshness please."

 

My son has had times when he is stuck to a screen.  We did/do talk about long-term goals and things he should be doing.   It can be hard to find things to do, depending on the home environment.  (Urban/suburban vs farm/acreage.  There are few logs to split here. :-)  )

 

I never managed screen rules.  If there is nothing to do, there's nothing to do.  I don't believe all kids can find something to do at all times.  And even for an avid reader, there is a limit.

 

I thought someone might yell at me for having minimal screen restrictions. 

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I know there is nothing wrong with other people just saying no to their kids. I just can't do it. Partly because it doesn't sit right with me due to my own experience of growing up in a controlling environment - guess I've gone the other way. Partly because enforcement is yet another drain on my energy and my time. 

 

You have a right to live in an environment that doesn't drain you and cause you undue stress (and you seem to be stressed by his screen use). You have a right to expect that your teenage son consider your needs and desires as well as his own. Personally, I don't consider telling a teenager "You get three hours a day of screen time, not six" controlling in any way at all. If you're not comfortable doing that, then don't do it, but living in a family is about attempting to accommodate everyone's needs and desires, not just the children's. 

 

Can you talk to your son about your needs and desires?

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You have a right to live in an environment that doesn't drain you and cause you undue stress (and you seem to be stressed by his screen use). You have a right to expect that your teenage son consider your needs and desires as well as his own. Personally, I don't consider telling a teenager "You get three hours a day of screen time, not six" controlling in any way at all. If you're not comfortable doing that, then don't do it, but living in a family is about attempting to accommodate everyone's needs and desires, not just the children's. 

 

Can you talk to your son about your needs and desires?

 

I could, if I didn't feel such a bucket load of guilt about the ways in which I am not meeting his needs and desires.

 

For example. He wants a dog,. He has always wanted a dog. He is great with dogs. With a dog, he would walk, train and care for it 100%. He would be spending time with the dog. YouTube is a second to a dog. I know this. he can't have a dog. So many reasons, but mostly to do with the fact that his dad and I live in a rental and don't have spare cash ie we made crap decisions and now ds pays for it. I looked into fostering but our fences aren't secure enough. I can't fix the fences because money and renting. The ll won't fix the fence.  

 

Another example: when the girls were little, dh worked less. And neither dh nor I were studying. We did stuff with the girls - went away, had days out, played board games. Now, everyone is too busy or too absent to do any of it. We never go away, we almost never have non-homeschool days out, we never play games. 

 

Nope. I am too guilty about it to put my needs first. 

 

WTM. Cheaper than therapy.

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I could, if I didn't feel such a bucket load of guilt about the ways in which I am not meeting his needs and desires.

 

For example. He wants a dog,. He has always wanted a dog. He is great with dogs. With a dog, he would walk, train and care for it 100%. He would be spending time with the dog. YouTube is a second to a dog. I know this. he can't have a dog. So many reasons, but mostly to do with the fact that his dad and I live in a rental and don't have spare cash ie we made crap decisions and now ds pays for it. I looked into fostering but our fences aren't secure enough. I can't fix the fences because money and renting. The ll won't fix the fence.  

 

Another example: when the girls were little, dh worked less. And neither dh nor I were studying. We did stuff with the girls - went away, had days out, played board games. Now, everyone is too busy or too absent to do any of it. We never go away, we almost never have non-homeschool days out, we never play games. 

 

Nope. I am too guilty about it to put my needs first. 

 

WTM. Cheaper than therapy.

 

:grouphug:

 

Does it help if you think of this as a just a "season" in your lives? You don't have to fix everything right now. You won't be in school forever, you'll bounce back from the flare at some point (I hope!), and you'll have time to remediate some of this later. It's not ideal (believe me, I know), but it won't ruin him. 

 

Frankly, it sounds like you're doing better than I am, and I'm not dealing with a chronic illness. I still can only manage to do two things well!

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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DD15 used to watch YouTube gamers. She then became a broadcaster herself. In doing so, she had to learn to set up a studio, start a business, and manage her time accordingly. Good things can come from YouTube. Why not get your kiddo to design his own videos?

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I wonder if he could start up a dog-walking business?  Older teens do well with that around here.  One run in the morning and another after 3?

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My son's co-op is having this issue too, even though the kids have each other, activities, place to play various games, screens are just very hard to get away from for a lot of us, kids and adults both. Like me right now.  There is a Wendell Berry (I think) poem that a vaguely recall liking very much which even has a line about getting away from screens -- though maybe it did not mean electronic ones. 

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My son's co-op is having this issue too, even though the kids have each other, activities, place to play various games, screens are just very hard to get away from for a lot of us, kids and adults both. Like me right now.  There is a Wendell Berry (I think) poem that a vaguely recall liking very much which even has a line about getting away from screens -- though maybe it did not mean electronic ones. 

 

How to be a Poet. 

 

Yep. Should live my life by that poem. Love it. 

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{{{Sadie}}}

 

I wish there were an easy fix that it just took the one brilliant poster to give us all the answer & Voila!  Perfect parenting!

 

I have no advice to give - you've gotten some good suggestions already.  But I hear how gut-wrenching this is to you and I'm sending you in-the-trenches-together vibes.  The fact that you are even here, asking these questions & angsting over them proves that you are a fantastic mother.

 

There is no one single right answer.  Your son is lucky to have you.  Big hugs, mama.

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{{{Sadie}}}

 

I wish there were an easy fix that it just took the one brilliant poster to give us all the answer & Voila!  Perfect parenting!

 

I have no advice to give - you've gotten some good suggestions already.  But I hear how gut-wrenching this is to you and I'm sending you in-the-trenches-together vibes.  The fact that you are even here, asking these questions & angsting over them proves that you are a fantastic mother.

 

There is no one single right answer.  Your son is lucky to have you.  Big hugs, mama.

 

I have to say, the ideas and support on the WTM over the past couple of days have run a close second to having the One Brilliant Poster!

 

I'm feeling more sane about it all today. I think it was bolt - not sure which thread - who talked about the difference between regret and guilt, and honestly, that was a bit of a revelation. 

 

Thanks for the love :)

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Oh, bolt!!!! Very wise, that bolt. I love reading her posts.

 

I'm going to try to find that thread as I could use a splash of guilt vs regret wisdom.

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I think you already were doing some great things ...school schedule ect. We do the goal setting, and encourage something creative. Maybe he could watch a video about something creative...learning guitar, drawing, painting..and although it won't exactly get him off the screen, it may give him somthing different and creative to do. I might do a family schedule, and make sure I consistently had study breaks that were walks with him or a little shooting hoops, or chatting. Sometimes we do 10 minute card games like black jack or 31. Sorry this is so hard!

Edited by Silver Brook
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I have two kids who would do screens to the exclusion of all else if given the chance.  Especially my son who is extremely quirky and likes to know ahead of time what's happening.  Good or bad, if he knows it goes much better.  So, we set up a routine for screen time (and just about everything else) that makes things go smoother.  I don't know if something like this might help your situation, but here it is just in case.  If nothing else, you'll realize you're not the only one with kids sitting in front of screens a lot.  :tongue_smilie:

(My son does also record his own youtube videos and is on a few Minecraft servers with family so he interacts with people that way).

 

School starts at 9am.  Most of school is fairly independent unless they get stuck on something.  Once they finish their "binder" work (any worksheets, textbook stuff), they have to do an hour of assigned reading. Usually that brings us to lunch (11:30-ish) and they can watch youtube videos on the big tv during lunch.  After lunch, if everything else is done, they have to have two hours of screenfree time.  They can do whatever they want unless we have a field trip planned, but it's no screens.    They know it's coming so they often have plans for what they want to do - take a walk, paint rocks, read, draw/color/write stories (ds is making up a book of his own Pokémon).  No restrictions except no screens.

 

At 4pm they are allowed on the computer if everything else is done (and we're not out at an activity - they do Tai Kwan Do, swimming lessons, choir, 4-H) until 7pm.  At 7pm it's off the computer but they can play Wii or watch videos until 9pm. 

 

I will admit, weekends are worse.  They are allowed on from when they wakeup until noon.  Then 2 hours screen free and they can get back on at 4pm until 7pm like weekdays. 

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Thanks for all this useful feedback. 

 

I have to say, reading through this makes me think it's a family relationship problem - ie none of us have much time for him - and a too much leisure time problem, as well as lack of intentionality.

 

I'm struggling. I feel like I can, as someone who is chronically ill, do two jobs well - parent and homeschool, homeschool and study, parent and study - but I'm falling down on all three.

 

The only option to that is school. I don't like that option.

 

My girls are too busy with study/out to help with ds. Dh works 7 days a week, including quite a few nights. So implementing the changes that make sense to me - man, I just feel overwhelmed.

 

I know there is nothing wrong with other people just saying no to their kids. I just can't do it. Partly because it doesn't sit right with me due to my own experience of growing up in a controlling environment - guess I've gone the other way. Partly because enforcement is yet another drain on my energy and my time. 

 

I do suck it up quite a lot, but when I have a flare - right now, can't breathe all that well - it's rough. 

 

But I have a lot to think about. Thank you.

(((Sadie)))

 

As someone who does not have chronic illness nor am I in school, I will say that I relate a lot to your first post.  I am a loosey goosey parent.  I don't want to set and enforce strict rules and limits.  It is not how my personality works.  The older I get, the less I want to set limits.

 

Little dd spends a LOT of time on screens.  BUT, she is very social and most of the time is spent skyping with her bff (also a sweet, social, lonely, homeschooled girl) while playing Minecraft.  She is a kid who would absolutely love to go to school 8 hours a day every day and then have a weekend filled with activities.  My one real rule is no screens until after 2 and no skyping on Sunday to have a day off.

 

Next year I will get her into a 9:30-2 one day program for homeschoolers in which she will take four fine arts classes and have a lunch.  Plus, she will do our usual Friday co-op (two classes), AHG troop (like Girls Scouts) and Sunday School.  She also did a sport this year and hung out with the other little sisters of my boys' bball team.  I cannot keep up with her need for human interaction and activities.  I am only one busy, middle aged lady, and my brain is tired from menopause.  By the end of the day, I cannot even process what she is saying to me because she has talked non stop all day.  So I am trying to be okay with the huge amounts of skyping and Minecraft because it meets a need for her socially that I am not able to meet.  It is a season.  It is a better compromise than sending her to school.

 

I hope any of that helps you.  I think as moms we hold ourselves to impossible standards often.  You are a busy lady right now, and this is a busy season.  I think you are doing your best.  I am unwilling to change my parenting style, either, and I think that is fine.  I like your idea, but please do not stress too much over any of it.  Your son is old enough to take some responsibility for this, too.  (Don't recall his exact age but early teenish?)  More  :grouphug:

Edited by texasmama
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I think you already were doing some great things ...school schedule ect. We do the goal setting, and encourage something creative. Maybe he could watch a video about something creative...learning guitar, drawing, painting..and although it won't exactly get him off the screen, it may give him somthing different and creative to do. I might do a family schedule, and make sure I consistently had study breaks that were walks with him or a little shooting hoops, or chatting. Sometimes we do 10 minute card games like black jack or 31. Sorry this is so hard!

 

Great idea. Thanks!

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