Thursday, July 02, 2009

Help Me Pull My Kids Out Of The... (((Zone)))

Seriously, from the time my boys woke up till meal time... they were game crazy. As soon, and as fast, as they could finish, they bolted back to their rooms to be the first to get to the games. Then, on to lunch, then on to dinner. You should see when we'd pull up in the garage. I had to TELL the kids to never open the door until the van is completely stopped. Well, the other day, I had had enough. I, of course, talked to Charles and TOGETHER we decided that it was time to pull the plug for awhile. They were no longer playing together as brothers which was making them more selfish. It was all about "me". Everything I had worked so hard on with them, just learning behaviors and how to treat each other, was just melting away. In the store, it's like they were still in front of a game. Things just didn't move fast enough for them. They weren't having as much fun as they would at home on their game. Now, nothing sounded fun to them. They just always wanted to go home.... and play games. So, thankfully Charles agreed that things had gotten out of hand. Back to training again. Not all over. Just some damage control. This is the same way I feel about TV so I'm not knocking just games. TV can be a babysitter for parents too. This why ADD/ADHD is on the rise. Of course, even before we had games, Chaz had issues with this. But NOT allll my other kids. They've always done great. Today we had to visit an electronics store for something I needed to use in homeschooling and Chaz was salivating over the fact that there was a game system demo he could play on that was within the same store. It's like his eyes were twitching. No joke. His hands were twitching. He was talking nonstop, actually babbling. Something about games. It's just.... not normal. He gets CRAZY about games. When I pulled the plug on him before, during my last homeschooling year, Chaz did much better. In fact, His signs of Aspergers had went down greatly and so had his ADHD. It was there. But not crazy there. It was managable. It's just breaking my heart to see my kids throw so much out the door so they can sit in front of a tube and exercise the living daylights out of the thumbs. Today was one of our training days since taking them off of games. I believe it's only been 2 days. Keep in mind that I had done this before, taking them away from games, and then had to retrain them in certain things. I can tell you that games have a huuuge effect on behavior, concentration, listening skills, etc. No, I CAN'T just say that at these certain times they can play in a day because they have their own countdown and it drives me bananas. They just talk about it. I have to pretty much pick a game day out of the week and let them have at it for awhile. So, we're thinking about it. I just know right now it's a MAJOR retraining time. It's like I'm taking them out of a weird time warp and trying to pull them back into reality. I saw another kid like that in the electronics store today. His parents were dressed fine but their boy LOOKED like a game fanatic. His clothes were too small. He had untied shoes with no socks. His clothes were all badly faded. His hair was crazy. This kid was so crazy about games he literally jumped in his dads tracks to make him stop so he could wait a turn after my boys. He talked nonstop about wanting to play. I only let my boys try the game for 5 minutes a piece and then quit but this boy looked like he was gonna jump out of his skin waiting. His parents were so unaware of how their "game boy" looked. But it was a flash in my eyes that I don't want my kids going down this road. I don't want to throw games at them because it makes my job easier. I've see how "game crazy" guys dress with their unkept hair and terrible social skills. It's like their stuck in a weird time warp and they don't notice anyone around them. Chaz so badly wants me to buy an XBOX 360. I said "no way". Sorry dude. You already have a Wii and Game Cube. I have to say the Wii is actually mine. I have my exercise stuff on there. So it's not like I bought it for them because I wanted to spoil them. Of course they used it. Sigh... You understand what I'm saying? I'm not trying to be a jerk mom but sometimes you just gotta step back, look at your kids and say to yourself, "is there anything they are doing that I'm not proud of? Are they doing ANYTHING that I'm proud of (besides beating the next level and doing their chores when reminded)? What are they learning from this? How is it going to help them later in life? Does it make them look at learning like it's dull in comparison? It's not like I'm selling the systems. I'm just taking a step back to see what needs to change and change it. When I was homeschooling a year ago (and had cut off games for awhile), I was shocked at how much changed. When I went to the grocery store, I used it as an opportunity to teach them how to act in a grocery store. Proper manners in a restaurant. Respectful behavior in church. Learning to pay attention in homeschool. Etc. But when kids are stuck in TV or games, it's like you have to give so much energy to pull them out of their time warp that so much time as already passed and you're tired with feeling like you're talking to a wall.


(My husband and I started talking while I was writing this and we ended up chatting for two hours. Ha! That is so funny. That happens to us at night when we're supposed to go to sleep. We'll end up talking for hours and then we're so tired the next day.)

Anyhow, I'm trying to get back on track. It's not like we've had games forever mind you. It's just been like this the last six months. My husband and I were just discussing some ideas together. Our own pow wow. Whatever you call that. I'm more excited now since we had a chance to really talk about it. I DON'T want to accept mediocre. I WANT my kids to see life the way I got to see it. I didn't have TV or games growing up. I rode my bike, had friends over, played board games, played (or fought) with my sisters, looked forward to going places with mom and dad. Was excited about outreaching and Sunday School. I'm so grateful. :)
Wow.... I can't believe this is such a long blog. My mind needs to stop talking and go to sleep! Tomorrow is a new day. I'm ready for it. (Ouchie back or not) :D


Anonymous said...

Virginia--I just love reading your blog. I only have two kiddos and feel like I don't get as much done as you do. I am a Christian, pastor's wife, and we plan to home school our kids. We don't have a lot of money to do paid activities like gym classes, etc. So, I am at home with the kiddos age 23 mos and almost 12 months all the time. Just recently our 23 mos old has started throwing temper tantrums. She is also getting into more trouble during the day. Last week she peeled wallpaper off her wall by her crib. Today the 12 mos old smacked a little girl at the park. I think he was just trying to wave, but got carried away--you know still figuring out how to do those things.

I am wondering how you deal with behavioral issues on little people. My Mom tells me not to worry, so does DH, but I want other people to be able to enjoy my kids. It really is hard when they are so small to reason with them about such things, but I do try. I am thinking they need more structured play time and lesson time with me--and I have found some free or nearly free things we can do during the week. But I am a little bit afraid to take them out to story time at the library. What if Cupcake has a tantrum? They love church and they love our bi-weekly play group, but right now that is all they do except play with me. Any suggestions? My email is, if it is easier to email me. I would sincerely value some advice.


Anonymous said...

My boys love their games too. I have noticed their behavior when they don't play it. Limiting it is best. :)

How is homeschooling going?

I'm so sorry to hear about your being in and out of the hospital because of these kidney stones! My dad has had them and I know they cause pain. Hope you are on the mend soon!

Lots of hugs!

Daddy Forever said...

That's what I worried about when we got a Wii. Luckily, our kids play less than an hour each week.

Noelle123 said...

Interesting read. I especially like the part where you talk about your relationship with your husband. Have you heard of a book called "Your Man Is Wonderful." It gave me a deep appreciation of my husband.

that TOPS lady said...

I feel the same way as you do about the videos and games. For many years, including the years that my children were born, we were active in a church that preached against tv and all forms of video...dvd's, watching stuff on the net, video games, etc....
We obeyed our pastor even though we didn't totally feel that it was necessary to have zero tolerance.
Two and half years ago, when my kids were 5 and 7, we moved back to our hometown and found a great church. But all churches are different, and our new pastor only teaches against having cable. Watching dvds and playing video games are ok with him, as long as you don't let it take over. That's the hard part. In just 2.5 years, it has taken over. *sigh* I'm trying to come up with a get our usage under control without causing a big fuss. I am still praying about the specifics of the plan. I think it will begin at the beginning of the new school year, along with new chore lists!
I enjoy reading your blog! Glad I found you!