If you limit the time your child can play video games, be on the computer, or watch TV… WHY?
I’m aware of many conventional reasons…er…excuses…. Have you ever really thought about it?
I know that a lot of parents put limits on their children; it’s pretty typical in mainstream families because they rule and control everything. They use it as punishments and rewards.
Many unschoolers that I know of do not put artificial limits on their kids. I believe that if you do that you are greatly reducing their access to valuable resources. I’m not talking about sharing and taking turns, that’s real and something that needs to be worked out.
Our kids have always had freedom to use electronics.
I’ve heard parents say… My kid is addicted and if I let him he will play all day and never do anything else…Do you really believe that? Have you actually tested that false theory? You probably have not. If you let go of the controls for a few days or even weeks I bet they would play every minute they could stand because they didn’t know when it would be taken away. Then you would panic and put the limits back on them again, so both of your fears would come true.
But…Your kids are different….Of course our kids are different, they aren’t controlled.
If you really let go of the reigns I’m sure they would play as much as they could but eventually they would see that you aren’t taking it away from them and they would feel safe in leaving it to do other things.
Our boys have been saving for an XBOX 360 since Christmas. They all put their money in and bought it last month along with several games. At first they played quite a bit but really not as much as I thought they would and they even took turns. Now they only play it once in awhile because they know it’s there whenever they want it.
Now technically they own it. We did not purchase this and have no claim to it. But honestly just because you purchase something for your kids it doesn’t give you the right to limit it and take it away at your whim. We own other game systems that we bought for the kids. We have never taken it away from them.
I really believe that setting up adversarial relationships with our children just causes stress, strife and rebellion. I believe in partnership parenting, parenting with our children, not at them or over them but beside them.
Video games are not evil, they aren’t the enemy, and TV isn’t brain sucking and mind numbing. Some people may use it that way but they weren’t unschoolers raised in a respectful environment. Computers are part of everyday life now. Information is at our fingertips. If you trust children to learn then why would you limit their access to the world?
Lately our youngest son has spent more time on the computer than ever before. He is working on creating video games and it takes time and it involves some frustration as well. After he’s been on awhile he gets up and runs laps through the house to expel the energy that builds up. Even though he is spending a lot of time on there now he does do other things and I believe it’s temporary. As all interests go he is invested in this right now and it’s important to him. I don’t want to take that away from him.
I help him out as needed, I’m here for him answering questions and watching all of the cool things he is creating.
I firmly believe that if these things are limited or used as a reward or punishment then there would be some sort of power given to them. As it is they hold no power and they are just another tool or resource, they are also a form of entertainment and learning.
Written by Stephanie Waldron© 2011 An Unschooling Life