I feel like Isaiah is a social experiment. Well, I don’t just feel like it. It is almost intentional. The fact is, I completely shelter him from outside influences. There is no pop culture in his life. No TV, no movies (post 1970), no pop music (post 1990), no video games. We are
living in a time in our history where media as at its height. We have ways of entertaining ourselves that are nothing short of science fiction. However there are no filters anymore either. There is no moral sieve. There are no parents objecting loud enough to damaging content, at this point the parent must make a conscious decision to tune out, or play Russian roulette with their child’s innocence.
We would never let our children play in the middle of a Highway, yet we have no problem with letting the information superhighway run right through their precious minds. The information linking ADHD and the media is nothing short of prolific. Here’s a taste American Academy of Pediatrics just in case you don’t feel like clicking and reading the whole thing, here is their conclusion Conclusions. Early television exposure is associated with attentional problems at age 7. Efforts to limit television viewing in early childhood may be warranted, and additional research is needed.
Yet so many parents are willing to risk it. I love this guy, Kim John Payne, his website is http://www.simplicityparenting.com. Better yet, read his book. You’ll thank me 🙂 The whole idea of this book is by exposing your child to less you raise much calmer and mentally healthier kids. Now here’s the disclaimer. No one would call my child calm by any sense of the word. HOWEVER, we have witnessed the value of these things first hand none-the-less. First of all, Isaiah has a minimal amount of toys, with almost no toys that do things for him. ( ie battery operated doohickeys) As we said we completely limit his exposure to media as well. Yet there have been a few times in his life when we allowed some media in, all of these times were during prolonged illnesses. As an asthmatic child we have had our bouts with pneumonia and other stressful illnesses. During these times, your child does not want to play, and there are only so many hours in the day you can read to them. So reluctantly we would allow some “movie time”. One of these times, Isaiah developed a movement disorder. (I will elaborate on this movement disorder in a later post) It took us a year to tie the movement disorder (these were involuntary large muscle movements, not twitches but what is considered ‘complex tic disorder’, which would include double arm rotations, and much more) to watching television. It was only after the movement disorder began to subside that we identified television as the source. This of course was because the next time we watched television, it started again, and so on and so on.
Look at it this way. Maybe at some level you have always allowed TV. Starting with something apparently benign like PBS kids, maybe moving into Nick, and now maybe even some video games, and of course there are the Disney movies. How would you know? How would you know if these things were effecting your child’s behavior if it’s something you have always done? I know I am not the only one who is amazed at the phenomenon of medicated elementary children. Now parents, I do not judge, not one bit. I have been so many places on my journey with Isaiah, I understand doing what you must do to help your child succeed. But could you be doing more if you were willing to be uncomfortable for a little while? I get it. How can I make dinner if I can’t put on the TV for a half hour while I cook, how can I shower or make an important phone call? How can I have a private conversation with my husband who is never home without little Mr Busy Body putting in his two cents? I’ll tell you how, by making a change and sticking too it. One of my favorite quotes from Payne’s Simplicity Parenting is “A child who doesn’t experience leisure—or better yet, boredom—will always be looking for external stimulation, activity or entertainment… [and] a culture of compulsion and instant gratification. What also grows in such a culture? Addictive behaviors.” Read it again…..let it sink in.
My hypothesis for Isaiah is this; He’s gonna turn out great and everything will be awesome! He will be whatever the 21st centuries version of the “children of the health freak hippies of the 70’s” is, not the wackadoodle commune living, LSD popping, mushroom growing, drum circle hippies. But the ones pioneering the health food “craze” who everyone thought were wackos then, but they were on to something.
I intend to elaborate on this post again, so subscribe if you want to see where I go from here. Or check back, better yet, chime in!