Health, Personal Success, relationships

Oh Deer!

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Drawing Practice #55

Went for a run again last night with William. It was much colder than it has been, but we didn’t back down. We also ran during sunset and not in the dark. It was beautiful and I was (am!)  grateful for this connection with my husband and nature.

As we approach the new year, I’m reflecting on this past year. It was pretty awesome. One thing I’d like to have more of is outdoor time as a family: more hiking and less technology. (Technology is great, don’t get me wrong, but using it most of one’s waking hours is not necessary).

 

 

 

Health

Bossy

She took her daughter out of the store and turned to her. She bent down so they were face to face. “I want you to stop touching everything in the store and when you make something fall down, you need to pick. it. up.”

I smiled. Ah! Order had been restored in the universe!

This was such a refreshing scene to what is becoming more commonplace in restaurants and malls: parents busy on their phones while their children run and scream,  hit each other or drum on tables with forks and knives.

ava note

My daughters have cell phones. I do regret purchasing iPhones for them. But we had purchased them a “dumb” phone (only good for making calls) and they never had it on them. Or, they wouldn’t turn it on. So much for emergencies! In any case, they love their new phones and we can always reach them. Problem: They’re on Instagram or Snapchat all the time. It’s summer break and they will (literally) be happy to lie on their bed and play on their phones for hours. They become sullen, lethargic and anti-social.

So I took their phones away. They have to hand them to me at 9:30pm and they don’t get them again until 5pm. In the meantime, they must make their beds, practice violin for at least 70 minutes each and do other chores. I’ve actually been called “strict,
“mean” and “bossy” for doing this. Really? 4 or 5 hours of complete freedom on their phones is being strict? I’m trying to teach them ethics – “work before pleasure.” Someone said, “Well, all the teenagers do this now.” This sentence reminds me of a comeback…something about everyone jumping off a bridge?

Balancing “control” and “freedom” is always a delicate issue when raising children. Giving them room to grow, letting them make mistakes and standing back as they learn from their mistakes is imperative! However, we are parents. We must not be afraid to do the right thing, which is limit the “bad stuff”. You don’t allow your kids to eat all the sugar they want, do you? Technology is the same thing. As they mature and demonstrate that they can put the phone down and do other things, I will ease up. But not yet.

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

Put That Thing Away!

Weeks ago, I came home from work to find my daughters completely immersed in “screen time.”

Screen time is commonly known as time spent on any electronic: TV, computers, tablets, hand held video games and even cell phones.

girls and me
At their most recent violin recital.

Josie, (aka Instagram Queen), was on my iPad scrolling and commenting on various pictures. Scroll, comment, scroll, comment. Ava was on her laptop watching YouTube videos of past and present winners of The Voice. They hardly looked up as I put my things away, changed my clothes and started dinner. I asked them how their day was, what happened in school…and they responded with grunts and monosyllabic answers: “Good, fine….” I noticed that I had to nudge and then nag them to practice violin, something they used to do more willingly.

So I made a decision. With husband’s agreement (it won’t work if only one parent is enforcing it), I decided to confiscate and hide all electronics until violin practice and homework had been completed. Do you know how hard it is to hide an 84″ flat screen TV?  It worked. Ava completed her homework and violin practice and then played catch with Opal in the street. Josie completed all of her work and then picked up dog poo from the backyard! They conversed with me and I learned that Ava is very fond of her new friends Lucy and Caroline at school and Josie is frustrated that her math went from an A to a B.

Ahhhhhh! I had my family back! It felt mean and terrible to do, but I’m their mother, not their friend. I cannot allow them to become Screen Time Zombies in lieu of communicative students and daughters. I encourage you to try this, at the very least, put pass codes on your devices (I did!)  and don’t allow them screen time until the work is done.