Last week was Samantha’s first week back to school, and it went really well! She loves her new school, and seems to really enjoy going again. I just wish her first weekend off from school had started off better. Friday, she earned her first grounding. Kids playing where they shouldn’t can result in broken windows. Anyway, because of her actions, she was grounded from TV, her video games, and from going outside all weekend.
Friday night was rough because she had to deal with the ramifications, including talking to a police officer (for insurance purposes, and maybe a little scare factor). She also had a rough time with idea of not getting to play her precious Minecraft for a whole week, or playing outside (except for soccer practice that starts today). However, when Saturday morning rolled around, something surprising happened.
She played. She didn’t whine. She didn’t argue. She smiled, and laughed. All day.
Now, I am sure some people are going to think, “Well, duh! You turn the TV off, and kids are forced to be kids.” This is true, and unfortunately is not something we really figured out until we had to punish her more severely than in the past. Unfortunately also, I think this is an all too common occurrence in this country.
Violence is part of our main stream society these days. Maybe it has something to do with 24 hour new coverage, but you really can’t deny that our youth and society as a whole have become increasingly violent since video games and television were invented. I am not blaming those things for the change in our kids, mostly, but I am blaming the parents.
I noticed something this weekend. Samantha was happy and smiling. My girl is generally a sweet, loving, and energy-packed girl, but looking back, I see the difference in her with TV vs no TV. When she plays Minecraft, she rarely smiles unless she’s telling us something about it, but if she is just playing, she is slumped over, with a blank stare, and frown. The same with television. If she gets into a show, that same stare and frown is there. Sure, she will laugh at a joke, but it’s mostly a chuckle, and then it’s gone.
THAT’S not my girl. The girl we saw this weekend was her. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before, and recognize that something needed to change.
Instead of watching TV, we played games. Instead of playing Minecraft, she built stuff with art projects. Instead of arguing, we actually had an enjoyable time playing some silly LaLaLoopsy game. She even finally lost her tooth after a few months of it hanging on for dear life, and we danced and cheered. It was fun! She had our attention, and we had hers. Nobody got moody with one another, except for Lauren, but that’s because she’s a sleep denier.
Why is this such a revelation? Because it’s not the violence in video games and television that can cause the issues with today’s violent youth, but instead the fact that they were even sitting there playing or watching them at all. Our kids need to stop watching vulgarity and trash on the television, and instead send them outside to play in the sun and fresh air. Instead of letting them sit all day while killing aliens in a game, give them some paper and scissors and let their imagination run wild.
It’s all about moderation. I’m not saying all TV or games are bad, and they should be damned to hell for eternity. What I am saying is watch that show, but when it’s over, turn it off. Get up, and go do something else. We love to do arts and crafts around here, or play outside, or read a book! There is always something better than sitting on our butts all day watching mindless drivel.
It’s easier said than done, and I get that. Parents work, kids have school, and a busload of activities like sports, dance, scouts, etc. But unless we want to turn the violence around, and stop having kids killing because they are bored, we need to reinvest in our families. That time is so important. Youth is when we mold their minds and behaviors into what is acceptable, moral behavior and thinking. If they are engrossed in the latest kill on the Xbox, then their minds are molding in a way that is just unacceptable, and scary.
I know, for my family, we will be turning the TV off more often. Movie time together is great, but it can’t be a babysitter all the time. Kids need that family time, that one on one time with parents and siblings. It’s how they learn to love, and be loved. I am definitely looking forward to the love that will be filling up this house once again.