You know one of those studies that doesn't require formulas, theories, or a college degree?
It merely requires OBSERVATION.
Yes, that kind.
Those of you who've been friends of Beyond Sunday Mornings for a while might remember this post. I wrote it almost a year ago, and here I am writing about these same little devices again.
Yes, this is one of those posts my girls are going to kill me for someday, but I am willing to risk their irritation to help my friends out a little.
Let's just say our New Year's Day started off less than desirable for them.
I'll leave out all the weeping and gnashing of teeth and cut straight to the chase, I took away their iPods as punishment for their behavior on New Year's Day and kept them for a week.
They were devastated and were certain they would never survive for a whole 7 days without their electronic best friends. But, being the wise mother that I am, I knew they would survive, and probably be better for it!
And not only were they better for it, we were ALL better for it!
How did it affect all of us?
There was a by product that I was not expecting our home to experience when I took their devices away.
For weeks leading up to this, I had been bringing their speech and tone to their attention to no avail. Over the first couple of device free days, I noticed that the tone of voice in our house had improved dramatically.
Cleaned up mouths! And that wasn't even the reason I grounded them from their iPods - BONUS FOR MOM!
I'm not going to sit here and paint some perfect family picture and make you think our home is always calm, cool, and collected. I want to be very clear - It. Is. Not.
And it was worse when they had their iPods.
As the days passed, and as I enjoyed the softer edge to their tongues, I dwelt on why this would so quickly affect their temperament. I don't allow them to play any violent games, and everything on their devices is pretty harmless, so it wasn't a direct result of negative input per se, but then a light bulb went off.
I tend to be short with them and with others when I am constantly being interrupted.
When they had their iPods, they were constantly being interrupted by stuff and were staying irritated as a result. They were interrupted by me, by each other, by Dad, by their chores, by our expectations, by the necessity of a SHOWER, etc, and it made them edgy.
Isn't that how we all react when we are interrupted?
I get edgy. I get short. My tone becomes very sharp.
I'm an adult. They are not.
They are not equipped to see the impact things like this have on them, but as a mom, I am. The iPods were a source of unnecessary stress for them and they could not see that.
So.....with that said - Moms, don't be afraid. Do them a favor - ground them from their iPods! Yes, it's punishment, but at the same time it offers them much relief that they don't even know they need. It is so nice to see them play and interract as kids fully engaged with others instead of staring into a screen in solitude. Give them the break they need! They aren't wise enough yet to take the break themselves.
Help them unplug by unplugging them.
I am tossing some ideas around in my head to help prevent this in the future, and if my ideas make a difference, I'll let you know.
I know this may sound mean, but please understand my heart. I love my kids so much.
So much that I am willing to enforce something they may not understand in order to make them better and stronger people.
That's how I can love them like God loves me.
What kinds of tough love do you use in your home? Do you have boundaries for electronic devices, etc?
Father, I thank you for the gift of my children. You have forever taught me and changed me through them. I need your wisdom and input as I try to mold them into women that follow after You. Sharpen my senses to things that may distract them from giving their whole hearts to You and give me your strength to stand firm on the things You show me, even if it isn't popular. Their eternal heart change must be more important to me than their temporary comfort and entertainment.