Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The rules still apply

R is a screen addict.

If we let him, he would watch shows and play on the computer several hours a day.

In fact not only does he want to watch shows but they have to be totally on his terms – he wants the remote and he wants to rewind and fast-forward to EXACTLY the segment he wants to see

I struggle with this screen addiction

On the one hand he has learned a lot from the computer – from fine motor skills to teaching himself to read and spell and math etc

At the same time this addiction takes away from "playing time". Plus I think also feeds into attention deficit and also

Most of the time I am somewhat decent about keeping screen time limited but with all the travel these past 2 weeks he has been honing in a lot to the screens

Yesterday I decided to just bite the bullet and took away the remote and turned off the computer ( thank you Julie for the inspiration to live life unplugged )

R threw a first class tantrum and also demonstrated his ability to manipulate

Angry Dervish dance ( I am mad at you )

Followed by banging his head but always mindful of his safety – banging it on a cushion ( I am in despair )

Then pushing me out of the room ( I no longer love you )

And when all else failed – sitting on the floor with tears flowing down his huge eyes ( oh poor pitiful me )

As I marveled at his ability to manipulate, I also realized that many a time being a good mother means not being the fun mother

I held R nose to nose and told him that I loved him so much I did not mind him being angry at me.

We went on to have a great evening outside on the slide and the swings.

So often it is easy to excuse our special needs kiddos bad behavior as a byproduct of their special needs

Because often its true.

The over-sensitive child can so easily be seen as the rejecting child and so on

And while we do need to make accommodations for things that are really un-helpable –In our case R's problem with eating a lot of textures( we are still pureeing veggies for him ) or his problems with sleep ( he sleeps with us still and has a late bed night )

On some other things we do not make accommodations. Like in our case throwing ill mannered tantrums – even when a lot of them arise because of the special needs.

For some kids they are really unable to manage their tantrums due to sensory challenges - – In R's case I truly believe he is testing his boundaries

Now mind you this does not eliminate the tantrums- R is no angel – but we are really single minded in giving him the message that we do not like it.

I am a proud mother of an autistic child.

But I would be mortified to be the mom of a really ill-mannered one

Special needs or not, the rules still apply





Niksmom said...

Amen! Beautifully put, K. :-)

All About the Bailey's said...

My little guy is the same way with the shows and also loves to just sit and listen to music, usually the same song over and over again, I guess he is down-loading the words. I know the feeling of being that Mother that turns off all electronics it's not a fun time.

Anonymous said...

r can be so adorably dramatic. I love how well you can translate his actions into words. You have such a stong connection with him.

The screen is a good and bad thing. Everything in moderation seems to work well for us. Once they get a touch too much, it's difficult cutting back. We cut down so much once the weather gets nice and we can spend so much time out doors. Meg

Anonymous said...

I can relate to what you write about so well. Maybe you can use screen time as a reward sometimes? First we ________ then you can watch TV/play computer. Just a thought. Turning the screens off is hard. And usually it leads to a very messy and played in house. But that's a GOOD thing! This is a tough thing. I think we will continue to struggle with this issue. Best of luck!! I'm here if you ever want to vent about it. lol! I completely understand how great it is for learning and how bad it can be, too!!

Anonymous said...

AMEN. Having special needs does not mean you have to accept lousy behavior. If we ever want our kids mixed in with the rest of the world, this is what will set them apart.

Wes uses a visual schedule at school with computer as a reward at the end of his more difficult tasks. He also has a timer for it. Have you used a timer at home? I think I should probably use the same timer for ME!

danette said...

So true :). I love how he makes his feelings known, lol. Bitty can be quite, umm, expressive too :). He doesn't care much for tv, but he loves computer time and when he gets his mind set on something it is really hard to redirect him to something else. I agree with you though, we have to pick our battles and there are some things we have to be firm about. Good for you for sticking to your guns :).

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