I had a conversation with my boys today that I really hope they heard. I sat them both down and said "I'm going to tell you the truth". Midway through the monologue I asked if they were receiving what I was saying because I needed to know they were hearing me. No one enjoys a monologue from mom for long. The reason for such a conversation was a fight between the two that made me jump and run and so, we had the fight or flight conversations. It's one that we as parents should be having with each other and our kids on the regular.
The fact is, all the bright flashing lights on our phones causes a rush. It is literally stimulating a flight-or-fight response. Only they just sit there on their phones or in front of a screen with no release. This adrenaline just builds until something sets them off. Maybe it's a loud noise in the corner, a word from another person, or just shutting off the frame itself. There will be a release
Today, was their first day back to school and we all know how stressful that can be for kids and they wanted to spend some time on their phones playing the every famous Fort Nite. Fine. They deserve some down time right? Only problem is, they've sat in a desk all day at school, stressed, trying to figure out what their future holds and they come home to flashing images on a screen that they are trying to control.
The end result was a bit of screaming, name calling, a smack, and momma bear rage. After I took their phones and cooled myself down, I called them up for the talk. The talk about why this happened and what they can do about it in the future to avoid it. Scream time isn't all bad, it is a nice break from reality, and we we are all guilty of it.
What they did instead?
After I explained very calmly and carefully about what just happened. I started making suggestions to do after outside school instead of grabbing their phones...
I could go on and on. I said, grab a snack and a bottle of water and make your body move. It hasn't moved all day and it's dying to move. I don't even like homework after school.. We decided that it's fair that after they have done these things, after dinner, after homework/reading time, they could have some time on their phones.
What did they do? They took the dog and the baby brother and sister for a walk. They came back and one started building a table, the other sat and listens to the thunder rolling in then decided to play with the littles.
Just in recent days myself I have deleted the facebook app. Anything I need to do, I can do from my computer. I should be reading for personal growth, writing for my blog and book, and focusing extra energy on what I can do to help get our house built. I can catch up with family and friends for a few minutes and then be done. I'm at that place in my life where I don't need facebook like I used to. That's probably a whole other blog post. But seriously, I need to be setting the example here.
If you'd like more information about how nature is healing in more ways than this example, check out my current favorite child development book Balanced and Barefoot. The author touches over and over again why they fight or flight response from technology is so detrimental. We need to pay attention.