Life-Giving Year: Step #1

Life-Giving Year Step 1

One of the biggest issues that we have had as a family is screen addiction.  We are all on our screens all day.  It keeps us from doing so many things that we could do if we just opened our eyes and saw life for what it is.

This past week, I created a new Facebook page with just the people that are supportive of me and truly care.  That means that I have gone from 1000 friends (on my old page) to 75 friends (on my new one).  It has been so freeing for several reasons.  The main one being that I know I can just be me.  I am loved and encouraged by the friends that I have on FB now.  I also don’t spend near as much time on FB as I used to because I don’t have much to scroll through.  The posts don’t change much from one minute to the next with just 78 friends.  I am in a couple of groups, but I don’t follow them.  They are there as an outlet for me.  But I don’t need to always been part of everyone else’s outlet (if that makes sense).

I have also been clearing out my Instagram followers, the people that I follow on Instagram, and also my blog followers.  Again, it’s pretty freeing.

I know I have shared this already, but I wanted to include this in this post because it applies.

My goal is to put my phone away a lot of the day.  I need to make a huge effort to focus on more important things.

Now… for the kids.

Robert and I made a hard decision last night to truly transform our family life.

We took away the kids’ devices.  We now have one “family phone.”  This one is a phone with service and will be used as needed.  It will be put away when we don’t need it.  We also took Levi’s “phone” (it doesn’t have service… it’s basically just for games), Levi’s kindle will be put away, and Karis’ phone actually broke a while back and we aren’t replacing it.  We are going to cancel her phone line.  They can watch TV/play the Wii when we say they can.  They will not be allowed to use screens before school.  The main uses for the devices will be if they earn some screen time, if they are playing Minecraft or the Wii with friends, or when Robert and I go to town without them.  Other than that, they will mostly be put away.  It’s going to be a huge adjustment for all of us.

When we told the kids last night, they were pretty upset.  Well, mainly Levi and Karis.  And Karis had the biggest reaction.  She feels like we’re taking away her freedom as a teenager.  She cried a bunch, stayed in her room for a while, and told me “I’m 13, not 10!”  She was planning on staying in her room and crying all evening, but after some coaxing, she decided to come out and play a game with the fam.  We told her that her reaction told us that we made the right decision.

Gosh, parenting is hard.

I realized yesterday that I have been allowing things that aren’t beneficial to them.  Like all of the electronic time, not forcing them outside much, not expecting respect from them, etc.  They are going to have more consequences.  For example, Ethan has a bad habit of stealing from us… batteries, tape, etc.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal… but we haven’t been consistent with consequences for it.  So yesterday I found out that he has used up all of my tape.  I had a bunch, and he used it ALL.  He was immediately grounded from things that are important to him.  And I think it’s going to be a while till he gets them back.  I have been too easy on him because he’s very sensitive and is pretty manipulative.  The first thing he said when I got mad at him was “I’m just stupid!”  I cut that down fast.  That’s manipulative and I have been allowing it!  Ugh.  My eyes have been opened!  Robert has been trying to tell me, but I have such a fear of him self harming in some way because of my history with my brother.  He was a cutter, he took too many pills many times, and he ended his life.  So I’m so fearful.  But I realized that allowing him to get away with things out of my stupid fear isn’t helpful to him long-term. So here we are.

Ethan hasn’t been riding his bike, which has had us puzzled.  He used to ride every single day, sometimes all day.  He has ridden it just a few times the past few months.

Levi sits on his kindle or my iPad all day.  So does Karis.  It’s so bad.

I have decided that it’s okay if they are bored. It will give them time to be more creative and more active.  I have a huge list of fun things to do that don’t include electronic time.  Plus, they have lots of great ideas… they just don’t follow through because of electronics.

Anyway… I’m feeling terrible today so I’m gonna go rest.

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