by Nancy Thomas
It really is a big deal! These children often have damaged and delayed development of the brain, due to early trauma, such as abuse, separation from the mother, not having their needs meet, and being left to cry for long periods, day after day. It is essential that they have the pieces in place necessary to give the brain optimum opportunity to heal.
• Time spent on these activities prevents the brain from healing
• Interrupts the normal thinking patterns
• Time spent out of reality
• Subtracts from time child spends doing healing activities
• Reinforces twisted thinking and behavior
• Eliminates relationship building activities
• Conditions viewer to tolerate more violence and more sexual behavior
• Increases expenses
• Deteriorates self-esteem
The seven to ten second scene changes that most movies and TV programs have, disrupt normal thinking patterns. In some programs, such as the Pokemon movie for children, the changes are actually at four-second intervals. For the brain to heal, the child must spend time thinking, feeling, touching, building, creating, designing, etc. Being in a “ozone state” completely out of touch with reality, for one hour is one less hour that the brain is moving forward in its progress.
The programs and games, themselves, have highly destructive elements to moral character building. These children who know right from wrong often and intentionally choose wrong repeatedly. The theme of many TV shows and movies conditions viewers to tolerate higher levels of violence, sexual behavior and disrespect. Even the commercials often depict parents as ignorant and the child having to tell them what the proper kind of breakfast food should be.
Children with emotional problems that have trust issues with adults often see the adults as inept, powerless and clueless; reinforcing these concepts is counterproductive.
The fourteen hours a day that we are given to help each child, must not be squandered. I see each minute, as a priceless opportunity. To waste them on destructive activities is unconscionable. The brain requires eye contact with a loving caregiver. The aforementioned destructive activities eliminate this. The brain and nervous system in order to heal must have touch. Loving touch and interactive play activity are not a part of watching TV or movies. The “zoning out” in front of the tube eliminates movement, smiles, and normal relationship activities. Some parents feel the TV is an inexpensive babysitter or a distraction to “keep the kid busy” so the parent can work or rest. I believe the time a child spends sitting and staring at the screen is incredibly expensive in the long run. Costs need to be observed in several areas. The cost to the parents is in the form of more therapy needed. While the cost to the child is in the form of more of their childhood lost, whereas, the cost to society is yet another member with delays in work ethic, relationship skills and/or moral character.
When I begin the therapeutic parenting program with a child I plan on not having the child watch TV, movies, play computer or video games for one solid year. I prefer toys that increase creativity, problem solving, cause and effect thinking, tactile stimulation, and focus. My favorite is a bucket of Legos. They make big ones for little hands all the way up to motorized for teens. Incredible creations the children build can be used as a centerpiece on your table at meals. To build self-esteem, I also like to have the child hold their creation while I photograph them. The act of photographing the child’s project in itself says “what you did is important.” The follow up of showing the photos to friends and relatives and putting them on your refrigerator further builds the child’s belief in their abilities and value. Action video and computer games are very helpful for a child planning a military career, the increase in the trigger finger speed can be helpful in a real life battle situation.
It’s been over twenty years since we eliminated television from our home life. I find our children reading more, talking more and interacting more. Why not unplug the tube and plug into your child’s life!