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Freya Dawson, © 2019
It's a topic that comes up often in home educating support groups. There seem to be a lot of people stressing about it and struggling with their children over it.
If you are feeling stressed about how much your children love to use screens and play video games I've got something to share with you that might help.
I've been raising and unschooling two spirited, video game and screen-loving boys for 18 and 14 years now.
I faced a big challenge when my eldest son decided at age 6 that he was passionate about video games. I was freaked out. I had no experience with this world. I was in uncharted waters. My first reaction was to try and control how much he played and what he played. His response was to want to play more and more. A struggle was building.
I could see that I'd come to a fork in the road.
On one side I could see the path of trying to control his gaming. The stress I felt around this was HUGE. I knew how passionate he was about these games and how determined he was. I knew it was going to be a big ongoing battle with no end in sight.
I knew in my heart that I didn't want to go down that path.
The other path was very different. This path led INWARDS. I didn't know what I was going to find down there.
The focus of this path wasn't on what my children were watching or playing or for how long. Instead, I focused on what was going on inside ME.
This was the path that I chose.
I uncovered all the beliefs I had about screen time and gaming and how and when children learn.
I wanted to have a really close look at them.
I wanted to open my mind to new perspectives.
I read articles about the benefits video gaming (there were only a few of those around back then).
I read what other experienced unschoolers had to say about gaming and this helped a lot.
But I also wanted to find my own truth.
I didn't want to take advice.
I wanted to work out my own way through this issue.
The most useful thing I came across to help me discover my own deepest truth was a series of questions to ask myself.
It's called "The Work" and it has been taught for many years by a woman called Byron Katie.
It's a simple and profound type of meditation.
You take an issue that is bothering you and ask yourself as series of questions about that thought.
So, for example, I chose to examine the thought I had that; "I should stop my son from playing so many violent games."
There were a LOT of other thoughts around this topic too. You can probably think of some.
I used the questions of The Work to question them all.
I won't go into detail on what I discovered here. It was a deep and personal self-inquiry. But I can tell you that it completely changed my perspective on the issue. I found a huge relief from my stress and the struggle over gaming stopped.
I found this practice so powerful I've been sharing it with anyone who will listen ever since.
I find it much easier to talk about how I question my thinking than to write about it.
I'm calling it "Finding Peace with Screens and Gaming".
You can learn how to use the questions of The Work for yourself and you can ask me anything you like about my journey with screens and gaming.
At the end of the workshop I'll be talking about how this practice fits in with the other modules I'll be teaching in my Joyful Parenting Online Course that starts in 2 weeks. But I assure you, there will be no pressure to buy or to sign up for anything at all.
I really want you to know that finding peace around screens and gaming is possible!!
If you would like to join the workshop please send me a personal message. I will need to send you a link to join the workshop via Messenger.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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