Am I Sheltering My Children?

The discussion of “sheltering" has come up more as our kids interact in the community. We don’t have a TV, our kids don’t have phones, and Ilea and I don't spend much time on our screens either.
 
The kids don’t even know what a video game is. They see a film every now and then. Moana and The Greatest Showman are faves that we watch regularly because we appreciate their messages. 
 
My kids aren’t exposed to violence on a screen. Other parents tell me “they need to see what’s real in the world”, or similar statements. But I don’t believe that violence is all that is real, or that it should receive our attention or focus. 
 
I want my kids to be absolutely appalled at violence, rather than acclimated to it. I will play no part in desensitizing my children or normalizing violence in their lives. 
 
I have to wonder what the motivation is for parents that attempt to normalize violence in their children's lives. It seems that's a lot more about convenience for the parents, rather than the wellbeing of the child. 
 
It could be said that I am sheltering my children. Perhaps. But we all need shelter from elements that could harm us, even emotionally. 
 
There is a vast difference between sheltering and intentionality. We are intentional and disciplined about what we allow to influence our children's psyche. Their minds are being hard wired right now. I want to ensure they are hard-wired with love, rather than violence. 
 
Is that sheltering? Perhaps. What do you think? Is it sheltering or intentionality? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 
 
I’m going to be discussing this more in an upcoming podcast series on Noetic, about conscious parenting. Coming soon…www.noeticpodcast.com
 

10 Comments

  1. April Attig on May 6, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    Right on, Jared and Ilea! Glad to know there are others shaping the future with the same intentionality.

    • Jared on May 6, 2019 at 12:04 PM

      Thank you April!

  2. Scott on May 6, 2019 at 5:11 PM

    Interesting topic Jared. I’m with you on most of what you said. My daughter who is 9 has seen almost nothing with violence. We don’t have commercial tv for that reason as well. She doesn’t have a phone, tablet or anything related (she does have an iPod for music).
    Sheltered? Maybe. But with intention.

    • Jared on May 7, 2019 at 8:10 AM

      Thanks Scott.

  3. James Kairu on May 6, 2019 at 8:00 PM

    This has been a conversation in my home for a while. I studied myself and other families I interact with and it’s clear; Using screens seemed convenient for parents who do not know what to do with the children so they get them glued to a screen. Sharing TV time with kids because they have to catch up on the latest movie or series (It’s how some blow off steam from hard days) or to pass time, TV keeps the kids docile.

    That said, I think there will always be a place and time for fear/violence, we (humans) haven’t gotten rid of that part of our nature yet. Question is how much of it are you willing to be responsible for introducing to your child because they will finally meet it in the world? What values will the child have to work with when they meet ‘violence’ so they can achieve their own balance?

    • Jared on May 7, 2019 at 8:27 AM

      Thanks, James. Your question, “Question is how much of it are you willing to be responsible for introducing to your child because they will finally meet it in the world?”, is precisely what started this discussion, resulting in the blog post. My answer is “zero”. However, your last sentence above is what I’m focused on.

      We are providing our children with experiences and influence that we hope will help them to be ultra resilient to anything that comes at them that is lacking in love (violence, etc.) as they mature and grow older. I put fuel in my car because I want to be able to get from A to Z without a problem. I don’t put sand or water (violence) in my fuel tank just because that might happen someday and I want to see if it can handle it. I keep the engine tuned up so it can withstand whatever challenges it encounters.

  4. Ilya on May 7, 2019 at 5:43 AM

    I keep thinking about this all the time. My kids are now 7 and 9, and they older they get, the more peers are playing an influence. Do you keep saying no to playdates when you know they will likely be on a screen? When out to dinner with people, and the other kids are allowed to look at phones, is it totally unfair to keep telling mine no? The kids and I have a lot of discussions about these things, and why I make the choices that I do. Yet while they do understand and accept a lot, my 9 year old still is DYING to see some horror movies, and my 7 year old swears that his love is “technology.” WIll it come to a point that they rebel and just want to be on screen all the time because I refused them? These are the on-going struggles. It’s a balancing act, and I keep trying not to fall off. But one thing I know is that I have NEVER used technology as a babysitter, and they had none of it until 6/8 years. Good discussion!

    • Jared on May 7, 2019 at 9:32 AM

      Ilya, thanks so much for jumping in here! In regards to saying no to play dates, our children are homeschooled and we live in a very “conscious community” here in Ocean Beach. We’ve surrounded ourselves with other families with a common ethos. That was all intentionally designed. Consequently, we don’t have many (if any at the moment) situations where other kids in our circle are watching violent stuff. In the rare occasion that it does happen, yeah, we just say no. Just like I’d say no to someone offering my child a poisonous plant. I can’t think of any reason that poison or that violence would benefit them.

      This is a long discussion point, but ultimately, it’s important not to demonize anything or make it taboo. We know what that does. It’s about relationship. What is your relationship with violence? What do you want it to be? What do you want their relationship to be? Rather than saying, “this is off limits”, we ask them what these things do for their lives. What do they value? How does it serve them? What’s it designed to evoke in their lives? We just stay in constant dialogue about it. Never an exact science and rarely black and white. We just stay close and connected and committed to each other.

  5. Ashley Logsdon on May 7, 2019 at 7:20 AM

    Oh you know this is a soapbox for me!! I agree with you whole-heartedly. Just like us RVing the States like we do isn’t “running away” from reality, it’s running toward the intentional life we want. We don’t shelter our kids and block out anything that isn’t rainbows and unicorns, but you better believe we are intentional about where we spend our time.

    We have seen firsthand the horrifying effects of children so desensitized by media that they become puppets that repeat the same violent behavior they see on a screen. And we have made a conscious choice to be very focused on what we choose as “entertainment” in our home. If I don’t find joy in blowing up another human being in real life, why would I think this is the best use of my time to watch virtually?

    We look for things that challenge us, help us grow, and bring us joy. There is enough violence and negativity out there already – our children bring light and laughter and love, and I want to be very intentional about fostering that by providing an environment that praises the positives and isn’t a canned life of simply watching extremes played out on a screen.

    • Jared on May 7, 2019 at 9:36 AM

      Aho, sister! Your family is so great at this dance. And it’s worth pointing out (as your comments reminded me), that the idea here is not to deprive or shelter our children, it’s to be deliberate about infusing more love and positivity int heir lives. We can view it as “things they can’t have or do”, or simply “here are lots of things that will help you feel and express love, joy, wonder, and connection”. It seems those things should get the bulk of our attention, rather than what they can’t have.

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