Mineral Tuesday: Media

One thing that Mineral really really cares about it media. By “media,” I mean anything that gets plugged in to an electrical outlet or uses batteries and has a screen.

As you may have guessed, I am not a media-free mom. I watch TV. I watch Netflix. I am on the computer and my phone more than I think I **should** be. I’m fine with my kids watching TV or playing on the computer — after they finish whatever we’re doing for the day. (It always includes chores, and usually some form of learning, although yesterday was watching half of “Food, Inc” so they could learn about where our food comes from.)

Meanwhile, Mineral starts asking about media from the moment he wakes up. “Can I have media, mom? Can I play on your phone? Can I watch TV?”

Every single day is the same. Same rule. Every day. And yet, every day he asks. I wonder, is this a normal kid thing, or is it just him and his issues?

Typically, I let the kids have media in the afternoon — when My Masterpiece takes a nap, or when Cousin It and My Masterpiece take a nap. Once in a great while we have a completely media-free day, in which the kids bounce around like crazed animals and do a lot of drawing and reading and building with Legos and watching the fish tank.

Yesterday Mineral had a massive outburst. It seemed to go on forever. I haven’t seen an outburst like that in a while, and it really freaked me out. I try very hard never to show how his outbursts upset me, but inside I’m alternating between being angry at him and feeling sorry for him. I’m also worrying about the effects of his outburst on the other kids.

I’m also thinking, Is media so bad? All of the consensual living and radical unschoolers would say it’s totally fine for him to have media 24/7, that he will SELF-REGULATE over time. But they don’t know my kid. I know my kid. The self-regulating would probably take a decade and a half.

I actually took out my phone to video him for his therapist and his psychiatrist, but he pulled himself together when he realized what I was doing. He said he would be embarrassed for them to see him that way. I said that if they could SEE what happens when he has an outburst — which usually don’t occur when we’re at a doctor’s office — perhaps they could help him more. But it didn’t matter — there is no debating with Mineral. There is no reasoning. There is no logic. There is simply him, and his compulsive thoughts about what he perceives is happening in the world.

It’s usually not happening in the world.

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