My son has a label and he also gets that look from some moms when they find out how many hours he spends in front of a device….. What’s funny is that they don’t also know how much time he spends running through the house. Given a fitbit (or other recording device), I’m fairly certain that my son would put any of them to shame – yet we were sitting in a meeting a couple weeks ago and got to hear a research project that is going on with our kids that involves setting goals for activities and then withholding electronics from them if they don’t meet those goals.
There was no chance to pull her aside first and explain that my son would take everything she said and put his own interpretation on it. Believe me, I’ve been there. I once told my son he couldn’t play a game until he went to preschool (the one he had taken a dislike to on the third day for a reason I couldn’t identify) – Let’s just say that game never got played again, ever. My little one will do things in his best interest, but reasoning with him goes much further than do this or no that. Additionally when asked how many hours he spends on a device, there was no taking into account that half that time he is galloping around in circles through the house while I hope he doesn’t bump his toe again and have a melt down.
For those that haven’t guessed, my youngest has an ASD diagnosis. It doesn’t change him, he’s still the same wonderful, friendly boy that he has always been. He just has his own quirky way of looking at the world that is different from the way we interpret them. He also tries very hard to assimilate into the world around him. He listens to his friends jokes and tries to repeat them to us, he looks at their favorite clothes trends and tries to follow if they fit with something he’s willing to wear, and he tries sports too (soccer and golf are his favorites).
So where to draw the line for too much time on the television, games, and watching videos? We also do a lot of activities after school – where do you draw the line on that too? Isn’t it nice to just sit and pretend to be a vegetable for a few minutes (though I don’t really see my son do that for long) He draws a lot from video, games, and tv. They are great talking points for him. He is extremely talkative and will tell any adult all about his latest favorite, picking up parts of the show or game that we had no clue even happened (and he remembers every detail).
And the big question, how do you handle other mom’s criticism, especially when they may only know half the story? It’s not really required to explain about my son, his diagnosis, all the hours he spends running in circles…. How do you get past feeling that you have to justify parenting decisions?