Susan Buchholz

I really like the point you've hit upon here. It is very true and relevent. My son and I have had our ups and downs with this as well. His father was frequently infront of the tv and we would be trying to put together a puzzle or have drawing time. It was hard to even converse over it (he played it loud by our standards). My son is Apserger's and has sound sensitivity. But just having that visual stimulation in the background held my son's attention off and on so much that he'd be very lost when it came time for his turn in the game, or putting a piece down in the puzzle. I had trouble thinking and so did my son. You could just watch it.

If my husband is sitting and reading a book in our living room, it
doesn't impact me - I can still be in there and read or sew or play a
game with one of the kids or have a quiet conversation or whatever. But
when he's watching tv, then a huge big giant part of our house is sort
of "taken up" with noise and visuals and I often feel relegated to my
bedroom, to get away from it. If my husband is watching tv and somebody
is playing video games in our bedroom, then I've even been known to go
sit in the car to get away from the noise for a while.

***Frequently this has happened here. I have actually gone to my son's fort to get some quiet because the chatter and beeps and such things, have driven me out because I can't concentrate on the things I'm reading or writing about. My son has complained to me about when I play my music at times during the day and I must turn that off for his sake as well.

This is a function of the set-up of our house and we're going to take
care of that by remodeling, one of these days. But, anyway, it is a
consideration - tv watching and video game playing can impose a burden
on others who aren't watching or playing - they are visually bright and
distracting and the noise can be annoying and intrusive.

***I believe this is one of the reasons why my son and I find it better for ourselves to not use the tv so much. I also limit his video games due to the fact that he has other responsibilities that must be done. I want him to know how to cook, how to run the vacuum, how to do the clothes so when he grows up he'll be confident in that and it won't be a pain for him to figure it all out when he's busy with other things. Plus, with my son, he's told me he enjoys it because he feels like he can actually do things to take care of himself. Sometimes I am very ill (I've got some major health problems) and on those days it's scary for him not to be able to take care of things that he needs because Mom is laid up and can't do it all. By me "making" him, or rather, requiring him to do these things instead of playing video games or watching TV, he has learned to feel in control of his life when at one time he felt it was out of his control.

That's another reason we don't just have it going all the time or even for more than a half an hour a day (TV). He would rather do the video game design, and play other games or have our talks. I also think it boils down to the fact that he knows Mom is sick and he knows we are not sure what is happening and anything might happen. He wants to spend that time with me doing "us" things. He gave me his journal a few weeks ago. In it he wrote: "I am afraid Mom is going to die. I'm really scared because she's my Mom, but she's my best friend, too. Nobody plays with me or listens to me like Mom does. Not Grandma, not Aunt___, not anyone. I just want to make sure I spend time with Mom talking and laughing and even crying. If something happens to my Mom, I'll have those times to remember and keep her in my heart. Maybe it won't seem like she's gone all the way. Maybe, I really hope, it will seem like she's still there because of those times. I'm scared." He gave it to me so we could talk
about it. We talk a lot.

And, yes, I think you're right. TV/Video games is one of those things families must work out together.

It is one of those things that families have to work out. But we can't
live in our house with a default that everybody watches tv, plays video
games, and listens to music whenever they feel like it for themselves,
not thinking of other people's comfort levels.

Roxana and I are the ones who want far more quiet - we would like to
sit in the living room with the rest of our family, reading a book,
talking, playing a game, doing other things, without the tv going, far
more often than we get right now. I'd like to sit there without music
going, sometimes at least. I'm often on overload from the noise level
because I live in a family where any moment of silence (no tv, no
stereo, no video games) seems to be immediately filled by someone
singing at the top of their voice.

I'm not concerned about "too much tv" because I think it is bad for my
kids - we're way beyond that kind of thinking - they watch tv like they
read - for all kinds of reasons - fun and enjoyment, learning, to veg
out, to be stimulated - all KINDS of reasons, all perfectly valid.

But I do think it has other impacts on a household and there are things
to learn in terms of being considerate and thoughtful about it's impact
on other people and on the overall atmosphere of the home. I've been in
homes where everybody just does everything with a tv going - cartoons
blasting, a talk show going, whatever - and they just have it on and
carry on with life. I can't do that, myself. I can't keep my
concentration, it is a struggle, and my brain gets tired.

Someone who hasn't had tv for most of a child's life, and suddenly gets
it, will not have learned how to handle it and I could see why they'd
just give up and get rid of it. Even in my family where we've always
had a tv and we all watch and enjoy it, I find it is one of the more
difficult issues in terms of family dynamics. We manage - and we
definitely enjoy it a lot. But I have some sympathy with someone
bringing in tv after not having it.

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