I’ve been at a seminar this week. A paper that we discussed had the title of “To judge or not to judge: Gavel on a table. To judge or not to judge: that is the questionthat is the question”.

If you follow Secrets of Heaven on Facebook, you may already know about our attempts to survive without screens after school. This is not something my husband and I have taken lightly. We decided that it was the best thing for our family.

I drew up a list of things I could suggest that my children do when they said they needed a screen. I wanted to make sure I didn’t weaken when I was tired or the nagging became too much.  It’s not that I mind them being bored – quite the opposite.  However, I felt I needed a fall-back position.

I’ve had some great suggestions of other things to add you the list. Thank you, everyone! I’ve also had some lovely conversations in the school playground. Lots of parents are in support of the idea, and wish us well. There are others who are relieved to hear we are doing this do that they can reassure their families that they are not alone when screens are removed.

I’ve had a couple of interesting responses. It is almost as if the responders were feeling judged by my actions.  Let me put something straight.  We are not a “perfect” family, and we are not trying to be.  My kids still have screen time before school and at the weekends.  Screens aren’t off the agenda totally.  My children don’t respond well to being given a time limit.  They won’t nicely stop in the middle of a game and start playing with their toys.  One of them in particular will yell and scream and will beg (and I do mean beg) to have the computer back.  By giving them this restriction I am avoiding a battle.

They have been playing in the garden more: creative, make-believe games.  They have seen the wonder Children eating tea at the top of the climbing frame. To judge or not to judge: that is the questionof nature in the animals and birds that visit us.  They have been amazed that we have runner beans growing on our plants, particularly after we thought they had all been devoured by rabbits.  (That’s another story.)  Toys that haven’t been touched in a while have come out to be played with.  They have taken to eating their tea at the top of the climbing frame.

So, I am not judging anyone about their parenting choices.  This is something that we have decided we need to do for our family.  It is not meant to be a slight on anyone else.

We make judgements all day, every day.  We judge whether or not it is safe to cross the road.  We have to decide if a plate is too hot to pick up.  We consider the weather before hanging out the washing.  We make decisions all of the time based on what we see others doing.  We judge as to whether we would behave in the same way.  Will we bring our children up in the way we were brought up?Woman in a denim jacket touching a large screen. To judge or not to judge: that is the question

We form opinions on what we see.  Just because we have decided that our children will not have screens after school for the time being does not mean we are critical if yours do.  Yes, we have had to make a judgement.  Just because it is right for us does not mean we think you are wrong.

Well, we are in good company.  Kirsty Allsopp is also receiving some flack for her parenting decisions.

If you have any ideas or encouragement for us, I’d love to hear about it.

 

13 comments

  1. Interesting read. We decided to do the same last year when coming home from pre-school. This was not a decision base on a screen-ideology, but a simple observation that our children did not relax, wind-down or re-energise (in fact quite the opposite) when they hit the screens straight after nursery. I have not had any negative comments, but I have not really shared it as a novelty or big decision for us
    I know the feeling of making a decision which others feel judged by, and I also know of feeling judged by others’ decisions about family life. Why is that? Is it essentially so important to us as a species to belong to the group/norm that anything that potential puts us outside the group is a threat? And is this particularly related to parenting or exasorbated when related to getting our young ones accepted by the group/tribe? (Any developmental psychologists out there?!?!). Well done for make a good decision for your family and your children – although they might not always see it that way. And thank you for sharing it as well. I do believe we only make each other stronger and wiser by sharing life decisions with each other – maybe especially when we feel struck (or judged) by them. So cherish the slightly negative reactions as well, they might come from people your sharing will impact the most.

    1. Thanks, Anna. We also found that our children were more wound up by screens than wound down. Really interesting observation – “anything that potentially puts us outside the group is a threat”. I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it makes a lot of sense.

  2. I don’t think anyone should judge others for their choices, we are all different and take life on in a different way. As long as it isn’t harmful or illegal – then let people try things their own way.

  3. Our boys are still quite young at 5 and 3, my eldest has not yet been interested at all in an iPad or games. He’s a real outdoor/creative sort of boy and I love that about him. I tend to think things in moderation are fine. But it’s really each to their own isn’t it. 🙂

  4. I think people are way to judgemental nowadays. I’m trying to reduce screen time as I think it can get a bit much sometimes and means some things the kids are supposed to do don’t get done which doesn’t work for me.

  5. I sometimes judge myself for choices i make but i think that is easy to do in parenting- i too have found my son gets wound up unless he is listening to lullaby’s but they have also helped him learning new things too. Never judge we dont know anyones story

  6. It’s an interesting idea, and I wouldn’t think of judging you for your decision. But if they are at school, be prepared for them to need some screen time for homework fairly soon!

  7. I think it is natural for people to have an opinion but there is a fine line between having an opinion and judging someone. You should always do what is right for you

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