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Fat & Obsessed With Technology – How Could I Find a Way to Get My Child’s Weight in Check?
My 11 year old son, John, since he was tiny has followed in the footsteps of his dad and adored TV and his games consoles, he has an Xbox, a DS and a PlayStation – he was a gripped by technology. This was OK. At first I didn’t mind his passion for gaming and TV and we do live in an age where this technology is prevalent but it did start to become everything that was important in his life – he didn’t want to do anything other than sit and game. I love my son and I thought that allowing him to have his own way, letting him do exactly, everything he wanted was showing him how much I love him. How wrong can one be…
Recently I really started to regret giving into John and letting him have the consoles in the first instance and then letting play so much on them when he got them – I always remember hearing Sharon Osbourne’s kids saying “Why didn’t you ever say NO to us? Why did you let us have and do everything we want?” Those kids were questioning their parent’s methods of discipline; to me this says it all. I had realised that I had done much the same as Sharon Osbourne (but on a budget). Kids need discipline and routine and I had been an irresponsible parent and let John have and do what he wanted. In the last year he hasn’t wanted to do much other than play with this technology. But it wasn’t his fault – we learn from our parents don’t we. It was definitely all my doing.
For me guilt didn’t help, I felt guilty for having to go to work and for not being there to drop him off to school and pick him up. I think a lot of mums experience these emotions. And do you know I think my son knew it, he isn’t a vindictive or nasty child but like all children he would play on my emotions and try to use this to his advantage especially when it came to getting his way and doing what he wanted to do.
As a result of technology – consoles, internet and TV and with me letting him become this way he was obsessed, gripped, by gadgets and he had become 3 stone overweight. I was so devastated, how could I let this happen. I was messing up my son’s future and health by giving in to his wants. At first I didn’t know how to put it right but I realised that I had to discover a way.
I tried everything and with some tough love things did start to get a little better but the entire house was miserable for weeks. John kept to my new house rules and we would spend more time together doing school work and what a chore he made it – he had a long face and constantly moaned. He did also only spend an hour a day on the consoles and did watch less TV. Instead we got out board games but all I ever heard was “I am fed up”. I felt like I was trying to wean him off a drug. We would go swimming once a week and walks at a weekend which we enjoyed but that really wasn’t enough exercise and it was still apparent that when we were at home we were doing way too much sitting down. I realised that I wasn’t getting it quite right. How could I stimulate and inspire him? How could I motivate & encourage him and reawaken his enthusiasm for other activities? How could I get him moving around at home instead of slouching around the house?
I got onto the internet and I searched long and hard. I puzzled over it for hours, the PC screen began to blur and my eyes ached. I really started to detest technology; it made me feel lethargic and drained. I began to reminisce about my little boy that loved digging in the garden, playing with his cars. Zooming in and out the house he was full of life and energy, his eagerness was such a contrast to now. I walked over to the games console and picked up the wireless control – what could I get that was similar to this that didn’t mean he was sat in front of a screen, what could I get that would get him of his chair and get him jumping around full of life? Then it dawned on me…
I had remembered from when I was a child studying an older boy from down the road with his radio controlled helicopter. It had a wireless handset similar to that of the games consoles – I expect you could argue that radio controlled helicopters were a form of technology but it was a technology without a screen or a monitor and a technology you had to get of your backside to use. I couldn’t help but think that this could be the solution. So I got back in front of the technology (my PC) and got searching.
There were so many radio controlled toys to choose from – Helicopter toys, radio controlled boats, radio controlled tanks, radio controlled trucks and diggers and aircraft. John loved toy Cars when he was small so I decided on an electric radio controlled tank. When it arrived I handed it, instantly, to him. He looked at me, smiled, put his games console handset down, got the tank out of the packaging, read the instructions, charged the battery and took it outside immediately. I didn’t see him for hours.
Since then I have few concerns with John now; he is losing weight slowly and really does get more fresh air and exercise. He plays with is tank inside and out, he is up and down, tweaking it and fixing it if it breaks, he takes it up to the park and over the wood. I am pleased he likes his tank so much and he is positively more active because of it – he still plays on his consoles and watches television but not nearly so much.
I shouted him the other day, he was upstairs fixing his tank “Manchester United are on TV” I had no response so a little later I yelped “I have Googled where we are going on holiday this year come see” he shouted back “sorry mum, would like to but I haven’t got time waste looking at stuff on the internet. I really want to get this done! I want to take it over to the park coz Carl got an r/c tank for his birthday and we want to battle”. He made me smile! Can Miracles really happen?
I had a go with John’s tank and it is an amazing feeling to command the movements, moving it left or right, or spinning it around – it is quite fast! I had a race against Carl and it is awesome and great fun! Radio control is excellent fun for kids and adults alike. We embrace technology in our house now, we need it – well I don’t know what I would do without the net, but none of us are obsessed by it anymore. I believe we have certainly found a balance thanks to radio controlled toys.
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