Andriana's "need" of YouTube

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Andriana's "need" of YouTube

Post by mar »

Hi everyone, I'm writing here about our concern for our daughter Andriana about her development and her tablet and YouTube "need".

Straight to the point: she feels alone.

She really needs children and friends to play with and when she has, it seems everything is all right.

But when we come back home she instantly comes to us (me or Elena) for further attention and play.... We try to "feed" her need to play and attention but inevitably we get tired soon, and when she perceives it, she "gets back to basics".... Like mimicking to be a cat or a dog or a little child who needs more and more attention.... And this just accelerates our" tiredness" of this interaction.

When Andriana sees that her need of attention is no more satisfied she takes the tablet and watches always the same cartoons, or YouTube channels for kids. She stays there for literally hours.... Till late in the night.... She literally doesn't stop till we don't say her to stop..... And usually isn't easy to remove her from it...

Sometimes she stops by herself and she has headache and is visibly nervous.... Throws tantrums for anything and cries.... And she doesn't sleep well.

When she doesn't play tablet she essentially "creates things"... Like painting or working with scissors and papers (quite seldom and usually with Elena...) but more often she" does gym" or plays with her dolls.... Which is essentially what was doing from she was 5.... And now is 10.... And still so many times comes to us trying to have our attention on what she does.

We have tried to show her some books and reading with her or other activities.... But she essentially takes it like an occasion to "play with a friend of her" and she doesn't focus on the activity.... She doesn't even wants to read by herself because it's too demanding....

What I want to say is that she is really not interested in anything at all that would demand her focus/concentration/passion/being.... She just "loses her time" entertaining herself waiting for the moment she will get some attention by someone else.

This quite concerns us also because she is doing homeschooling and it's almost impossible to get her in anything...

We are just letting her do what her wants by many months (from about March, when she left the school) hoping that she would let spontaneously show some sign of interest for anything, but what we have seen till now is that she has a desperate need of playing with other kids and attention and that when this isn't possible, she just closes herself in the tablet.... Watching just cartoons or kiddy channels.... Or she plays with dolls.... Like wearing and un wearing them or combing their hairs....

The point is that winter is coming and we live in a little flat in Milan which is almost a nightmare for a child.... Furthermore we almost have to "hide her" for some weeks every month because of not showing too much she is doing homeschooling dued to Italian laws (the point is complex here but simply Andriana should results that is frequenting school in Ucraine for some weeks per month)......

All this to say that her staying with other children in the year to come will be quite complicated.... And she needs to find some self interest to entertain and grow with herself..... Because the alternative seems to be much and much being absorbed by the tablet....

I come home everyday quite late and Elena seems she can't keep up with her continuous attention demand and nor can stand this situation of Andriana continuously watching the tablet for the whole day .... Totally absorbed and nervous....

Please give us some suggestions.

Thank you
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Re: Andriana's "need" of YouTube

Post by Leila »

Hey Marco, will write a response tonight.
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Re: Andriana's "need" of YouTube

Post by Anna »

Hi Marco.

There are many points to address here, I'll address this one first:

If A is homeschooling (or even a kind of unschooling it sounds like? Because it doesn't sound like you have 'school hours' in a traditional sense, but that it is more self-directed learning?) there is quite a period of 'deschooling' needed. Generally it is estimated that the child will need one month of deschooling for every year they've gone to school and for some, that will most likely be even longer. This period is a period where they are essentially 'finding' themselves again and it often looks like the child is doing 'nothing' to the parent, because why? The parents too need to deschool themselves! From expectations and ideas about what learning 'should' look like and entail. The YouTube experience may in fact be very important to her, for whatever reason. It may also something she does simply because it gives her comfort in a new situation she might be uncomfortable in. It is something you can only see and observe by deconstructing your own judgments, fears and expectations towards learning - and so help her with accordingly. It may be so that she's so used to being in an environment where things are already laid out for you, that she's simply not used to or comfortable with directing things on her own. That is then your point to work with supporting her with how to do. So you have to stand as an example, both of the education you're looking to promote (in this case self-directed) and of the process of letting go of school. You can for example do that by having hobbies of your own, and every evening, instead of watching TV or whatever you normally do, you sit down at the kitchen table and work on your hobby. This way she gets to see an example of what it means to direct one's own learning. And obviously this can only work if you do it unconditionally and for real. Meaning that if it is all for show to 'teach her a lesson' there's a chance she'll pick up on that and resist it instead.

I would also suggest to perhaps sit down with your wife/girlfriend and make it more clear to yourselves why and how it is you want to homeschool if you haven't - so that it is something that you are actively directing based on the principles of desired outcome you have agreed upon.
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Re: Andriana's "need" of YouTube

Post by Leila »

Hey Marco,
I don’t really have an answer for you – as with these type of situations there’s so many variables to consider, and since it’s impossible for me to establish exactly all the multi-dimensions of your reality and what may or may not be the cause / contributing factors to Andriana’s behaviour – I can only provide you with points to ponder, points to check from which you can draw your own conclusions. You and Elena know Andriana best, and it will be up to all three of you together to ‘put all the pieces together’ and find ways of directing the situation.

Like Anna mentioned, she may simply be transitioning from one phase into another. From going to school where everything you do is dictated from outside of yourself to being at home and being able to do 'whatever you want' type of thing, where there may be overindulgence in ‘doing all the things I wasn’t able to do before’ and yet having to find a balance.

It may also be that while she is with friends/other children – that she looks alright because in participation with others, there’s the possibility that she’s distracted from things going on inside herself / points she is processing. So just because things look ‘okay’ in that they don’t cause you to react into any particular point, doesn’t mean that everything is actually okay. Not saying that this is the case, but this can be a point to look at / take into consideration. Often when we become irritable or go into some kind of mood – whatever brought up that experience, was already running in the background before, and so her particular state at ‘home’/’away from kids’ doesn’t have to pertain to only that space where she displays that particular behaviour. Think of having a busy day where you don’t have time to think about anything because you are sooo busy – but then when you get home suddenly all these experiences come to the surface and you feel awful. This doesn’t mean that those experiences are ‘new’, but simply that in being busy and distracted, you didn’t notice they were actually already there.

In terms of her playing or doing things ‘since she was 5’ – if I look at myself, I played with Barbie dolls and other ‘childish things’ till I was like 12 or something and I probably would have done it longer if I didn’t fear other people’s judgments so much. So here, I wouldn’t necessarily look at ‘what’ she plays with and how that fits into say, the mainstream idea of what play is ‘age appropriate’ – but rather look at who she is within it. Is she nervous? Anxious? Does she seem directionless? Or is she simply having fun?

In terms of showing her books and other activities and her not being interested – here you also have to look at: who am I in showing her? In today’s world, we have placed so much emphasis on having to learn, having top grades, being ‘the best’ – in fear that we/our children won’t be able to compete ‘with the rest of the workforce’ for a good living. We fear that they’ll ‘fall behind’ and ‘miss out’ and have a horrible future. We then present our children with material such as reading or other activities, where the movement behind it is fear (but this fear can be dressed up / interpreted by yourself/the mind as ‘this is good for you!!!’ because we manipulate ourselves in believing that a negative fear experience is actually good and in our best interest). So here I would check my starting point. Am I showing her books/materials/activities because I judge what she does otherwise as ‘not good enough’ and ‘lacking educational content’, because I fear that she is going to ‘mess up’ in this world? When we approach our children in this way, they can feel and sense the fear, the judgment – and they are naturally inclined to resist and be repelled by this type of behaviour because they KNOW it’s not their fear, their judgment – it’s yours! But if we keep repeating this behaviour, then they will start to believe that the fear, the judgment is a reality. They will believe they are inadequate, not good enough, not smart enough and only do the proposed activities to alleviate themselves from these self-beliefs for a moment, which actually only integrated and penetrates them deeper. Looking from the outside, you'll then be happy that she is 'doing all the right things' - but on the inside, she'll be miserable and broken - which is bound to create dysfunction later in her life in one way or another.

Another aspect to look at can be – am I just giving her materials/books/activities because I want her to be more independent? Because I am so occupied with other things that I actually rather give her things that she can do ‘by herself’ – because then I can feel comforted in having my own time and space, and I can be comforted in knowing that ‘she can be independent, and being independent is a critical survival skill in this world! (= FEAR!!)’
I’ve been there, wanting my son to ‘just be on his own already’ so I can get on with things and be comforted in the knowledge that ‘he’s all normal!’. I’d spend time with him, but I wouldn’t be HERE with him, genuinely expressing me – genuinely being HERE – genuinely having FUN. Because sure, I am playing with him, I am spending time with him – I am giving him attention right? Nope. Because the whole time I’m just wondering ‘when is this going to be over already’, ‘when can I get to my own thing’ – and even if I spend hours with him, he’s still not satisfied because our time together is not SUBSTANTIAL, it’s not SUBSTANTIATED by my presence, in truly being here with him. While my body is with him, in my mind I’m with all the other things ‘I could be doing’. Quality vs Quantity.

So here you have to ask yourself, to what extend am I approaching/offering/suggesting materials/books/activities because I want to honestly/genuinely explore different things with her, which she may or may not take interest in – because she finds value in them, and because it assists and supports her in developing and growing her own expression?

Where you explore and discover together, for the sake of exploring and discovery. Not because “she needs to read more because she needs to get educated in this world” or “because she needs to be able to be alone and not bother us” or … the negatives can go on. Identifying these points can be tricky, because we’ve so conditioned ourselves in believing that these are the ‘right’ and ‘logical’ things to do – and because they ‘sound logical’ we won’t move ourselves to actually investigate the fears and judgments that boil underneath them.

So here you can also investigate and evaluate all the things you’ve labelled as ‘educational’ and all the things you’ve labelled as ‘entertainment’ – where they can only be one or the other. Have a look at all the things you’ve ever done ‘for fun’ and what you actually learned in the process of doing them, even when ‘learning’ in itself wasn’t the purpose or starting point. Learning happens everywhere, all the time. Just because they don't contain books or exercise sheets – doesn’t mean that learning is not taking place or that it is not valuable.

Sometimes Cesar will want to binge watch things and I’ve found that when he is busy processing particular points or experiences, that he used watching movies or cartoons to go into a sort of ‘hibernation’ where he is more introverted and uses this as a ‘time off’ to process things.

I will also watch things with him on YouTube, from which we source to then play or make things with his toys. In that sense, YouTube, tablets, screen-time – they are not ‘bad things’ in and of themselves. They are merely tools – but how we use them/wield them will determine the effect they create.

If she likes dolls and dressing dolls – that’s great! Watch videos on YouTube on how to make dresses or clothes for the dolls. This takes creativity, math, planning, fine motor skills, perhaps allocate her some monies for buying fabric – now she needs to calculate how to spend her money – there’s learning happening right there! But you don’t want to make these things the focal point. They’re just a natural part of being and engaging in this reality. There’s so many ways you can make things interesting and fun – having all the ‘educational benefits’ without the seriousness of it.

Also realise that children don’t just learn what their interests are ‘all by themselves’. Or that they have to find out RIGHT NOW what they want to do with their life. Some children will know what they want to do, other children will be very versatile and will play and test out many things before they make up their mind, or perhaps will always remain doing multiple things. In terms of homeschooling (and unschooling), it’s up to us the parents to facilitate this discovery process in a unimposing manner, where we expose them to many different things to help them find their way without their being pressure to do so. I’ve found that the key here is to keep things light and joyful – then things such as ‘focus/concentration/passion’ naturally develop and follow. They are not goals on their own, but consequences/outflows of the natural process of exploring and discovering things.

Here you can then also have a look at to which extent you have been stressing/worrying/thinking about her education and future instead of LIVING and being an example of natural flow and discovery, trusting that she will find her way.

Often when Cesar is all over the place and without direction – it’s because I, myself, and/or Gian (my partner) are all over the place, stressed and anxious about things. Again, children can sense and feel this – and when the two people they depend on the most are ‘all over the place’ within themselves, then they will assume that things are ‘terribly wrong’ and get all nervous and twitchy for no reason other than that we are doing it! If we’re feeling like headless chickens, something ‘must be going on’/’going wrong’ because us adults, as examples, are supposed to ‘show them the way’. Then they go into that same energetic signature without really knowing why, only because we’re doing it so it seems ‘the thing to do’.

Have a look at her moods, the energy she is in. Do you recognize this energy within yourself? Within your partner? Your relationship(s)?

Maybe she needs more time with other children, maybe she doesn’t. Test it out. Perhaps she can join some type of extra-curricular activities that school going children would do – so she can be with other children during after school hours without it being suspicious.

And lastly – talk to her. Have you asked her why she is in x, y, z mood? Why she watches things so much? Why she needs attention? What she would like to do, what she would like to explore? Children are a lot more aware and adept in seeing what is going on inside themselves than we give them credit for.

So Marco, again – I don’t have any answers for you. There’s a bunch of things you can look at and play with, let us know how it goes!

If you haven’t already – check out these EQAFE interviews:

Children and Isolation - Perfecting the Human Race - Parenting - Part 79
Parent and Child Communication - Perfecting the Human Race - Parenting - Part 80
Emotional Addictions to Technology - Parenting – Perfecting the Human Race - Part 75
Gaming and Reality (Part 1) - Life Review (here you can look at gaming in terms of say ‘being on a tablet’
Gaming and Reality (Part 2) - Life Review
Tracing the Source of Tantrums - Perfecting the Human Race - Parenting - Part 72
Timeline of a Tantrum: Parents - Perfecting the Human Race - Parenting - Part 73
Stop Tantrums by Changing Yourself - Perfecting the Human Race - Part 61
Raising a Destonian Family - Desteni Farm Discussions
Raising a Destonian Family Part 2 - Desteni Farm Discussions

Let us know if you have any more questions or require additional support!
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