While the idea of TV watching is sometimes very controversial amongst Christians, I would like to share some thoughts based on both a Christian take and a Mom who has 2 children on the Spectrum.
Before my oldest was born I thought I had this parenting thing figured out LOL. You know how you would see kids doing X Y or Z and you would think my kids will NEVER do that. Doesn’t God have a great sense of humor? LOL When Bookworm was born he did not show signs of Autism, in fact he really didn’t until he was 14 months old. Around 16 months or so he became interested in this Elmo video, before I had kids I had said they would NOT watch TV until they were over 2 and then it would only be for 30 minutes per day and that was it!!!! Well I had this video and it was one of those days where you as a mom were just worn down, so I wanted to eat and I put him in his high chair that I had pulled out into the living room and gave him a snack and played this video. He LOVED it. It was almost an hour long but he begged for me to play it again, so I did ( remember my 30 minute time limit and only after age 2 LOL). He just loved this movie so much that it soon became his routine each evening to watch it. So every night while I tried to eat we watched this movie. I was relieved that he was interested in it and it was just a really good show for him, something about that furry red monster just sucked him right in!!!
When Bookworm was almost 2 we moved to another state because of hubby’s work and Elmo was on each morning. We finally got passed watching the SAME movie over and over and he would get so excited when the show came on and he would dance and dance to “Elmo’s World”. I loved watching his chubby cheeks dancing to this song!!! As the aspergers signs seemed to be there more and more, he he became hooked at 2 with Thomas the Train, as soon as he got his first train! It was honestly love at first PEEP PEEP!!! It was Thomas Thomas Thomas. I think we watched Percy gets Chocolate probably at least a thousand times if not more the year he was 2 and then it continued to 3. He was obsessed with all things Thomas ( but HEY it got him potty trained!!! ). I wished at times we had stock in the Thomas Company, those trains are so expensive but we later found out from a few links I will post in a minute why Thomas is so loved by kids on the spectrum Thomas still holds a special place in Bookworms heart!!!
Links on Thomas and Autism….
During the Thomas time period we took my son and my nephew to see Cars, the first one. Bookworm soon became obsessed with Car Cars as he called them. He really didn’t play with the cars but he had to have them all and would carry them with him, he still has this collection too! He never gave up Thomas during the cars phase, he just loved them both. Could tell you all the cars names and knew all about them just like he could with Thomas the Trains.
For a very long time those 2 things were really the things that he loved most. He had other toys but those were his heart. They spoke to him more then anything else and so did the shows. So Why did I change my stance and allow my son to watch TV and shows when I said no? Well for one the decision I made to NOT allow him to watch was not one made in prayer. It also for our family was not realistic. My husband and I spoke about it and with prayer we made some decisions that we felt were great for our family and allowed Bookworm to watch some TV but we ALWAYS set our guide to what we allow in our house to Phil 4:8. For instance, Sponge Bob is NOT allowed in our house and many other shows we say no to. We are pretty picky with it and we DO set time limits. God has used TV to really help our kids out with the struggles. Bookworm was the only one on the Spectrum until Turtle’s diagnosis. We try to use the TV as a teaching tool as well. Watching Thomas has really helped my kids out in MANY areas that they have struggled with. One of the best examples is while Bookworm is now 8 he still loves Thomas, Turtle is 5 and he loves Thomas too, Nemo the baby is 3 and he loves Thomas. One of the things my oldest has struggled with most is play skills, he has came a LONG way but one HUGE struggle with the play skills was playing with his brothers, he would rather be alone. HOWEVER, Bubby (Bookworm) is a VERY skilled builder, Turtle and Nemo have the imagination skills SO Thomas has encouraged my kids to play together!!! This is HUGE!!!! The first day it happened I cried, tears of joy praising God for Thomas the Train and YES even for the TV ( for if it is used right it can be a tool and not the devil). Test everything. Hold on to the good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
Other ways the TV has helped us, Bookworm has a hard time showing Emotion. You could cut your hand off and he may go on and on about what was on his mind and not even notice you bleeding. With TV being used in just the right way, he has grown leaps and bounds. Before we moved from MD he watched 101 Dalmatians, I looked over at him and he was crying HUGE tears when the dogs were taken. This was HUGE too!!! HUGE!!! He just doesn’t do that!!! Then when he saw me looking he tried to hide he was crying!!!! This was also HUGE as he doesn’t usually get embarrassed…at…all. Today we watched Passion of the Christ and a story that he could recite word for word, a story he has heard MANY times and read MANY times today he saw it. Watching the movie I could tell, he felt the blows that were given to Jesus, he felt the pain of his Savior being hung on that cross. He felt. Thank you Jesus for allowing my son to not just have the words, but to now with his heart REALLY get it.
Before Jesus was crucified, he prayed for his disciples. He prayed that as they lived in the world, they would not become part of the world. He wanted them to add the gifts he had given them to the world but he did not want them to become stained by the world. He wanted them to remain the person God made them to be. He wanted them to know his love and to share that love with others. This prayer is for us too. Jesus said that just as his Father sent him into the world, he has sent us into the world. We must live in this world, but Jesus has called us to be separate. Jesus wants us to be separate from the world. So we try to live by this in our house. We do not watch many shows that are popular, because they do not bring Glory to God. They do not follow Philippians 4:8 which says Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Our kids DO watch TV shows that will teach or educate or that we think will help them in one area or another but we also wish to glorify our Lord and Savior in what we do.
The TV is not the devil. The TV only has as much control as we allow it to have.