adoptive parenting · family · Little Man · parenting · pop culture · raising boys and men · scripture · sleep · training up a child · worldview

Yes, I Shelter My Child

Our son has a sleep disorder. If you search for the topic “sleep” on my blog, you’ll see over six years’ worth of sleep woes. There is no cure for his parasomnia, but it is mostly manageable at this point.

One of the ways we manage it is by severely limiting what he is allowed to see or play on screens.

For example…he has never been to a movie theatre. I can probably count on both hands the number of television shows he has watched that contained commercials. He has maybe a dozen shows on Netflix he is allowed to watch, and a handful of DVDs (not including his still much beloved Veggie Tales).

This leads, frequently, to us being accused by others, of being “overprotective.” To them I say: Yes. We shelter our child. It is our job as his parents to shelter him, to protect him, to make sure he grows up the right way.

When Little Man was about eighteen months old, and I was exceptionally tired, I called a friend of mine who had six boys. She had mentioned in passing that one of her boys hadn’t really ever slept through the night, and I was desperate for help. Their son couldn’t process the difference between reality and fantasy (what was happening on screens). At the time of our conversation, he was elementary school aged, and he still was limited in his television viewing and video game choices. And he was child #4 out of six. If he watched too much television, or the wrong thing, his brain thought it was real, and he had nightmares. We quickly realized our son is the same.

proverbs 4.23

In October we visited some family, with children a little older than our son. They wanted to go in the basement (unsupervised) and watch a movie. I vetoed five or six movies before I finally relented on the LEGO movie. I won’t spoil anything, but nightmares were had. Later, the oldest turned on the television and was watching a Harry Potter movie (she’s only 7, by the way). I spent most of my visit that weekend in the basement, monitoring the kids, and making sure the television was off.

I was not terribly popular with anyone that weekend.

We haven’t seen the new “Star Wars” movie. We didn’t see “The Good Dinosaur.” I have no idea what television shows are still on network television, and I rarely know what all the current uproar is on social media.

(sidenote: this is also a major reason we homeschool. our neighbor boy was watching a certain rated-M zombie show at the age of 4 and telling out son all about it. once. we don’t need him gone eight hours  a day having his head filled with who knows what. and while I was writing this, this news broke. we will definitely be protecting our son now.)

We believe that God placed our son in our care, especially because of the circumstances surrounding his adoption. We don’t ever want to take for granted that thought, and we believe that God commands parents to protect their children. Heidi St. John says no one ever mocks a farmer for building a barn for his baby animals, or making sure his baby seedling crops are sheltered from storms. Yet society mocks parents for “sheltering” or “overprotecting” children – children who are in no way prepared emotionally, mentally, or spiritually for the things life throws at them without a break.

psalm127.3

Why wouldn’t we shelter our children – the most precious gifts God gives us?

So, yes, we might have the only six year old in America who didn’t see the new Star Wars film – and won’t for another few years. He’s not allowed unfettered access to the television, the wii, our electronic devices. We heavily monitor every movie, television show, and video game he wants to watch or play. And we will, until he is ready for more freedom.

But until then?

His little heart is our responsibility, and he certainly can’t guard it on his own, so we will.

proverbs22.6

6 thoughts on “Yes, I Shelter My Child

  1. Hi Rachel. I just recently stumbled upon your blog, and have been enjoying working my way through all your posts. I came on this morning, and I cannot tell you how much this one encouraged me. My oldest son is in 8th grade and went to a friend’s house last night for a birthday sleepover. We agreed to let him go and spend time with his friends, but made it clear that he would not be staying for the sleepover. He understood and knows our rules, but of course, once he got there and started having fun, the calls to allow him to ‘please stay!’ started coming. Needless to say, I did not have a happy 14 year old when I arrived to take him home. And although the mom hosting the party didn’t say anything to me about picking him up, I could tell by the look on her face that she thought I was crazy. So then all the doubtful, second guessing, maybe we are too overprotective, etc. thoughts start flooding my mind and it ends up being a restless night of tossing and turning. But I read your post this morning, and it was just the confirmation that I needed. Thank you so much for your faithfulness because God truly used it to encourage me today.
    Blessings,
    Courtney

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    1. Oh, Courtney, thank you SO much for taking the time to tell me this. Praise God that He used my words to encourage you – that is my prayer every day for this blog!! Way to go, Mama, on being strong!!! Blessings to you!!!

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  2. “It is our job as his parents to shelter him, to protect him, to make sure he grows up the right way.”

    Rachel, I have a question for you. It’s a topic I think about quite often. I would really value your thoughts not just as a Christian, but as a Christian women. Here goes…

    How do you intend to raise your son to become a man in our increasingly effeminate culture?

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  3. Hi Rachel.
    Um, I feel a little corny doing this, and I understand if you have been busy but I would really appreciate it if you could address my comment. I ask because I value your opinion on this touchy topic.

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    1. I guess I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking 🙂 My husband sets a great example (opening doors, carrying heavy things, killing spiders, changing blown tires, leading us in prayer every day, making sure we get to church every week on time, making sure we have dinner together every night w/o electronic devices…). We talk a lot about how God created man and woman. But he’s six, so…we make sure he plays outside a lot, rarely get upset if he gets dirty (right before church is the exception. usually!), encourage his exploration of nature, etc. etc. I don’t know…is that what you mean?

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