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Christian Living

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Mommy and the Joyful Three 06/04/12

Curbing Addictions in Your Children


When you hear the word “addiction”, you more than likely associate it with substance abuse. In reality, addiction can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, its many forms can over take our lives in ways we are unaware of until we’re in a desperate place.

My children don’t play video games often. One of the main reasons for this is that when we did have a gaming system in our home they lived, breathed and slept it. They would fight with each other and be irritable because they were not able to play as often as they wanted.

My middle daughter, Myley, is somewhat obsessed with puppies. If she sees a puppy stuffed animal, she “must have it”. It is almost scary the tantrums she will throw when we don’t give in to her demands.

Addiction is anything that should be secondary that becomes your primary focus. God should be first in our lives, our family second. The things that sometimes overtake our lives should be a small part of our world.

I myself fall into the trap of addiction. Some of us naturally have an addictive personality. I would have these crazy collections as a child and focus on them constantly. I would obsess over meaningless and material possessions.

We can even become fixated by people and the way they treat us. Recently, a friend and I were discussing the trap of abuse and how the victim sometimes returns out of habit and a need to win someone’s approval.

Work can be addicting to some. When we become workaholics, our children see that money and career should be the focuses of life. My father is a wonderful man loves to work. As a child, I would watch him go from one job to the next. His hard work encouraged me and instilled in me the value of a job well done, but it also took away from my time with him.

A good friend of mine recently told me that the way to curb addictions in children is to make sure that they are experiencing new things and by creating new routines.

Have you ever noticed how much a toddler or young child can become attached to a particular character, TV show or movie?

My youngest was crazy about one particular movie. He cried and cried for us to put it on. I would cave and put it on for him, essentially condoning his behavior. Yes, you can enable even the smallest of vices.

I do not like my children to be in front of the television much anyway; so now when he cries for the movie, I instantly come up with new activities for him. The other day we made our own paint out of flour, water and food coloring and it made his day! He soon forgot about the movie.

With my older daughter, I am quick to remind her that life is not about these small things. We can enjoy programs or toys, but we should never focus on them more than what’s truly important. When we, as parents, are letting our lives revolve around meaningless things, we are teaching our children to do the same.

My good friend confessed to me that she is addicted to Farmville, a game she plays on Facebook. She thinks about it constantly and feels the need to be playing it all of the time. A lot of us are addicted to Facebook; we are quicker to log on to the social networking website than we are to open our Bibles.

Yesterday, I was playing “I-spy” with my daughter. She said, “I spy something red, something you are always on.” Instantly, I knew she was talking about either my phone or my laptop, both of which are red. I felt ashamed that she could readily come up with that association.

Parents are the guides God gives to children. We must teach them that NOTHING comes before Jesus. We must ourselves consider where our focus is in life.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Do you pray? Log onto the computer? Call somebody? What is the thing you go to bed thinking about and wake up with on your mind?

God should be on the forefront.

Do you or your children struggle with an obsession?

I am working on this myself. Please share your advice and prayers.

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