About Me

My photo

Thanks for checking in. We all know life can be EXTREMELY complicated. I blog about recognizing and removing the barriers that sabotage our living well. 

- Nobody had perfect parents, so we all have issues.
- We struggle to keep up with work, personal goals, staying healthy, and all kinds of relationships.
- Our minds are busy, and they seem to often work against us.
- At the end of many days, we're disappointed about what didn't get done, how we failed, what we should have done.

So I blog about increasing personal awareness and finding balance so we can cut ourselves some slack. Let's stay grounded as we move forward in manageable steps. Perspective is everything, and I try to see around the corners so we can leverage what we've already got into more of what we want.

Follow me and give me feedback. You inspire me, and I'll try to inspire you. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Does your device seduce you away from your kids?

In a recent review of my novella (http://aliceosborn.com/how-to-stay-grounded-after-abandonment/), author Jo Taylor wrote, "As a reader of Salt in the Sugar Bowl, you may feel anger toward parents who cannot maintain family life and yet sympathize with their circumstances, feel sorry for the dysfunction in the lives of the innocent bystanders.

That, I believe, is the Catch-22 of parenting in our society. We understand why things get dysfunctional, but that doesn't mean we're okay with it. There are so many ways that children become pawns under seemingly harmless circumstances. Most parents love their children and would lay down their lives for them, still their daily habits and tendencies steadily deduct mental health points from their children's psychological banks.

As an example, I often get really annoyed when I see some parents and their little kids in public having supposed quality time, but the adults are more fixated on their devices than they are on their kids. Sometimes the kids are obviously an annoyance because they are distracting the adult from sending that text, or surfing the web, or posting whatever the hell is so much more important. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those devote-every-minute-to-your-kids people. To the contrary, I'm the grown-folks-need-time-and-space-to-be-grown-folks-apart-from-their-kids guru. 

What I truly believe though, is that in our extreme busy-ness, when we carve out time to do some kid-friendly things with our children, we have to force ourselves to show them we are interested in who they are, what they are doing, and what they have to say. That means turning off the device sometimes-- especially during these summer months with more time spent in parks, on beaches, at museums, street fairs, etc. 

Having been an adult for many decades, one of my pet peeves has always been, if I'm devoting some time from my schedule to spend time with someone (going out to dinner, being on a date, taking a walk, a drive, or whatever) and I'm talking to that individual, then I expect he or she is actually listening (or at least pretending to listen). When we're supposed to be doing something together, can't the device be neglected for a time?

So parents, put yourselves in the kids' shoes. If they're finding rocks or calling, "Look at how high I'm swinging," don't just glance up from your device and go, "Uh huhn." Pay attention for a few minutes. Self esteem begins with feeling acknowledged. Not having that feeling from parents is one of the many ways kids grow up with abandonment issues. The way you feel if your partner or date or mate gives a one-eyed glance and a grunt when you make an observation is what children feel when you wave a hand and say, "Go play!" as you continue your discovery of enticing new web content. Dismissed. That's the feeling.

And, for the record, having your little one pose for pictures is not quality time. It's the interaction that counts. (I'm actually a little afraid of what's going to happen to all these little kids whose whole lives have been photo opportunities.)

Okay, enough said on a Wednesday morning........ Am I being too harsh? (since those Smartphones really must be just too amazing).


FYI: Salt in the Sugar Bowl is still available! Get your copy for a quick summer read.
- In the Triangle? at Quail Ridge Books 
- Online: Main Street Rag Publishing Company or at amazon.com














7 comments:

  1. Sorry Angela I can't support you on this one. The reason I can be out with the kids as much as I am is because I have that little device to help me pretend I am steadily back home in my office and my kids are "supposed" to be in daycare. We do a lot with our kids and I do take little breaks to read and write email, make notes of things needed to be taken care of later and read articles here and there. I see all my kids plays, meets, games, read to them daily, and converse with them often. Before I had my portable phone/computer I was tethered to an office chair missing most of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we're on the same page. It's clear you do a lot with your kids, and technology has freed you to spend more time with them than you would otherwise. My beef is with a parent like I was when my child was young-- working 8 - 6 most days, so when we were out on weekends, I had what I felt was an "attention debt" to pay. I ultimately wound up with a home-based business so I could free up some time. It's all about balance. You seem to have struck it.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. I think back to how I was parented and I enjoyed just being in the same space as my dad. We went fishing a lot and sometimes my pole was in the water right next to his and we'd talk; but just as often we'd be fishing in parallel with each of us alone with our own thoughts, enjoying nature.

    My parents did not carve out specific time to be with me but sometime just being in their company - no matter what they were doing - was enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I'd had a dad to fish with. :>( A lot of my perspective may very well come from my own childhood experiences-- which as we all know, are peppered liberally with abandonment issues!

      Delete

What do you think? Feedback inspires me!