It seems my social media and news feeds are constantly flooded with how I’m parenting wrong, and the judge varies from professional psychologists to rand-o mom blogs. This time I’m being told how to parent by an occupational therapist and I want to address the concerns cited, with the understanding that most of us are doing the best we can when it comes to raising our kids.
The article is titled Why Are Kids Impatient, Bored, Friendless and Entitled. Yeah. I actually have a few adults who come to mind when reading that title but let’s stick with those under 18, shall we? The author is Victoria Prooday, OT and her points are this:
Kids Get Everything They Want, When They Want It
Example: Prooday’s examples are getting a kid food through a drive-thru as soon as they say they’re hungry, a drink from a vending machine when they are thirsty and offering a phone if they say “I’m bored.”
Reality: Food and water are called necessities. When is the last time an adult held out for either of those basic needs if they didn’t have to? If you’re home and then get in the car and drive to a vending machine to get your kid a Gatorade, there may be an issue, otherwise I don’t see the problem.
As for the technology cure for boredom, this is one I have seen ad nauseam. Again, I think it depends on the situation. If you’re bored at home, too bad. If you’re bored in the doctor’s office, you get the phone.
Limited Social Interaction
Example: Prooday laments what every single person who writes something like this goes to – “Kids used to play outside where, in unstructured natural environments, they learned and practiced their social skills. Unfortunately, technology replaced the outdoor time.”
Reality: Pedophiles and psychos replaced outdoor time. I don’t know too many parents, even in my very safe neighborhood, who let their kids play unsupervised outside. I mean, I do but my kids know how to fight and they may or may not have weapons.
Plus, they are at school for most of the day where they are socializing and interacting their brains out. Oh wait, I think school is the place where technology and “quiet time” has replaced social interaction.
Example: “We have created an artificial fun world for our children. There are no dull moments. The moment it becomes quiet, we run to entertain them again, because otherwise, we feel that we are not doing our parenting duty.”
Reality: Our house is one big dull moment during the week. And did she say “quiet?” That is the quest I seek above all else. Please, please, please tell me how to achieve this quiet of which you say is the default of children! I obviously haven’t done my parenting duty because it is never, ever even close to quiet in my house. Ever.
Side note: Since when is “endless fun” a bad thing for kids? Shouldn’t being a kid come with endless fun? We all know adult-ing sucks so kids — have all the fun you can now!
Example: “Using technology as a “Free babysitting service” is, in fact, not free at all. The payment is waiting for you just around the corner. We pay with our kids’ nervous systems, with their attention, and with their ability for delayed gratification. Compared to virtual reality, everyday life is boring.”
Reality: Whatever the total is for the technology babysitter, I will pay it. But seriously, technology is hoisted up as the epicenter for all that is evil and wrong with parenting. Now, I’m not denying it can be a serious issue for some kids but let’s remember that technology is going to be a huge part of our kid’s future. Should they be immersed in it? No. But should they be exposed and know how to navigate it? Yes. And what is the problem with escaping from reality? Adults do it constantly and our children are watching…
Kids Rule The World
Example: “My son doesn’t like vegetables.” “She doesn’t like going to bed early.” “He doesn’t like to eat breakfast.” “She doesn’t like toys, but she is very good at her iPad” “He doesn’t want to get dressed on his own.” “She is too lazy to eat on her own.” This is what I hear from parents all the time. Since when do children dictate to us how to parent them? If we leave it all up to them, all they are going to do is eat macaroni and cheese and bagels with cream cheese, watch TV, play on their tablets, and never go to bed.”
Reality: Children took over dictatorship when they were born and we became insomniac, feces covered, baby food making, toddler talking zombies who also had to function at a job, go on date nights, lose the baby weight and have a enviable social media feed reflecting what a great decision we made to have the kids in the first place! Don’t act like you don’t know what made us this way. Most parents are doing the best they can to literally just stay sane while keeping their kids safe.
P.S. When I was a kid I ate nothing but bagels and cream cheese, Lucky Charms, nachos from the newly invented microwave, played Atari and Coleco Vision until my eyes bled and slept when I was tired. I’m now an adult who eats like a nutritionist, never sits down, hates video games and can’t get enough sleep.
We chose to be parents and you chose to be a teacher so let’s both do our jobs.
Please stop telling us how horribly immature and technology addicted our kids are and do what you can while they’re with you. Let’s be partners in this intense, never-ending battle called “raising humans” and stop pointing fingers.
Now I have to go because my kids are hungry and bored and obviously need an iPad and some mac and cheese stat!
What is the one area of parenting (yes, just pick one) you wish you were better with?