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!
[Tweet “Stop telling me how #spoiled and #technology addicted my #kids are and let’s work togteher! #parentingishard”]
What is the one area of parenting (yes, just pick one) you wish you were better with?
Everyone has thoughts on everything until they go through it. And then when they go through it, they have even more thoughts. We all need eyes on our own paper!
That’s an excellent way to put it!
Love this! I just try to do the best I can with what I have. Although if I still had ColecoVision, I’d let them play it all day and all night.
Love the post-totally on point! Let’s see, I wish I was better at acting super interested when my boys ramble on about some random gamer they follow on YouTube, or about Roblox!
I wish I was better at playing! I didn’t play much as a kid (I have virtually no imagination) and spent most of my time reading books or riding my bike outside. Playing Legos, making up games, and things like that are absolute torture for me, but I know they are fun to kids. It’s just a struggle and I finish them feeling exhausted!
Same here! Just another great thing about having twins – they entertain each other!!
this is so interesting, i can’t agree with you more. my girl is pretty much allowed to do anything without blades and she loves to laugh, make art and play and giggle till she pees. literally. i always had the tv on and wish she would sit down long enough to watch a show, but she is too busy playing with legos and having fun on her own. she loves to do all sorts of things, i can’t keep up! if it weren’t for my amazing childcare team i would be totally sad. as for her food and bedtime, i don’t care. i love when she eats because she is so busy playing. we don’t have any foods that i have a problem with. i don’t buy food that i won’t let her eat, that doesn’t make sense to me. she loves rice and also loves gummy bears. i don’t exactly let her chow down on gummy bears but they are a fun treat. i do mix my choco milk and reg milk to dilute the sweetness but so what? that’s my choice.
i wish i had more hours in the day for playtime with her! when i get home at night it’s pretty late.. but we still have time to run around or watch crappy TV.
We all could use more hours in the day for sure!!!
Everyone is an expert on something! And then they like to “expert” on others. Mind your own kids and I’ll mind mine. I don’t think our parents had the answers and look how awesome we turned out. 🙂
I don’t think our parents tried to find other answers! It was such a different time and better and worse in lots of ways – I can’t wait to see what our kids do and say when THEY have kids!!
As a kid, I ate bagged chips and Oreos, had a TV in my room, and did all sorts of shit as a child, and I still turned out a healthy eater and not completely addicted to technology (I think). Honestly, as a not-yet-parent, I read an article like that and find it annoying that people try to make parenting harder, not easier.
Totally!!! Just wait… you will find out. And, you already know how people are with dogs 🙂 LOL!
Preach, Allie! This reminds me of this week’s episode of Blackish, where Bow was being blasted by other moms on a parenting website…because she vaccinates her children.
I never wore a seatbelt, ate Steak’ums and Fun Dip, and watched soap operas with my mom. It’s amazing I’m a coherent adult.
Omg yes!!! That episode (like most of them) was right on! So crazy.
I kind of wish people could spend a day with me at my office, where I see the entire spectrum of parenting from the parents who don’t understand why I get upset when their kids kick me to the ones who yell at their kids for twitching. Seriously, tho, we are all out there doing our best. I’m pretty sure my neighbors are judging me for not making my oldest son go to college. He’s making more money as an electrician union apprentice than their college graduate will be making…oh wait, I’m going to have one of those too… Can’t we all just accept that one size does not fit all?
Oh I can only imagine!!!! You should start a reality show 🙂
I don’t even know where to start, but I love the school is where quiet time and technology have replaced social interaction… complete truth.
You have so hit the nail on the heard!
Thank you! I mean, if you run then you know the “hard” never really gets easy so you may as well just accept it!
Victoria Prooday runs a clinic that specializes in behavior problems with children. She works with a team that includes a speech pathologist, a clinical psychologist and a behavior therapist. She is right on. There is ample research on this subject, and the addiction factor is scary. A good book on the subject is Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane. Parenting is hard today. I have young grandchildren, and their parents limit their screen time. What I have noticed is that limiting screen time requires time from the parents. Time to encourage kids to self entertain or time to interact. For instance, when we are in the car, we play simple games when we can. Like I Spy. The kids love it. We listen to music. We listen to books on tape. And I think what she meant by endless fun is that parents feel pressure to constantly entertain their kids or have something for them to do rather than letting them use their own imaginations. Or parents don’t have any kind of boundaries, routine and don’t require chores. Intentional parenting is hard work. But it’s worth it.
Thank you for your comment and I have no doubt that Victoria Prooday is an expert in her field but some of the “blanket” statements just don’t apply to all children and all parents (because, how could they?) so I was pointing that out. A teacher in my town posted the article to FB and I wanted to recognize that both parents AND teachers have a job to do and it’s best we work together instead of pointing fingers. As you stated – parenting is very hard work – so why not support each other in positive ways? And yes, it’s totally worth it!