Have you ever watched families at a fast food joint? Some folks from Boston Medical Center got curious about such social events. We’ve got a problem, Houson.
Before illuminating the problem, though, I offer you an attainable solution:
Parents, put down your electronics and take up your own flesh and blood! Disconnect from you mobile devices and connect with your children.
- Reject passive parenting and benign neglect.
- Treasure your children!
- Be less self-absorbed, less self-centered.
- Invest yourself in your children, unselfishly.
- Get a loving, shepherd heart.
- Play with each child at least 20 minutes. Daily. Enjoyably. Game of his choice.
- Read a book to your children. Daily. Expressively.
- Ban all electronics at meal times.
- Eat together. Really. Truly. Together.
That’s my short response to this unscientific-but-telling study:
Researchers at the Boston Medical Center observed 55 different groups of parents and young children eating at fast food restaurants. The study found the majority pulled out their mobile devices right away, and, in turn, their kids tended to act up more.
“It’s just normal childhood behavior,” said parenting coach Toni Schutta. “If I can’t get your attention in a positive way, I’m going seek it in a negative way.” […]
Schutta says parents spend, on average, 11 hours a day using electronic devices. All that time takes away from face to face communication, which helps kids learn behavior.
“Kids in preschool and kindergarten are no longer as able to read social cues from other human beings,” Schutta said. “That’s in part because of their own media use and it’s in part because of their parents’ media use, they’re just not getting that training.”
Too much time on technology can also leave an emotional impact on your child, if you’re missing life moments for email.
Ya think?! 🙄
This 11 hours a day stuff — is it further proof that big babies are having little babies? Where are the grown-ups?! Oh, wait…never mind. 🙁
Well, consider some points I extracted from the study itself:
- Child response to caregiver use ranged from entertaining themselves to escalating bids for attention.
- Highly absorbed caregivers often responded harshly to child misbehavior.
- Meals are a daily routine in which face-to-face caregiver–child interactions are considered beneficial.
- Many caregivers used the device almost continuously through-out the meal.
- Many children started to exhibit limit-testing or provocative behaviors during adult device absorption.
- Some children appeared to accept the lack of engagement and entertained themselves, whereas others showed increasing bids for attention that were often answered with negative parent responses.
- What are the longer-term effects of frequent exposure to others’ “present absence”?
I fear that in another fifteen years, today’s generation of misfits will seem unbelievably mature, well-adjusted, and competent. Without having changed!
Keying Parents = Keyed Up Children
Parents and other caregivers had better get a loving, shepherd heart.
Can you tell us how to find such a thing? And while you’re at it, offer us a ray or two of hope!
Oh, and after you do that, I invite your attention to: