Have you ever looked around at your life and noticed something you didn’t like and thought, “hmmm, I need to change that.”
Well, if you said yes, then you are not alone and are to be congratulated on being observant.
However, most of us, when we find ourselves in that position, never follow through with actually doing something about it. Instead, we observe that change needs to happen but never make the change. Of course we have our reasons. Most of them are probably good reasons too, but they won’t hold up twenty years from now as we reflect on what we should have done.
I have 6 and 10 year old daughters that love their ipads. They take it with them most places and are content to watch a cartoon on Netflix, play Minecraft, or read a book on their Kindle app. As a parent in 2014, I am very aware that our children are consumed with electronics. It’s connected to every part of their lives and is not going away. I don’t want to deny them the future and all it has to offer, but I do want to raise them to appreciate the things in life that will last and develop certain character traits that will set them apart from what is considered to be normal or average in society.
I don’t agree when parents settle for a behavior that is less than desirable simply because it’s what everyone else is doing. To put it simply, it’s an easy way out that avoids immediate conflict.
Here is my approach to electronics and parenting:
- If I see my child avoiding interaction with their peers or adults in a social environment, I ask them to put it away.
- If I see my child avoiding family interaction, like dinner time around the table, I ask them to put it away.
- If I see my child doing anything involving electronics, including consuming content that goes beyond what we have decided is appropriate, I ask them to put it away.
We always explain why we are asking them to put it away, what the benefits are and what is more acceptable as a replacement activity.
Here’s the simple part.
We do all of the above because we are the parent. We do it because we only get one shot and won’t get a rewind button when they are grown and don’t live the way we had hoped they would.
Parenting is the hardest, most intense job you will ever have. If at any point you are not experiencing this, you should probably reevaluate your situation.
Parenting is also the most rewarding job you will ever have. Nothing will compare to the feeling of knowing your child made a difference in someone’s life, made a sacrifice to serve someone else or denied their own feelings for the good of others. Raising a responsible, selfless, well-rounded adult is the goal.
As parents, we so often forget who is in charge. It’s not the child.
This is a simple calculation. See my simple math below:
- Who pays the bills? – You
- Who provides the shelter? – You
- Who buys the food? – You
Ok, then you are in charge.
Don’t apologize for being who you were created to be.
You are the parent and NOT the friend.
Your child will have plenty of friends and will hopefully oneday call you a friend, but now is not the time to focus on friendship. It’s the time to focus on legacy. What legacy are you leaving in the life that your child will lead?
You only get one shot.
How do you handle electronics or other things that your child values and spends time doing that may be unhealthy?
Please leave your thoughts or comments below. I would love to hear from you.