#Momlife Monday- Raising A Close-knit family in the digital age

Every generation sees their share of modern advancements. From a technological standpoint we have never been at the pinnacle we are now. Electronics and gadgets are everywhere you look. They consume the attention of people walking, driving, working, and being. Anywhere you go you see faces glued to screens. Attention diverted. Non-stop entertainment. “Social” media.

So how is it that you raise a child to not be socially awkward when they engage more with the television than other human beings? When do they get to utilize their imagination if they spend more time on their gadgets than in their room or at the park?

It takes a lot of effort to raise a child that is in tune with life around them because the reality is, it’s easier for them to be entertained while you get stuff done if they have a tablet in hand or a television on. My daughter can easily spend the entire day on the television, computer or tablet if I let her. Take that away and have her play with her toys in her room and she’s bored in 5 minutes flat. Suddenly she’s wondering what I’m up to, wanting to help me make lunch and clean up around the house. Seriously? Cleaning is more fun than playing?

She often asks me what I did for fun as a kid much like I used to ask my mom when I was her age. My answer is always the same, I used to play- a lot. Ride my bike, play in the yard, make forts in my room, hide and seek, make believe in the spare room upstairs. In her defense I understand that playing alone isn’t nearly as fun as playing with a sibling. Her sister just turned 1 and while she tries to keep up and laughs until she cries with her big sister, constantly telling her not to rip the coloring book, eat the crayons, or not to rip dolls heads off can’t be much fun for her 7 year old sister.

I’ve gone back to my electronic elimination for the time being because whenever she gets to the point she’s too mouthy and headstrong, I hit her where it hurts and her gadgets do the trick every time. The first few days are the worst and make me want to give up. The constant following me around the house, hundreds of times she tells me she’s bored in a ten minute period followed by insisting that I play with her wear me out. You’re grounded which means it’s a punishment, which means you’re not supposed to like it-live with it. By day 3 she doesn’t care anymore. She comes home, puts her backpack away, strips her clothes off (that I have to tell her to pick her trail of clothes up and put away) and she gets a book and reads, or a coloring book to color, or a doll to dress up and style their hair.

She definitely stays preoccupied with her electronic devices but I can just picture her brain turning to slush up there with nothing other than mindless entertainment to keep it working. She’s got such a beautiful mind, full of great ideas and funny thoughts, she just doesn’t realize it because she’s not exercising it. The more she uses her imagination the more she wants to and the less she thinks about her gadgets. We are back to Saturday night family night and we’ll rent a movie to watch all piled on the couch eating popcorn with M&M’s. She’ll be ecstatic for the movie, then go to bed and go back to playing with Play Doh on Sunday.

Even though she is entertained with her gadgets, there are important skills she is missing the opportunity to pick up on if she is distracted with a screen in front of her. Social interactions, social ques, sympathy, empathy, are all things to be gained through observation and interaction. I find myself often repeating two things-

1. She needs to live in the moment. She is always trying to figure out what is going to come next without being present in what is going on now, like she’s trying to fast forward through the commercials.

2. Pay attention to life. She often gets so caught up in whatever screen is nearby that she completely loses focus of what is going on- walking into things or not hearing me talk to her. This lack of focus happens even when there are no screens around, doing homework and her mind is on something completely unrelated.

The best thing I can do to raise my children in this digital age is to be ancient. Not caveman ancient, but just back to the basics. Continue to have meals together that we actually engage in conversation with one another, go for walks, go to the park, spend quality time together.

Is it just my child that has this gadget addiction? Can you relate? Have you eliminated or moderated usage significantly? What are your thoughts and experiences with raising kids in this gadget crazed world?

Photo credit: Hernan Piñera via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

 

11 Replies to “#Momlife Monday- Raising A Close-knit family in the digital age”

  1. Hi Niki

    So I don’t have a family yet but I do teach children every week. And I can see the effect of technology on the children. It takes a lot more to keep them focused and engaged, tons more effort!! The excess use of technology has numbed them. It has restricted their imagination in a way and so much more….

    I see that and think to the time I will have kids. How will I deal with it? What will be my stand concerning technology? It scares me a bit because we are becoming more and more dependant on technology.

    Someone once said concerning parenting, “what we do in moderation our kids will do in excess”!

    So I need to take a look at my life and make some very important decisions about technology now. Does it control me or do I have control over it?
    I respect the steps you have taken to engage your kids and that is what parenting is about. It’s about making that kind of decision when you can take the easy way out!

    When all is said and done this is something that can’t be ignored. It needs to be faced……Those are my thoughts……Great post!

    Rolain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rolain, what great insight from a point of view I hadn’t considered. I can tell when my daughter does homework that she wants things to “click” she just expects the information to go from the book to her brain but doesn’t want to process it. I am not one to give her the answer and I try to ask series of questions to get her to process the information and come up with an answer whether it is right or not. She won’t always be right but I want to make sure she can use critical thinking and problem solving skills, something I think kids lack these days even for the most basic of situations. I love to see my one year old touch something new to her. Even something as simple as a clothes pin. She watches me open it, clamp it on the clothes, remove it. She’ll hold it, look at, turn it in her hands, try to figure out how to open it. You can see the wheels in her head turning as she’s trying to figure out this new item. Kids her age generally lack the attention span or determination to figure things out. This is if course my opinion based on narrow observation but I see it often that they try once or twice, don’t get it and either give up or move on. Yes this is a bigger problem than just watching too much TV. It is stifling their brains. As an adult I have to be conscious because I can’t tell her one thing and do another. I need to lead by example, so I limit my technology to times that she is in school or sleeping whenever possible because I don’t want to be a “do as I say and not as I do” parent. Very good for for thought Rolain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As dauting as parenting seems I can’t wait.
        I love how children are just so curious, so trusting so fearless and to think we are responsible to lead them in the right way, the way of the Lord, and to teach them the correct way with His help….that’s great!
        Thanks again for a very interesting post…..
        Have a great weekend!

        Rolain

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s a great responsibility but also a rewarding one. Kids enrich your life so much. There is always something to learn and they always keep you on your toes. I’m sure you will be a great parent when the time comes! In the meantime keep up the good work being a great teacher, that’s good practice for your future as a parent 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes it is…..I love teaching kids and learning from them. By God’s grace I will be a great parent. Bless you as you train up your kids in the way of the Lord…..
        God bless your family!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. great post. Some interesting aspects here. My 3,5 year old loves to play outdoors, but it takes time to take the children outside. Time being something a lot of parents don’t have. If it was up to her she would be outside the whole time. I love being outside myself, and we try to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Inside gadgets are the easy way out. I try my best to limit her screen time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes it does. I think about when I was a kid and I found a way to entertain myself because we simply didn’t have all of these gadgets. I played outside when I could but a lot of times it was the hallway, the living room, my bedroom. Personally I’ve just slowly let it go unnoticed and it has gotten to the point that she just can’t be entertained by anything not on a screen for more than a few minutes, that’s when I realized it was a problem. So I’ve had to bite the bullet and deal with the whining and pouting enough to get her through her electronic withdrawals and it’s amazing to see the things she finds to entertain herself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on The Richness of a Simple Life and commented:

    Pulling out a #MomLife Monday post from my archives. I talked about raising a close-knit family in the digital age. This was written just as I started posting daily and will be new to pretty much everyone because it only had 7 views…

    Can you relate? What are ways that you try to focus on raising a close-knit family? Do you have any ideas that you’d like to share with others? Is this something you’ve thought about but haven’t yet implemented? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Like

Don't be shy, I'll reply ;)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s