Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Latest Parental Worry

Once someone becomes a parent, it is a full time job.  Yes, the tasks may vary from diapers to homework to nurse to psychologist, but the child is always on the parent's brain. Whenever, I see a new approach or commentary on child rearing, I am pulled to read it. 

My newest find is how some parents are limiting their children's use of wireless devices.  For example, Mr. Kutnowski, a pianist, composer and director of the fine arts program at St. Thomas University, programmed his wireless modem so that specific devices in his home could only connect to the Web for one hour a day.  His children were hysterical and resentful.  Mr. Kutnowski was sick of his kids being hooked into their devices for over five hours a day.  And he was sick of telling his kids to disconnect only to find they would go back to them after he left the room.  After the initial shock for his children, Mr. Kutnowski saw his kids became avid readers, find creative ways to deal with boredom and learn how to hold conversation.  He also enjoyed that he was not a nagging policeman and tethered watch guard.

I also read how Steve Jobs limited the amount of time his children spent on wireless devices.  He would enjoy dinner with his family, discussing books, history and many other things, without an iPad or computer at the table.  Another high tech CEO, Chris Anderson, who is a father of five children, limits his children's tech use.  He does this because he has seen first hand the effects of technology on himself and other people, and he wants to protect his children from the addictive behavior.

My husband Gary and I do not allow devices at dinner and have rules about what times the devices can be used.  Yet, we know that our kids are smarter than us about how to use these things.  While Mr. Kutnowski has physically limited his children's time and gotten really good results, we don't know if we have the stomach for that at this point.  We do respect it though and consider it a possible option.

As a parent I have learned that lectures and words mean little unless I model that behavior.  Gary and I do not let email and texts overtake personal family time, interrupt our sleep or have it tethered to us at all times.  We know we are from another 'tech' generation, but we try to show how being with family and friends in person is valuable.  Texting, email, snap chat and all the other social media ways of connecting have benefit, but they cannot be the only way to connect.

In Ayurveda, balance is the goal.  Finding a way to balance technology while maintaining the ability to verbally talk, read books and find creative ways to use leisure time is something I try to do everyday.  Reading about other parents' struggles is helpful with ideas and making me feel part of a community.

Stay healthy & well,

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