It shocks me to see parents always complaining that; their kids are always in the house, or just constantly on their video games, when the parents themselves are on their iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, etc. What happened to the old days when dads would go outside with their kids and throw the “ole pigskin” around? Or when moms would play tea party with their little girls? I can’t tell you how much it irritates me to see a mom on her phone at the store, but turning around to yell at her son because he was jumping in the puddles at the parking lot, and getting dirty. Then a few days later she yells at him because he is inside playing with the video games she bought him. It doesn’t surprise me that kids are so confused with what to do with themselves now-a-days. So all I want is to put a different outlook on the table and let everyone know parents have a little more to do with the younger generation’s inactiveness and obsession over technology.
So let’s start with my story of the mom and boy in the grocery store parking lot. I am sure some of you have been walking into Target and heard some bickering between a mom and one of her kids because god forbid the mom puts down her phone so the little 6 year old could get some attention from mommy. Well as I am walking into Target I hear these little splashes, dirty text to make her wet I looked over to find a little I’d say about six to eight year old boy jumping around in some puddles due to the rain earlier that day. I laughed because I made me think that I use to do that stuff when I was little and the smile the boy had was priceless. Not 5 seconds after this Hallmark moment all you could hear was the mom shouting at him to stop because now his Nikes are all wet, looking over again I saw the mom spring her phone back up to her ear and continue the conversation as if nothing was going on. This little 5 year old was enjoying himself as little boys do, which usually entails messes and running around. Umm mom I don’t know if you got them memo but little kids, boys especially love to get messy and roll around. It’s what we do!
Now in that story I’m sure it didn’t strike you as much of a big deal but imagine that exact story 12 times to the same boy, because I’m sure we all know that any little kid that gets told something you can almost guarantee that they have forgotten it in 10 minutes. So as a kid from the 90’s I was always told to go outside… ALWAYS! Rain, snow, you name it; we were outside playing in it. Kids got creative back then; they built forts, made up games to play, and even tried to skip dinner so we could play outside longer. Now kids are skipping dinner to get to that next level of Call of Duty, or to find the magic spell to kill the Dwarf Monster or some crap like that I am 20 and I don’t even know what the hell people are playing anymore. All I know is that they are playing too much of it.
As parents you should want to be around your kids, and show them things about life that maybe you didn’t know as a kid. Even I like to have a good conversation with my parents at least once or twice a day; I know a lot of other kids in their twenties do also. It gives us that sense of security and allows us to get a lot off our chest we may have not been comfortable talking about with anyone else. I remember being in the car with my dad when I was about twelve years old and all we would do the entire car ride is talk, it almost felt awkward to have the radio on because we would rather have conversations with each other than listen to other people talk. I also know of some kids that hate talking to their parents, which may be one of the saddest things I have ever heard but it’s true. A lot of my friends in high school never held conversations with anyone in their family, they would just exile themselves off from the rest of the house and never speak. Those kids would also pick on pretty much everyone and everything they could find.
Parents need to practice what they preach for any change to be made. In no way shape or form will you yelling at your son to stop jumping around in that puddle, then continuing to talk on the phone like he was taking up your time by being a little kid, do anything to change how he acts. Mainly because you just yelled at this little guy for playing around and having fun because he was making his shoes wet, and most likely annoying you while on your phone call. Put down your phone for a few minutes and talk to the kid. Ask him how his day was, or swing him by his arms like every kid wanted to do walking into the store. When I was little my mom or dad would take me by my arms and swing me back and forth, this was the most looked forwarded to part on the car ride over to the store, other than picking out a treat of course. Find ways to interact with your kids more, show your kids how to ride a bike or take them fishing. Let them make mistakes, don’t yell at your kid for jumping in the puddle let him realize how uncomfortable it is to walk around in wet shoes and he probably won’t do it again. Or show him that you can find other ways to be creative like playing outside and just finding stuff to do, climbing a tree, or digging a hole. Let them figure out some stuff on their own so that when you say “Don’t do that again!” they will realize that the puddle they jumped in wasn’t a great idea. When you take that kid to the grocery store and get him or her that little treat, don’t throw the new video game, or gaming device into the cart. Put a football or a hula hoop in the cart.
Try having a conversation with the neighbors kid one day. You can’t have this conversation with your own kid because you all live in the same house together and that ruins the point. You have to go up to a kid you’ve known for even a few years and just have a conversation. Let me know if it is not one of the most useless, most uncomfortable and awkward things you’ve done all week. I’ll bet he or she checks their phone at least 3 times depending on the length of the conversation, and ill also bet that you are the only one continuing the conversation.
I had a conversation with a grown man the other day, that I found out sits at a computer all day, with little interaction with people. Now I am 20 years old a Sophomore in college and grew up into technology, this was a man well into his forties. When we had this conversation you could clearly sense the lack of personal skills this man had, I was a college student striking every question. These weren’t even things that interested me that we were talking about I just knew how to hold the conversation so that things didn’t get awkward. So think that if this can happen to a man in his forties who has only been around technology for about 10 years of his life, how bad can it impact your kids, who are around it every single day using it every hour, and not being able to function without it.