"I think it's absolutely necessary to let kids get bored once in awhile-that's how they LEARN to be creative."
The reason for writing this blog tonight is that I'm discovering some parenting issues as my 10 & 12 year olds are getting older. As time goes along, I'm seeing more and more how dependent they have become on electronics and how distracted it has made them. I'm wondering: how do I fight this culture and is it a fight worth having?
I see a lot of memes about "when I was your age, I drank out of hoses, walked to school and rode in the back of my dads truck." Well, I undoubtedly agree that it's awesome to have had a more open minded concept childhood and that it creates for extremely resourceful people but times have certainly changed. There are stipulations, stigmas and laws on everything from babysitting, to spanking, to food with certain products to disciplining.
When I was young, my parents were not my slaves nor my play mates. We had our family moments but we learned to cook, clean, do laundry and entertain ourselves at a young age. We used to ride skateboards outside, play baseball with grapefruits, write plays and perform for our parents, play capture the flag, pretend we were professional gymnasts doing competitions in the grass and play touch football. If you'll notice, none of these things require electronics or "stuff". We didn't have the latest, greatest electronics and yet our childhood was fulfilling, creative and fun. We MADE life happen around us and imagined we were in another world! This is lost on my kids.
In the past years, all of the kids have had all the electronics they could desire (lap tops, tablets, tv's etc), plus toys they asked for, popular items they wanted, board games, game consoles, and outside things such as footballs, baseballs, tennis rackets, trampoline, tetherball, hoola hoops and more. Yet, if we take away their electronics, they linger around like zombies without a thought in their heads. They say, "I'm bored, there's nothing to do," to which I respond, "make up a game, do an obstacle course, build a bird house, make up a dance, do sidewalk chalk, play tag," but nothing clicks. What is happening?
So, the issue I'm having is: how do I give them the delight of electronics but yet keep them on a schedule of using their time to PLAY when they seem to no longer know how to play? How do I encourage having fun when I literally send them outside for two hours and I find that my daughter sat on a bench staring at the sky the whole time or my son took a nap on the garage floor? This is not my idea of healthy excersise or play. This culture is killing their beautiful minds and shutting down their imagination.
Im a very artistic individual and I'm trying to encourage them to paint, draw or create things. They have full access to all of my supplies, my daughter has a sewing machine, a pottery set, and tons of craft supplies to do whatever she wants. My son has nice, designer drawing pencils and Lego's, plus "how to" books on paper airplanes or replica comic art. I just don't understand how they are so dependent, if not addicted to technology, because since they were little, we encouraged all sorts of positive creative or athletic and musical talents they showed interest in.
It genuinely feels that the younger culture is becoming like mindless drones. I don't want to be a crippling parent and cause my kids to rebel. I also don't want to be the lazy and liberal mom who wants electronics to consume them.
So, parents and step-parents, what is YOUR fine line? How do you maintain that they use both their own imaginations and their own passions to find hobbies outside of x-box and social media? Is there a time limit that is reasonable or fasting periods that should take place? Do you let your young kids use electronics strictly on the weekends and during weekdays focus on school, playing outside, family dinner and reading time?
It's really becoming more difficult as the kids get older and other parents just cram "stuff" down their throats. Games, phones & iPads, which I feel is also building up to severe entitlement.
So parents, what do you say when your child comes up to you and declares, "That's not fair! Alex gets to use her phone every night until 10 pm and she's allowed to text during dinner!" Or "why can't I get that video game for Christmas? Everybody my age is getting that game this year!" (Even though it's extremely violent with serious profanity for ELEVEN year olds!)
Thoughts!!?? How do we raise our kids during this time and maintain some normalcy? My husband thinks we need to BUY them more things to entertain them but I whole heartedly disagree with this. They have so much stuff that every 6 months I am taking a car load to Goodwill. They have so much stuff, many Christmas items never even make it out of the boxes and clothing never even gets the tag torn off.
I want to be the best parent I can be and I don't want my kids to be mindless or co-dependent. I want them to be resourceful, creative and know how to survive a day without a phone or video game.
I am all ears, friends!! Chime on in!
With the divorce rate at 50%, that means many blended marriages and "step" children to follow..Someone needs to voice this! It's tough! Nitty gritty! Hardcore and without exception of blame! This blog is to not just inform but solidify how difficult, awkward and how severe the power struggle can be as a "step-parent"