Wes is 6 years old and I often still carry him around. Mostly on my back, because he is 6, but still…I often provide him assistance in transportation and I’m pretty certain the rest of the world stops doing that for their kids around age 3 or 4.
I do this for several reasons.
1) He is whiny
2) He is slow
In my world, any parenting decision that makes the single moment before me easier, is a good decision. I sometimes look at the big picture or the long-term ramifications of my actions. But most of the time – when it comes to parenting – I’m thinking, “Will this make it easier? Then yes. Let’s do it.” So, if I’m in a hurry and he doesn’t want to walk? I carry him. Does this perpetuate his inability to walk on his own for short distances? Yes. But in THAT moment it makes my life easier and for parenting? That’s how I make decisions. Which is why I’m totally going to write a parenting book. Because I’m obviously THE BEST.
But…THIS technique is why my kids don’t really own any of the devices their friends own – like iPads or iPhone Touches.
Well, this reason and the fact that if I had 300-500 dollars to spend on something extra it would not be for THEM, it would be for ME – but still.
We don’t have screens like that in the house for them to play with. Why? Because I would stick it in front of their face ALL OF THE TIME. I don’t have a problem with screens, in moderation, but I would not moderate it. I would be annoyed with them and would basically MAKE them play it all the time. Just to make things easier. And yes, there are “good” games but those don’t usually make things easier. TEMPLE RUN MAKES THINGS EASIER.
I remembered that this weekend when the kids were fighting over the Kindle because I put Temple Run on my phone and BAM! SILENCE. They could both play Temple Run on their own devices. And I finally got some peace and quiet.
But because we don’t typically have separate screens for them to play with (THANK GOD) we are “forced” to find “easier” solutions that are a little better for their brains. Lately – that has been card-playing. When we go to dinner the EASY decision would be to let them take devices so we could enjoy a quiet meal with adult conversation. But since they don’t have devices to take, they take cards.
Now..the PROPER parenting technique would probably be to try to teach them how to behave at meals in restaurants with just us. You know, conversations or whatever, but that is DIFFICULT and my parenting style relies on EASY.
So, we will put off that kind of purchase for as long as possible because it is a crutch I know I would use often and poorly. I recognize my own limits as a Mother and my need to constantly make things EASY no matter what long-term lessons it might teach? Means that I’d not be good at managing screen use WHATSOEVER.