By Phyllis Rosen There are many people who ask themselves this question every week. Sometimes they can’t seem to think of a reason they ought to attend church. But they come up with plenty of reasons to not go: The kids are a handful…I […]
By Phyllis Rosen Before writing this last article on parenting, I want to state something for the record: I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN! But I didn’t always know that. There were times during their upbringing when I wasn’t convinced they were all that […]
Suppose Queen Elizabeth showed up unexpectedly at your home. How would you respond?
A) Invite her in but continue to watch your Netflix. (only ten minutes left!)
B) Invite her in, talk to her, but at the same time post her picture to your Instagram.
C) Invite her in, make small talk while texting your friends to tell them about her!
D) Invite her in, sit and visit without any devices.
If you had trouble picking D, it might be time for digital counseling. Most adults would never treat a guest with such poor manners. But we seem to forget that our children should also be treated with good manners. In today’s world, many people (parents) have trouble putting away their devices and living in the moment.
Children deserve our full attention. Babies learn how to communicate by watching their parents faces. They observe normal reactions: smiles, frowns, laughter, crying, etc. These non-verbal cues help them learn the meaning of words and actions. Language skills are linked to thinking ability, social relationships, and reading and writing. In other words, the future success of your child depends greatly on their developing good language skills. And that depends on you being in the moment with the child—looking the child in the eye and talking directly to him or her.
Although electronic devices are responsible for much of the distraction parents have while parenting, they are not the only problem. Work, church callings, desire to play (gaming, sports), and even household chores can cause parents to miss wonderful interaction opportunities.
Think play time. Children learn valuable social skills through face-to-face games. Playing games together helps children learn turn-taking, develop motor skills, and acquire conversational skills. Participating in these games requires hands-on for both parents and children.
But even more important than developing skills, children learn what’s most important to YOU by watching where you spend your time and your attention. If you are always on your phone, they quickly learn that that’s what you care about the most. No matter how much you TELL a child “you are important,” a child senses by your actions whether you really mean that or not.
When I was writing parenting tip #8—Play with your kids, I asked my daughter if she remembers playing together. Her answer caught me by surprise. She told me that every time she came and asked me to play with her, I did. Now, not for one minute do I think that is 100% true. I’m sure there were many times when I was too busy to “be in the moment”. But at the same time, it must be true that I stopped whatever I was doing often enough that her perception was that I always took the time to play.
Children grow up. The day will come when the house is empty of children and you have all the time in the world to clean, work, or surf the web. But you cannot recapture the time to get down, look your child in the eye, and listen to his or her heart. Make a commitment now to be in the moment.
For those of you attached to your phones, here are some practical ideas on how to have some device free time:
1. Have certain times during the day when you do NOT access your phone except to answer calls (screen the calls, answer only important ones). This means you are not looking at emails, Instagram, texting, etc.
2. Teach your children about phone-free times. Church, meal time, driving, movies, when company comes for short visits, bedtime, etc.
3. Choose to have device-free outings. When you take your child to the zoo, to the park, etc. decide to put your phone away and just enjoy the interaction. Watch their faces as they discover new adventures and experience the world. Be in the adventure, not posting about the adventure.
Remember, the things you love the most—think children—deserve the most time.
The Sloshen in the Ocean, written by Chelsea Jamison and illustrated by Spencer Bugg, is a delightful children’s book that was accepted by Stance for our Fall 2014 issue. Unfortunately, it was not able to be placed in the printed version of the journal. However, […]
I have a diverse educational background. I attended public school through fourth grade and all of high school. In between, my mother home schooled me and my siblings. I love and admire her so much for home schooling me. I was not an easy child to raise, and my mother was eternally patient. At the time, I resented her for teaching me at home. I desperately wanted to fit in, and I was convinced that my peers were judging me because I didn’t go to public school. Kids can be cruel, but let’s be honest; I was a bit of a drama queen.
I remember one afternoon—I was probably thirteen—I was throwing a teenage tantrum about it. I begged my mother to just let me go to school because I just wanted to be “normal.” She looked at me and asked if I was seriously more concerned about other people’s opinions than I was about bettering myself. I still remember how disappointed she looked when I repeated my desperate teenage desire to “fit in.”
I’m so glad she stuck it out.
I gained so much from my home school education. I complained and complained, but I became an active learner. Instead of taking the easy way and letting someone else be in charge of my education, I took charge. When I did go back to public school in high school, I was a different type of learner. I wanted to do well. I learned from my assignments and got good grades because I wanted to; Because I knew I could.
Every kid is different. My two youngest siblings love home school. They prefer the home environment over the pressure-cooker social situation in public school. I craved that social environment.
It’s not for everyone, but I think for parents who are financially and emotionally able to do so, home school is a great option. It allows children to develop personal responsibility, pro-activity, and a sky’s-the-limit attitude for life.
By Rebecca Hamson Twice a year, Brigham Young University hosts a Boy Scouts Merit Badge PowWow which offers over 30 merit badge classes. Approximately 3,000 boys register for each session, and BYU students have the opportunity to volunteer as the merit badge counselors. This upcoming PowWow, […]