8 Signs You’re Missing Your Kid’s Childhood and 10 Ways to Fix It

BY: - 20 Oct '15 | Parenting

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By: Lia Miller

So we live in the digital age and more relationships than ever are started in the virtual medium. Nothing necessarily wrong there; that’s life today.  However, there is one area in life where a virtual relationship won’t work and where, in fact, living virtually is actually the biggest impediment to a real relationship – the one with your children.

Technology is a tool that you can use to engage and interact with your child, but it isn’t a substitute. We are all too quick to turn on the TV, park the kids in front of a video game or IPad/tablet or other gaming system, while we remain equally engrossed in our cell phones, computers, laptops, kindles, etc.

Related: Feeling unplugged? 3 Ways to connect with your child in the digital age.

Where is the real connection, that in person face-to-face bond?  Where is the interaction? Where is the love?  Our children grow up so quickly and it is a fact that their childhood will end too soon.  So don’t squander their youth or you will regret it and your life-long relationship with your children will be impaired as a result.

You might say this doesn’t apply to your situation and that you are fully engaged with your child.  I hope you’re right.  But here are some scenarios that, if you find yourself relating to them, you’re definitely missing it:

  1. You go to your child’s sporting event and look up periodically from your phone thinking she won’t notice that you are not paying attention to her game.
  2. You keep your phone turned on at all times of the day and allow the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child mid-sentence; always letting the caller take priority.
  3. You check your phone first thing in the morning … even before you kiss, hug, or greet the people in your family.
  4. You neglect daily rituals like tucking your child into bed or nightly dinner conversation because you are too busy with your online activity.
  5. You don’t look up from your phone when your child speaks to you or just reply with an “uh huh” to give the impression you were listening.
  6. You get frustrated with your child when he “bothers” you while you are interacting with an electronic device.
  7. You sigh or roll your eyes when your child asks you to push her on the swing because you are busy on your phone.
  8. You use drive time to call other people instead of talking to your kids.

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If you are engaging in some or all of these activities, you are missing out on your child’s childhood because you aren’t present with them, you aren’t paying attention, and you are prioritizing the wrong things.

Related: “Dear Daughter,” 7 big promises every man should make to his children

If you continue to engage in these types of activities, it is a recipe for disaster.  It is a fact that we live in the 21st century, a fact that we are globally wired at all times, a fact that your job is important and of course you must be responsive to the office.

However, despite all those factors, at some point you must realize that you don’t have to sacrifice your child’s childhood, your sanity, or your life.

There is a better way.  How?

  1. Be intentional with your children.
  2. Meaningfully connect with them.
  3. Make them the priority when you spend time with them and be fully present.
  4. Set distraction-free daily routines with them that are just for you and them and stick to them, i.e. reading before bedtime, or playing board games or puzzles during a family game night.
  5. Look into their eyes when they speak to you and really listen to them.
  6. Love on them, give them affection.  Give a hug, a kiss, a pat on the head, hold hands, and/or a rub on the back.  Loving affection speaks volumes to them at any age.
  7. Let them laugh at and with you.
  8. Tell them you love them for who they are; this is especially important as they become older and start finding themselves.
  9. Ride bikes with them, throw a ball with them in the yard or park, and actively play with them.
  10. Be grateful for them every day remembering they are a gift.

These are only a few examples of ways you can meaningfully and intentionally connect with your children and there are a zillion more.  However, the real “key to the kingdom” is to remove the electronic devices/distractions when interacting with your children.

Bottom line:  Make the time with your kids count, especially since there is precious little of it, and stay focused on what matters most, them!

BMWK, are you focusing on your kids or your electronics?

Lia Miller, known to the blogging world as Lia World Traveler, is the quintessential every-woman, a loving wife and mother, daughter, sister, friend, author/singer/song-writer, movie and book buff, DIY loc’d naturalista, food lover, sports and fitness enthusiast, news junkie, traveling fool, diplomat, diversity/social inclusion advocate, and life-time learner. In both her work and private lives, Lia has seen a lot and done a lot and through her writing; she shares her adventures and insights with you at Life As I See It.

About the author

Lia Miller wrote 22 articles on this blog.

Lia Miller is an every woman, in that she does and is interested in a lot of things. Lia is a wife and mother, ambitious/career focused individual, writer and award winning blogger, do-it-yourself loc’d naturalista, foodie, avid reader, movie buff, sports enthusiast, passionate about music, dance, and the arts, news junkie, advocate for the underdog/under-represented, with an incurable bug for traveling and exploring the world. Lia is also a clinical social worker with a concentration in children, relationships, and family dynamics. Lia’s focus is to find and share how to get the best out of life by living fully, loving hard, and always learning.

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Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should Have Kids

BY: - 22 Oct '15 | Parenting

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There’s a standard life cycle most of us learn to follow.

Go to school – graduate – get a job – get married – have children – struggle – triumph – die.

But just because it’s taught to us doesn’t mean it’s for us. Some people are simply not meant to have kids.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Parenthood is not a road easily traveled. Ask any single parent you know. Ask your own. If you already have your own, you already know. Whether this is year one or year 31, you know the struggle. Parenthood should not be on a person’s default path.

For those of us privileged to guide and shape young minds, it comes at a cost many people – especially today – aren’t willing to pay.

Parenthood comes at the cost of your selfishness.

We’ve heard the horror stories of a parent’s bad decisions on the evening news. It’s one of the reasons I stopped watching. It’s hard to comprehend the pain and suffering some parents intentionally inflict onto their children.

The cold hard truth is some people are not capable of handling the responsibilities of time, self, or sacrifice necessary to mold a young mind and body into a productive contributing member of their society – which is no easy task.

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But let’s simply bring it down a thousand. Forget the overwhelming expectation of cultivating a good and decent human being. Let’s just think about the sleep you’re about to lose during the next two years alone.

If you’re already at the brink of a mental shutdown, the lack of sleep times the pressure of life might be enough to push anyone over the edge. We have to rely on strength outside of ourselves at times to pull through the tough long nights.

Related: Have your children interrupted your marriage?

Knowing whether or not the lifelong commitment to finances, time, priorities, and selflessness are for you or not is a personal decision. Unfortunately, it’s a decision that’s made too late for some – because there’s no sending little mouths back once you’ve introduced them to the world.

It’s only through parenthood that many people learn it wasn’t the path for them. But that “default path” is designed to bind.

And just because the obvious is no longer obvious these days, let me say this – If you’re thinking about having a kid to fix any situation – whatever that situation is (unless it’s for a genetically needed organ for another dying kid), then YOU should not be having kids…………………………..right now. Let me be clear about that one again – “Kids Do Not Fix Anything” – including your relationship, your loneliness, or your desire to be needed.

Related: Can you really afford to have childrent?

I have a beautiful four year old boy and my wife and I are working on his sibling. Even knowing what we know now, the thought of sacrificing more of ourselves for the sake of our family terrifies us.

But we’re also committed to testing our limits together. And as much as we reminisce on our pre-parenthood lifestyle, we know at the end of it all, she and I who are the lucky ones. Parenthood is meant for us, and it makes me grateful.

But if you’re on the other side of that fence, and you know yourself, your lifestyle, your temperament, or whatever else that tells you to avoid Parenthood Lane, then listen. You’re not weird, broken, damaged, or otherwise. You’re self-aware. It’s the best thing a person can be – parent or not.

BMWK, how do you or did you feel about becoming a parent?

About the author

Isom Kuade wrote 70 articles on this blog.

Isom Kuade is a father and a husband, resting his head in the middle of Texas. He's doing his best to adult with purpose and sneak in some good meals along the way. He and his wife tell stories of their triumphs, failures, and biased opinions at pancakesandcider.com.

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