It’s something I observe more and more…parents who are too caught up in their phone (whether it’s a conversation with someone else, checking Facebook or sending a text message) to notice their child. It may be a child crying out for attention, asking a question or making a statement—regardless, the parent is distracted by technology.
This affects the newborn, toddlers, school-aged, teens and even young adults. Their parent’s attention is on the television, computer or some other type of device. And lest you think I’m pointing the finger at others, I must also point it at myself. For I am not immune to this trap. In fact, there have been times I was writing a blog for “Treasuring MOMents” and a child needed me but I was so distracted by my writing, I didn’t give my full attention.
So let me ask you…are you a distracted parent? Is getting the perfect picture for Instagram more important than the fact your child is hungry or needs a nap? Do you spend more time on Facebook than reading to your children? Does the television replace quality time with your kids? Is that phone call more important than listening to your child?
It’s not just devices and technology that distract us as parents. Here’s where I struggle the most. I get distracted by life’s issues. Stress at work, financial concerns, problems with relationships, too much to do and not enough time to do it…and the list goes on.
Too often I allow life’s issues to distract me to the point I miss meaningful moments. Simple pleasures, like hanging out in the living room with my family and sharing some laughs. Or going to our favorite yogurt shop for a treat.
Distractions can also keep us from recognizing bigger moments…an important conversation that would have taken place, a needed hug or the opportunity to speak life into a child’s desperate situation. I often wonder what moments I have missed out on because I was distracted by life’s issues.
So let me ask you…are you a distracted parent? Is the tension in your marriage causing you to snap at your children? Do you take work home—not literally but in the sense you have nothing left to give to your children? Are your worries about paying bills becoming a burden for your children to bear as well?
Let’s face it…distractions abound. But it’s up to us to keep them at bay. That starts by recognizing their existence. Then we acknowledge how they’re a problem. Finally, we take the necessary steps to get rid of them. That will be different for everyone. Here’s one way I’m going to start. When I’m on my smartphone and one of my children speaks to me, I’m going to set it down. What about you? What are some things you will do to get away from distracted parenting?
© 2015, Stephanie Romero