Over the last week both the New York Post and Fox News reported that parents tend to spend more time with their phones than they do with their children which shows me the downward slope continues. I was alarmed by the findings a few years ago when Pew research noted that parent spend an average of 19 hours a week with their children and that included both discipline and general caring like bathing and feeding. Is it any wonder that the new Barna Research report that came out earlier this month shows that only 1/3 of young adults feel cared for by others?
The report says that Millineals and Generation Yers feel connected to the world on a global scale and are passionate bout what is happening out there. However, only 33% feel that someone they know personally cares about them and what is happening in their lives. This tells me that we as adults are failing to connect with our kids. When a whopping 66% feel disconnected in their lives I call that an epidemic. As a parent coach this has been my concern for many years as parents often talk about quality-time. Let me say this with as much honesty, straight forwardness and clarity as possible.
QUALITY TIME IS A MYTH THAT IS SENDING THE NEXT GENERATION INTO A SUICIDE RATE THAT IS THE SCARIEST IN HISTORY!
Our children are just plain lonely. It is so unfair to them. They tare not just accessories in our lives. They need real connection with their parents. Schools have become indoctrination centers where individual children are not important. Getting children into group think is.As a person who is an expert in early childhood education I have seen what group think and grouping children together from an early age can do. We in our society are losing the value of the individual. It is time for parents and the church to get our heads of of the sand and begin acting in the best interest of our babies. The government not only can not do so they are not meant to!
So, what can be done?
- Limit your use of screens There is more and more research showing that interacting with screens are addictive. The interaction with screens stimulate the pleasure center of the brain. Many adults, teens and children are becoming addicted and this leaves those around them without the human interaction they need.
- Talk to your kids. As in have actual conversations with them right from birth and even before. Children especially those under the age of 5 need face to face interaction and communication. it is this communication that prepares them for literacy.Children need to hear 3 million + words to be ready to learn to read at age 5. This comes from conversations, cuddling to read books, bedtime stories etc.
- Do things as a family that does not include screens. Have a picnic at a local park and play games like tag and hide and go seek. Go on a hike and take lots of pictures you can scrapbook later. Start a family reading night. Where you read much loved children novels like Charlotte's Web, or Where the Red Fern Grows. Find a local festival to attend and talk to your kids about what this festival is focused on and why it is important.
- Make at least one night a week screen free night. Have everyone come in plug up and turn of their devices. Make dinner together. Sit down and talk about your day. Then either read your family book or play a boardgames.
- Listen, Listen, Listen Give your child at minimum 15 minutes a day of your undivided attention. Listen to what they have to say. Nothing makes a child feel more loved, accepted, and connected to an adult who they can communicate with openly, honestly, and with loving care. This is probably the number one question I get from parents. How do I get my children to talk to me? My answer make time to give them your undivided attention and do not just hear them listen to them and understand what they at re saying and why they tare saying it.
These five things are not the whole answer. However, they are things you can start doing today that will begin to curb the loneliness issue that is prevalent in our children's lives. I guess what I am trying to say is we are the solution we are looking for to create a space where our children are getting their need met and it takes lots of time and attention. The real problem is that quality time robs our children of what they most need and that is us!
Believe in Parenting