We've all been there—a whining toddler, an implacable preschooler, a moody big kid, ready to leave, ready to be somewhere other than where you are at that moment. Whether it's a school meeting, a doctor's appointment or restaurant, when the grump strikes, it's time for the tablet or the phone. And since we've all been there, chances are good that we've all heard the snide comments: "Lazy parenting," "too much screen time," "kids don't stand a chance." A thousand different flavors of superiority from the peanut gallery.
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One mom finally had enough. In a Facebook post, blogger Laura Mazza, describes one such incident where she had finally had enough. "I was at a party and my son was being whiny as we were not ready to leave. I tended to my other two children and handed him his iPad to watch some videos. Out comes Cathy (not her real name) 'I would never give a child an iPad, that’s just lazy parenting in my opinion' quietly, albeit loud enough so I could hear." Mazza fought back her first instinct, which was to tell Cathy "exactly how I am not a lazy parent and she can piss off" and decided on a different tactic.
"Instead I smiled and asked, 'why do you think it’s lazy?'" according to her post. Cathy then went on to explain how she would send her kids outside to play with their cousins or their aunt would read to them while Cathy was busy. "Instead of actually doing things, people sit on phones instead of communicating, and parents don’t have to parent, they just give them mind-numbing devices where they don’t learn anything. Children grow up not normal” Cathy replied.
Mazza was not having it. "As a parent navigating this new world and a world of technology, It’s a very scary time. We are having to navigate this world without the support system that once existed. I’ve had no support, no aunties and uncles sitting inside my house," she wrote. "No big village. The internet has become my village."
This is true for many parents today. For better or for worse, technology is an integral part of our lives and we, especially those of us who are over 40, have had to learn as we go, integrating all these new devices and technologies into our analog upbringing. "However, iPads, iPhones, technology, it’s here to stay," wrote Mazza. "It isn’t going anywhere, and constantly calling parents lazy, or telling parents their children are going to grow up to be criminals because they use said technology serves no purpose other than to burn the village down, a village that is so desperate for stable ground."
And we know that we benefit from tech and our children benefit from being able to use tech. "iPads have provided me FaceTime, where my children can see their grandmother in America," she continued. "Where they can be kissed goodbye at night by me when I’m working late. Where they can learn the manners I enforce in a sing-song way while I cook their dinner, in the absence of their aunties and uncles."
Then, she laid it all out, saying what we all want to say. "If you don’t support a parent in their fears, their struggles, their choices, the life that is presented to them, you certainly don’t support the child. And as a parent of this generation, frankly, we are sick of hearing it. So as a parent yourself, of once younger children, rather than judging my parenting from a time that is different from yours, perhaps you could find ways to encourage me or help me."