When I Was Your Age… How Parents Make Comparisons with their Kids’ Experience
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a parent compare their childhood experiences to their child’s and expect them to lower their expectations with the classic “When I was your age…” statement, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now.
Let me pose ask a question: If someone had handed you an iPad when you were 10 years old would you have rejected it? If you had access to video games when you were a child would you have still played in the streets? I highly doubt it. Not only you wouldn’t go outside, but all the kids in your neighborhood would probably end up at your house to check out your iPad and video games.
Consciously or unconsciously, we expect our children to feel guilty for playing with their electronics when we expected them to feel happy and excited when they received it from us as a Christmas gift! This is so confusing to kids. Children lack the logical thinking ability to understand limits and we, as caregivers and parents, are responsible to guide them rather than supply unrealistic expectations and comments that cause kids to feel guilty.
Telling your child that they should be outside playing when all their friends are inside is like your great grandmother asking you to stop using the microwave, calling you selfish and lazy, and telling you to start making a fire!
It’s not realistic to expect your kids not to use electronics when other kids are caught up with the latest games and technology. It makes them feel left out, they will feel resentment towards you, and it can be damaging to their self-esteem.
The games that were attractive to your mother were not attractive to you as a child just as the games that were entertaining to you as a child aren’t entertaining to your kids.
If you want your kids to get out there and take a break from electronics, go with them! Make play dates with other parents, plan a picnic, google fun outside games, and engage with them rather than complaining about their interests and punishing them for using what you bought them.
Tips for Managing Technology Use
Limit electronic usage to an hour a day and TV use to two hours a day.
Tell kids stories about when you were young but do not compare.
Level with your child and try to understand them. It’s a tough world out there.
Come up with new things to do with your kids rather than the usual dinner-and-movie family nights.
Start crafty projects with them to connect.
Be patient and forgiving as they grow.
Encourage and positively challenge them every day to apply something they learned online to a real-world activity!
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