When I Was Your Age… How Parents Make Comparisons with their Kids’ Experience

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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About author

Tannaz Psychology
Tannaz Psychology 10 posts

I, Tannaz Moein M.S., am a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern (LPC-I) supervised by Dr. Dean Aslinia. I received myBachelor’s degree in Arts of Psychology from University of Texas at Dallas, Master’s degree in Science of Counseling at Southern Methodist University, and am currrently working toward my Doctor of Psychology degree from Southern California University. I work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and the elderly population. I have also gained advanced training in substance dependency, adolescence counseling, and crisis intervention. As an Adlerian counselor, I believe people are holistic, phenomenological, creative, teleological, and social. In counseling, I pay close attention to the importance of the complete system of individuals. I believe in experiences, consciousness, and that people are creative and can shape their own personality and have the freedom to affect their destiny.

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  1. Thom Slade
    October 30, 09:42 Reply
    If you can't beat them, join them. To start with I am pretty terrible at video games, and I get motion sickness. But I also realize that joining your teens and their friends in a round of Modern Warfare may not sound like a relaxing evening but you can get a glimpse into where they are in their lives and how they interact with each other. (Tip, find a corner, back into it and just wait the little screen cheats out. Also helps with the motion sickness...) I also found that this period doesn't last forever. Both my boys went through stages were they could loose hours playing online. Then between sports and girls.. they eventually play less and focus on new things. So enjoy and get involved where and when you can. Thom.
  2. Kelly
    November 06, 02:09 Reply
    Thanks for sharing. Great tips and some great insights into how children think and feel today. I'll try out your suggestions and let you know how they turn out. I usually find that finding a common ground, something that you are both interested in, is great, but I'm also open to trying things that I might not be interested in, but that the kids might be interested in.
  3. Ramona
    November 13, 16:22 Reply
    Excellent Ideas! I grew up in an age where video games became more of a pastime than playing outside with friends. Although I dabbled in a bit of both, video games grabbed my attention more so. I don't believe it has to be an either or thing. There are days where you can have a picnic in the park, go bike riding, fly a kite, go to the beach. Nevertheless, there are days where I'd prefer a good movie, playing a video game, reading a book, and staying inside. Great article!

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