Friday, February 07, 2020

5 Parenting Tips In The Digital Age

Technology has advanced so fast in the last 20 years, putting the world in a digital age that has changed the way many people parent their kids. It was not so long ago that life in this world was so much simpler, less complicated compared to what we have now.  While it is true that there is such a thing as "the generation gap" a term first used in the 60's, when the younger generation seemed to go against everything their parents had previously believed in terms of music, values, governmental and political views as well as cultural tastes, this "gap" is more pronounced in this present generation, among the so called Millennials, or those born between the mid-1980's and early 2000.

I am part of the Baby Boomer generation and was lucky enough to have young parents who could relate to much of what was happening to the world during those years. There was not much "gap" between us, they were both my parents and my friends. 

But parenting is very different now-a-days.  My millennial children are Generation Y and Generation Z.  If I had no generation gap with my Mom as I was growing up, there was definitely one now when it comes to our different parenting style. You see, when my parents were raising me and my brothers, technology was very basic and not accessible to most households, except maybe for radio and television, cassette and video players, cameras, and basic mobile phones. My Dad bought our first black and white television in the mid-60's and I remember spending many of my afternoons watching cartoons and old Filipino movies. But, that's about it. There were only 2 channels and shows start at noon and end at midnight. In the 60's up till the mid-90's we read books, played with neighborhood kids, interacted with people and did so many other things.  Today, I can see children as young as 1 or 2 years old holding gadgets in their small hands. 

So, what can parents do in this digital age?

1. Set Limits - My pre-teen is into mobile games but, she can only use her phone once she is done with homework and her chores. She usually gets an hour or two screen time during weekdays, and a little more on weekends or when there are no classes. I am glad that her school does not allow phones or gadgets in school except for school occasions and extra-curricular activities.  

2. Monitor and check what your kids watch online - My daughter cannot get into her Facebook and FB Messenger account without passing through me because only I know her user name and password. For other social media like You Tube, she uses my account.  In that way, I can check everything she watches.

3. Encourage other interests - Technology is just one of the many things a child can be engrossed with. I try to motivate my daughter to explore other activities that she might like to do.  She likes dancing and enrolled in ballet classes, but after a year, she decided to take a break.  When I asked her why, she said wants to do pointe now but, it seems that it will take more time to reach the level where she can do it. I told her that she needs to practice more and wait, but then again, she is at an age where patience is not yet a virtue. I guess when she is ready to go back...she will...until then, there are other mountains to climb.

4. Make conversations - Always give time to talk with your child.  Oftentimes, I get so busy with work that I find myself so tired by the time I get home.  Because of my tight schedule and as time goes, my pre-teen and I share less common interests.  Realizing this, I have made it a point to make myself available whenever she says, "Mom, can we talk?". This usually happens when the house is quiet and people are in their rooms preparing for bed. 

5. Be a Good Role Model - Walk your talk. It is easy to make rules but those rules should also apply to us who make them.  So when I say, no cellphones during mealtime, that includes me too.









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