IPads and Parenting

My parents had it easy, technologically speaking. I’m 35 years old and I remember when my parents only had to deal with the TV and the Atari games. Currently, I have to deal with my children using the iPad, TV and the DVR, the computer, video games, smartphones and social media websites. I am a fan of technology but I’m trying to find a way to have it all work together and minimize the fighting that goes on between the kids.

My children are eight, four and two. They’re all professionals at using the iPad. I didn’t have to teach any of them how to use it or where to go to find their favorite app. My oldest child knows how to read so she finds her games easily. The younger one can identify the apps by the icons. I let all of my children use the iPad or tablet frequently because I control what games or apps they download. On my iPad, most of the apps are educational with a few dress up and car games. They’re still all too young to have their own Apple IDs and passwords.

Since purchasing the iPad, the computer and video game systems have become obsolete to my children. They still watch TV but it seems off more than on. The TV keeps them in one room while the iPad enables them to move from room to room. Whenever I need to accomplish something in a different room, I prefer them to watch TV versus the iPad.

The iPad and our smartphones are patience-savers especially when you go out to a restaurant. I remember when I was pregnant with my youngest, my middle child was two, we went out to dinner as a family and all she wanted to do was to run around the restaurant. In order to get her to sit in the high chair without screaming, my husband broke out his iPad. Back then, we used to get looks of disdain from other patrons but now it’s the norm. Nowadays, almost every child has their head down playing a game or watching a move in the restaurant. iPads, tablets and smartphones are the perfect going out accessory for children of all ages.

Technology provides excellent learning tools for children. Technology has changed the way parents parent their children and its always changing. It can be hard to keep up with the new gadgets and gizmos on the market but life is always changing so adaptivity is important.… Read the rest

A Defensive Stance on Stay-At-Home Parenting

Recently I read something demanding to know why stay-at-home parents automatically jump to the defensive side. The simple answer- society has painted the stay-at-home parent into a corner where the simplest comment can come off as an attack.

In an economy that almost requires two incomes just to make ends meet, society puts the blame on the parent that's not working when times get tough for the family. This is not fair. I know the contributions I make to my family are far greater than any monetary gain I would make if I were employed full-time. I know my children are safe and fed. I know what they are being exposed to. That, to my family, is the most important role I can play.

There's also the question of codependency. To this, I say, children need to be taken care of. They need to know they are loved and when darkness falls someone will be there to have their back. Codependency results come from a child not having room to grow and explore, NOT by having a parent around to guide and encourage them. In fact, proper guidance and encouragement can lead to higher self-esteem, in turn leading to a stronger, more independent individual.

Last, but certainly not least, is the stigma surrounding the stay-at-home parent: that they just lay around all day and do nothing. This is not the case at all. As a stay-at-home mom I can tell you my work is never done. There's always toys to pick up, or dishes to do, or meals to cook, the list is endless. To someone who faces these chores day after day, the idea that they don't "work" is highly offensive.

I'm not saying working parents aren't good parents. I've said on other occasions that what is right for one family won't necessarily be right for another. I honestly believe this, but I also believe that children are becoming so out-of-control and disrespectful because moms are returning to work (either out of necessity or desire) too soon in a child's life. I think, because of this, more and more people- children especially, are losing sight of family values.

Parenting choices are among the most important and personal choices you will ever get the honor of making. Each person is entitled to their own ideas and the ability to put those ideas into action. Rather than outsiders worrying about who will be working and who will be caring for the children, why don't we all start focusing on what's really important- the children?… Read the rest

Parenting in Someone Else's Home

Combining families is one way to survive tough economic times. Parenting in someone else's home involves a lot of compromise. There are bound to be parenting disagreements and blunders along the way. I consider myself lucky to have my daughter and grandchildren in our home for an extended stay. Still, we have our issues, most of which have been solved with some well thought out preparation. Hopefully some of these parenting tips will be helpful to others in our situation.

Have a family meeting before you combine families. As soon as my daughter arrived from out of state, we all got together in the back yard to discuss our expectations. My daughter and I have similar parenting ideas but they are not exactly alike. We included the kids in the meeting so they would know what was expected of them too. We used the family meeting to come up with basic house rules and the consequences of not going along with the those rules as well.

Be a considerate parent house guest. Once again, I'm lucky I have the daughter I do. Kids can be quite destructive, by intention or not. When you're combining households, be considerate of the damage your children might do to the other person's home. Have a hands off rule where the belongings of others are concerned. You might have to keep a closer eye on them than you would in your own house. Pay for any property damages in a timely manner or repair the item in question.

Be sure kids do their share of the housework. Hopefully, as a parent, you know it's your job to make sure your hosts aren't doing all the housework. Treating them as your personal maids can generate anger and resentment. My daughter and her kids all chip in on household chores. It's rare that I have to pick up a mess they've made or put away their belongings. When you're combining families who both have children, this parenting tip makes a huge difference in the way you all get along.

Disagreements on parenting issues will arise. When they do, try to be civil about it. Make an agreement to discuss problems rationally. It's true that you are the parent and have every right to discipline your children as you see fit. However, taking a "mind your own business" stance isn't always logical. When your child's behavior effects other people in the household, your parenting tactics become their business. Try to take their concerns seriously. Work out your differences peacefully.

Give the adults in the household an occasional break from the kids. I love my grandchildren. I spend a lot of time with them. Still, I appreciate bedtime like never before. I've gotten used to my quiet child-free household over the last few years. I'm glad my daughter understands this. She gives me a break from my home-schooled grandkids once a day, during the day, by taking them outside or on school outings. Parenting in someone else's home is … Read the rest