Obama’s parenting advice

If you’re a regular on Facebook, you would have most likely come across this video where President Obama gives family/parenting advice to his interns. It’s great advice. My favourite line was “If you’re going to be home, be home!”

And this is something I’ve struggled with over the holidays. I work from home and with S being home, he’d see me on my phone often. Now I’ve got to be honest. On many occasions it was work but on many it was just Facebook/Instagram browsing. As a blogger I think we’re even more guilty of this because Twitter & Instagram move so fast, take your eye off the ball and you’ll miss something.

Over the holidays I also noticed S getting more whiney. It was most likely a combination of his age, the fact that he had no routine and not always having my full attention when we were at home.

Yesterday was his last day off and I decided we were going to have a phone free afternoon. We went down to our local high street, ran some errands and then went to Wagamama for lunch. Once we ordered our food, I engaged S in conversation by asking him what we did over the Christmas holidays and then asking him to tell me about people in his class, their names, etc. He sat down chatting to me, asked the waitress for children’s chopsticks, asked her for some more water and finished all his food. I can tell you there was a huge difference in him when he had my undivided attention vs. when he didn’t.

If you have to be honest with yourself, how much time do you really spend on the phone? How much of that time is really necessary? This is something I’m going to repetitively ask myself in 2016.

This evening a friend posted an article on Facebook about being married to your phone. And as I read it, I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement. But it also made me feel sad. Since when did our phones become more important than our families? Why do spouses find it easier to message each other rather than have a simple conversation? And the worst thing is that so much is misunderstood on whatsapp/messenger/any other mode of text communication.

Last year sometime I had dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen in years and half way through the meal, she takes out her phone and starts messaging someone. First she said it was her mom and she was letting her know what time she’d be home, so I gave her that. Then 5 minutes later I realised she was messaging a friend. A couple of minutes later, she takes a picture of some ratty looking bracelet on her arm to send to her friend to say “Ha! I took your bracelet when I was at yours and you didn’t realise.” (She told me this). A few minutes later and other guests started whispering and looking in our direction. I wasn’t offended, I know I’m not a boring dinner date, but I was shocked! Why go to dinner?! It goes without saying that I haven’t seen her since.

While I’m grateful for technology and the ability to stay in touch with friends who live on the other side of the world, I also believe phones are killing conversation.

More importantly, I believe our children mirror us and if they constantly see us head down in our phones, it won’t be long before they’re doing exactly the same thing. The next time I’m on my phone and S calls out to me, I will ask myself what’s more important? “This chat/picture/status…or my son?”

3 thoughts on “Obama’s parenting advice

  1. Great post. I always refrain from using my phone when I’m out with friends to give them my full time and attention. Now I’m wondering why I don’t give my own precious children the same courtesy at home. I love the idea of having phone free time. I did that when we went on holiday for a week – definitely recommend!

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