So my question of the day is, when is that pivotal point where kids realize that listening to their parents is optional? I remember not that long ago, when my now 5 year old, would be devastated if I even hinted that he wasn't being a good listener. His pre k3 teacher even commented that he would randomly ask if he was being a good listener at preschool. Nowadays, he could give a rats about being a good listener. I sometimes feel like he strives to see exactly how terrible of a listener he can get away with being. He's not a bad kid by any means and I'm not talking negatively about him, but the days of him striving to be a "good listener" are extinct. And my middle boy, who's only 3, has already come to the understanding that consistent listening isn't a requirement. I'm pretty sure that comes with the middle child package though...monkey see, monkey do. I look at my almost 7 month old and wonder what she's going to be like. When will I go wrong and give her the notion that what I say can be ignored or needs to be repeated an absurd amount of times before it's heeded? I see her watching them and witnessing how things work. I'm sure the time frame of concern for being a caring, good listener, will just continue to shorten per kid.
So what's (who's) to blame? I'm well aware that the majority if not all of this issue is completely parenting related. As in yes, it's all my fault. I think it's just so easy to get caught up in whatever makes this moment easier rather than us all have to suffer if consequences are actually invoked. "Here's your IPad" is said WAY too much by me and maybe that's where the downhill spiral began. Maybe they're just no longer tuned into reality. I sometimes think my 5 year old looks at the kids he watches on you tube as if they're his real friends! I'm 99% sure he thinks "Chase's parents" are way cooler and so much more fun than I'll ever be.
Solution seems easy enough right? Just take the ipads away. I've thought about it and use the excuse that they're growing up in the digital age and are pretty much expected to be able to know how to use one by grade school. And they do offer plenty of educational apps which really are quite helpful in early learning development. I know these are just lame excuses because just like my children are spoiled with having them, I am no different in being spoiled with them having them. "Digital babysitter" indeed. And before everyone starts freaking out, I am aware that just like you have to monitor who comes in your house, you have to monitor who comes on their screens. I've concluded that having them makes parenting life just as difficult as it does in making it easy.
My current method of "fixing" the no listening, overly IPadded issue, is to take it away constantly as a consequence, because it's a great loss, and trying to distract them enough doing other things so that they don't want to play it. I want my kids to have the advantages new age technology has to offer, but still want them to have a sense of self and realize the difference in the digital world and reality. I know that no parent is perfect and there really isn't a cut and dry, right or wrong way of doing it. No matter what, my kids are going to have some sort of adult issue that stems from their childhood. It seems inevitable in this "blame somebody" world we live in that whatever your problem is, it's not your own fault. I'm doing the best I can to equal out the crazed, me screaming "DO YOU HEAR ME?" at a sound level I didn't even realize I was capable of, with fun, happy, playful, and plenty of "I love you's" and reminding them that they're the best parts of my life. I never once thought growing up that being a parent could and would be so damn hard. Do you hear me?