timberland sales A parenting dilemma
Dear Tracey >> I just spent 10 days with my daughter, my son in law and their two children, ages 5 and 7. It was a wonderful visit. I love seeing all of them.
But, I left feeling sad about how my grandchildren are being raised. My daughter and her husband are good parents, very loving. Maybe the problem is that I can relate to parenting these days?
It just that both of them work incredibly demanding jobs at huge corporations. The television goes on as soon as everyone gets home from work and daycare and the kids plop down in front of it until suppertime. Every night, I watched those two exhausted parents, who answered their cell phones no matter what was happening, scurry through dinner and baths. Finally, they trundled the kids off to bed, reminding them that they have half hour with their iPads and then it lights out.
I asked if it was OK if I read to the kids each night. I think that may have irritated my daughter, but she said yes. (I love snuggling up with those precious children, reading to them as I had always done to my own.) They didn seem to miss their iPads.
One night when I came out from reading to the kids my daughter looked at me and said, hope you understand that it isn like when you, a stay at home mom, were raising us. We doing the best we can.
Do I keep my mouth shut or do bring up what I think they are all missing as a family, time spent together without all of the electronic devices? Signed, Grandma
Dear Reader >> After reading your email I knew I had to begin my response with a confession. Like you, I have a very strong preference for free parenting. I think today children are suffering from all of the electronics they are exposed to. Sadly, excessive screen time has become the norm, in spite of reputable research that has established the negative consequences of too much screen time for children.
I get it that many of today parents are exhausted. They work long days, often with a long commute tacked on, only to have their family time at night interrupted by cell phones and text messages. Knowing how and when to draw some healthy boundaries eludes many of the brightest parents.
But your question is, do you bring up any of this with your daughter? I think she may have already given you the answer and it no. Consider her statement: it isn like when you, a stay at home mom, were raising us. We doing the best we can.
While she seemed to acknowledge the shortcomings of their parenting, she was also telling you that they are resigned to their situation. It sounds like she already feels defensive about their parenting, which is hardly an invitation to hear what you might have to add.
If, at some point your daughter gives you an opening, by all means, weigh in. But be very careful about your approach. Acknowledge that yes, you were mothering under different circumstances. Let her know how much you appreciate how hard she and her husband work. Ask her if she is happy with the way things are and if not, what can improve their situation?
In the meantime, on a very tangible level, ask your daughter if you can connect with your grandchildren one or two nights a week at bedtime. Thanks to technology you could be reading them bedtime stories via your computer. This would be a wonderful way for you to have time with your precious grandchildren while offering them a healthy alternative to their iPads.