There seems to be an epidemic of uncertainty plaguing today’s parents; a way in which we have not fully claimed our authority to make choices on behalf of our children’s best interest. For our children to feel valued and secure in the world, we must recognize and own that we, not they, are the ones in charge. We are the one’s with the experience and the perspective to make choices on their behalf. Without a secure foundation, we leave our children prey to the vagaries of the world; to those interests that would exploit their innocence, well-being and potential.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the choices being made around technology and children. Somehow the natural order of the parent-child relationship has been commandeered and turned upside down. Instead of the parents deciding what their children will have and be exposed to, we now have policy-makers, marketers and our children’s peers who are overly influencing what shows up in our children’s lives. Overwhelmed by this wave of persuasion, our children come to us imploring, demanding, and wheedling. Instead of staking our claim as the ones in charge, the one’s who get to decide, too many of us cave to this pressure, even when it goes against what we know to be true.
And therein lies one of the greatest assaults to our children’s sense of self-worth. For when we allow, into their lives, something that we know is not good for them, we send the message to them that they are not that precious. That they are not worth the hard work of protecting them. That they are not more important than the discomfort that arises through us having to say “no”. The bottom line is this; they “know” when we say yes to something we are uncomfortable with or do not believe in. And the dissonance that this creates undermines our credibility as their protectors and strips them of their perceived preciousness.
Beyond the specifics of what technologies you allow into your child’s life is the undercurrent beneath your choices. Look around. Why have you said “yes” to the technologies they are engaged with? And have you in any way abdicated your responsibility to be the one in charge; the one who protects them?
(This blog was inspired by and is dedicated to Marilyn)