According to Mr. Webster the definition of “parent” is:
- one that begets or brings forth offspring
- a person who brings up and cares for another
- an animal or plant that is regarded in relation to its offspring
- the material or source from which something is derived
And the definition of “parenting” is:
- the raising of a child by its parents
- the act or process of becoming a parent
- the taking care of someone in the manner of a parent
If only parenting was as simple as it’s definition. The definition of parenting could actually take up the whole dictionary if you ask me. Just look around the web at all the advice and guides to parenting books…people make money trying to explain parenting! The reality is, you can find advice and opinions that point anyway you want them too. Of course there are the obvious do’s and don’ts of parenting. Like don’t leave your baby alone in the bath tub or do hug and kiss your child every day. Then there are somethings that come up after experience and after you’ve been exposed to a new perspective. And you realize the only way to be a good parent is to make certain sacrifices for the well being of your child.
Before having a baby my husband and I always made comments like “we are going to make our child play outside” or “our child is not going to be one of “those” children who is glued to an iPad.” Simple enough right? No.
What I’ve realized over the past couple months, as my baby has become more and more aware of what we are doing around him, it’s inevitable that he will use technology more than we’d like…unless we set an example, starting now. My husband and I are always on our phones, ipads, or watching TV. I’ve even noticed during feeding sessions, that I am playing on an app, Dillon will look at me, wondering what I am up to, realizes whatever I’m doing is more interesting than what he is doing, and so he wants to check it out. So even from his extremely young age, he is starting to learn and see how often we use our technology. How can we expect him to play with toys and play outside, if we ourselves are always playing with apps? Well guess what, our phones are NOT more interesting than what he is doing. I want him to know that I think he is more important and by far more interesting than whatever is going on on my phone. We’ve got to set the example.
We’ve always gone on walks and of course we play with him all the time. And we would NEVER choose a phone call or playing a game over taking care of him. This is not at all suggesting that we do that. But I would like to challenge myself to “put down the phone” or “put down the iPad” whenever I can. Especially during feedings…I want to focus on Dillon, and make sure that time is HIS time. It is OUR time and it will only be OUR time for so long.
This is part of parenting. Recognizing something that will influence the life and personality of your child, deciding if it’s sending the right message, and doing something about it if it is not. And setting an example for how you’d prefer them to be. You are never going to prevent every little thing or bad habit so there is no use in stressing over it. But when you’ve realized an area that you could work on to better your child, you best do it!
So this is me, challenging myself to be a “parent” and not an “iParent.”