April 14, 2016

A Few Things on Parenting...

A collection of essays and articles about parenting that I've recently read... I think we are in a pretty sweet phase right now, and we're doing okay so far; but I will never let my guard down. 

A Reconsideration of Children and Screen Time.  These kinds of articles always catch my eye, because we find ourselves flying blind when it comes to managing the amount of technology available to our kids today. Ten years ago I didn't own an iPhone or iPad. The world changes rapidly, and we're working to stay informed to know how to navigate as parents. I'm finding that it really comes down to trusting my gut, and then reading and talking to others to confirm my instincts.  The boys are now doing a lot of their homework online, so our old rule of "no screen time during the week" has now changed to "no games during the week - educational sites only". We react and adjust and try to keep up. Stay vigilant, everyone. It's only going to get harder as they get older, and it's important.

How to Stop Sibling Fights.  I wish there was an easy answer to this one. My boys swing so wildly from love to hate. I know it's harder in the winter, and this one was particularly tough; and I'm very ready for summer to take them back outside to play - and hopefully play nicely - together.

Our Push for Passion, and Why it Harms Kids.  I think about this a lot. I have friends and family members who are so identified by their passions.  I think of my one of my cousins - when you think of her, you can't help thinking of yoga and ultimate frisbee and her children. Another friend often says that he loves music, New Orleans, his friends and family, and that's about it.  As kids in today's world, they're on a path where there is a pressure to define themselves this specifically and to become an expert in their chosen field. College applications demand it. It feels at odds with my desire to raise well-rounded boys who have the opportunities to become exposed to so many things. I think about myself, too - I am interested in many topics, but I'm not sure I ever found a "passion", and I certainly didn't have one when I was younger.

Another essay on parenting - Are we getting a raw deal?  I liked this one.  I like any reminder that while we should give our kids the freedom to be kids, we should also remember that we're raising them to be independent adults. Adults who know how to clean a toilet and pick up their room and mow the lawn. Adults who can appreciate what they have and all that their parents do for them.

Where's the magic in family dinner?  I loved reading this.  Many nights, our dinnertime lasts about 10 minutes and involves a lot of me coaching manners.  "Sit up!" "Eat over your plate!" "Chew with your mouth closed!"  But when the boys look back, I want them to remember that I cooked dinner for them and I took the time to eat dinner together as often as possible.

It Goes So Fast (Not a Parenting Essay).  In the midst of all the parenting, don't forget that you have your own life to lead.

Oh, and I meant to include this great one from Jenny at Dinner: A Love Story.  I'm putting Catastrophic Happiness on my to-read list.

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