When I wrote my last post, The Trust Approach To Screentime, I read a comment from a mum guiltily admitting to using screentime when she needed a break from her children.
It made me reflect on just how hard it is to be a parent in this modern age. As well as being parents, many of us have responsibilities to work outside the home. We often live away from our families so we also lack support and childcare.
Not only that, unlike previous generations, being a parent these days isn’t just about keeping your children fed and clothed and then opening the front door to let them play outside. We know much more about the close connections our children need to thrive, and so many of us are working much harder than previous generations to be ‘good’ parents, to connect with our children on a deep level, and to listen to their feelings, just like we do with Hand in Hand parenting. All of this work is unpaid and often unrecognised by the larger society.
Plus we live in the digital age, where we’re constantly being bombarded with more and more technology. And not only that, parents often feel shamed and judged when they actually allow their children to use this technology!
I sometimes have these moments when I’m playing with my daughter, and I know my heart’s just not in it. I’m exhausted, and I’m faking it, as I roleplay shops or play Lego. In those moments I often notice that my daughter gets ‘bored.’ Her limbic system (emotional brain) can sense that I’m just not feeling enthusiastic about playing. If we go and watch TV instead, it’s actually a relief to both of us.
When I’m lacking the attention to connect, I try to remind myself that it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault that we live in a capitalist society that doesn’t value the most important job in the world. It’s not my fault that I sometimes get tired. I’m doing the best I can. It’s not my fault that when I was young adults didn’t play with me. It’s not my fault, that we are shamed and judged for not being perfect even though we are all parenting under imperfect circumstances.
So when I’m feeling drained we might have some screentime. And I’ll make a mental note, to find more support for myself, and get some listening time. I don’t want to rely on screentime to get through every single day, and every time I get listened to I get closer to being the parent I want to be.
You might also like:
Hand in Hand parenting’s online self-study course for Building A Listening Partnership