2010 14/09

The Perils of Parenting

Did any of you watch Dateline last night?  It was titled: The Perils of Parenting.  I’m usually not really into the whole “dissect the world of parenting for me, oh great and wise news media,” but this particular one got me thinking on a number of topics.

They covered the typical parenting issues — bullying, “stranger danger”, teenage driving.  But a few of these actually hit home for me this time.

Stranger Danger

I hadn’t given much thought to this until this summer when Abbi, my 4 year old, decided to wander off a few times.  The first time we were visiting Tim’s family at a local campground and, when I thought she was at the playground, she had wandered over to another camper to play with a little boy and his trucks.  Seems harmless enough, right?  Except when I didn’t see her at the playground and then couldn’t find her anywhere, not even after searching the entire campground for 20 minutes.  I’ve never been so scared. The second time was when we were downtown during the Street Performers and Abbi wandered off to watch one of the jugglers.  But I couldn’t find her.  Again, scared.

So I used those moments in time to talk to Abbi about strangers and the dangers of wandering off.  The problem….I wasn’t quite sure what to say.  I mean, I didn’t want to completely freak the child out but I also wanted her to have a healthy fear that there are some bad people out there.  I truly felt like I was walking a tight rope during the conversation.  At any moment I could screw things up completely.  We definitely need to revisit this conversation again.  And again.  Seriously you guys, this whole responsible parenting thing is kind of hard!

Cell phones

No, I’m not talking about your teenagers who seem to be attached to that cute little wireless device.  I’m talking about you. About me.  About the parents!  I’m a little amazed at how addicting those little beasts can be!  Emails.  Texts. Games.  Quick, just let me check Facebook.  And I just need to make sure the Twitter-verse hasn’t fallen out of rotation without me. Mommy just needs to take this one short phone call, promise! It becomes so out of control so quickly.  And I’m the first to raise my hand as guilty.

So absolutely guilty!  I spend way too much time on my phone.  Not talking on it but checking emails, Twitter, Facebook, looking things up on Google.  Next thing I know I have cranky, whiney kids and I’m sitting there wondering why.

I was surprised at how, while watching that Dateline episode, quickly I felt convicted.  They set some kids in a room and Kate Snow, the reporter, talked with them about how they felt when their parents were on their cell phones so much.  Ouch!  But the part that really hurt was the fact that I know my girls would have been, could have been, sitting right there talking about how much mommy was on her phone, mimicking me texting and tweeting.  Ouch!

Here is a little clip from the Dateline special:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

So, it looks like I have some work cut out for me.  Okay, maybe just one big job.  I need to put the freaking iPhone away and talk to my kids.  How tough can that be?

No, really people, how tough is this going to be for me?  I might need to tweet for reinforcements in an hour or two.  But, wait, wouldn’t that be me using my phone?  Damn it!  Foiled again!!!

Oh, and if you didn’t get a chance to watch that Dateline episode last night, their website says that the full hour will be available sometime this afternoon: Dateline.msnbc.com.


  • Gutcheck. Absolutely guilty. Right here. I have taken to leaving my phone upstairs in my room until the girls are in bed. What call could be so drastically important that I can’t miss it and return the call later?

  • I know Lindsay! I left my phone in my bedroom for a while this morning it was amazing how different the morning went! I’m definitely going to work on leaving my phone in my room more! If it rings then I will most likely still hear it but at least I won’t be tempted to check emails and twitter! Out of sight, out of mind!!

  • It’s not just parents! Sometimes it feels good to leave the phone behind turn it off.
    I’m finding the busier I am, the less the desire is there.
    20 minutes in the morning, 20-60 at night, coinciding with watching news, but this replaces reading a book, so it’s a toss up… & if I could trade that for human interaction?
    I *try* not to pull it out when I actually get to spend time with friends & family, it’s a hard habit to break.

  • Kate,
    Isn’t it amazing how addicting those little cell phones are? My next goal is to get my husband and I to have some cell phone/computer/ipad free time together. I think we both have the same problem!

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