This wasn’t how I thought my first post was going to end up when I first thought of starting a blog, but something happened today that I thought was something most of us can relate to?
It’s something you will almost certainly come across when you become a parent. I’ve been judged and there have times I have judged myself, I’m not going to sugarcoat it.
Today however, I experienced something that has never happened before and I felt the need to share.
My family & I went shopping at an outlet store today, it was my family of 5 as well as my parents who also came along. We would have been there for about an hour in total. About 30 minutes into the shopping, Maddi and Mikayla started getting restless so Andy & I gave them our mobile phones to keep them occupied while were trying to put Mabel to sleep.
An older lady suddenly came up to Andy and asked him “Are these your kids?” to which he replied “Yes, all 3 girls are ours.”
The conversation then continues along the lines of:
Lady: “You’re looking at a child psychologist with over 30 years experience working with kids.”
Andy: “Oh, okay?”
*Andy at this point is thinking she’s about to pitch him something so waits expectantly*
Lady: “Your kids shouldn’t be using the phones like that.”
*Andy is just surprised and not sure what else to say*
Lady: “They’re scrambling their brains and they’re ruining their eyes.”
*Andy’s still in shock and not saying anything*
Lady: “Children shouldn’t be doing this and YOU’RE ruining them.”
Andy: “Okay.. I think that’s enough.”
Lady: “You’ve heard it!” *staring at Andy quite aggressively”
Andy: “Right. I appreciate the advice but I think you should go now. Thank you.”
So, let’s address the elephant in the room. Do your kids use technology? Mine do. There, I’ve said it.
While I may not know exactly how bad it is for my kids, I do assume that letting them use it too much is definitely not a good thing. We try our best to use moderation when allowing them to use mobile phones or the iPads. Moderation is the key word here. Maddi & Mikayla actually have a morning routine where they eat breakfast and get to watch ABC iView Kids. And yes, we occasionally give them our phones to keep them occupied in various scenarios; if we’re having dinner at a restaurant or if we know we need to wait somewhere for an extended period of time. But more often than not, we try to limit the screen time as much as possible and usually bring colour-in books or toys instead when we go out.
Now that lady today is probably correct with her facts. Given her experience, I’m 100% sure she had her own reasons to be angry if she thought we were causing harm to our kids. 99% of the time I would gladly receive this kind of feedback with open arms. I would probably end up taking it on board as it involves my children’s health and at the end of the day; I just want what’s best for them.
What I didn’t appreciate was the way it went down. Had she started off with:
“I’m sorry to disturb you. My name is Jane and I’m actually a psychologist with over 30 years experience and my specialty is with children. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I just wanted to let you know that your kids using mobile phones that closely to their eyes is doing them harm. I won’t intrude any further, but if you’d like more information I’d be more than happy to explain what I’ve learnt from my experience?”
Then the whole interaction would have taken a completely different direction. We would have probably left the conversation humbled, embarrassed, educated and most importantly; grateful. While slightly annoyed at the way she spoke to us, in such a demeaning manner, I do appreciate (and hope) that she only had our kids best interests at heart.
Andy & I were joking around afterwards that if the girls were running around the store and we was chasing after them instead, that same lady probably would have thought: “Look at this couple chasing their their kids around like that. Can’t they just keep them still for the sake of all these other shoppers? Where’s their common courtesy?”
So, there you have it; judgement. Is this something you can relate to? I personally think that as parents, we have to be prepared to be judged and not try to take it too personally.
I hope my first post wasn’t too serious! Hopefully see you around next time.