“I was at a party and my son was being whiny as we were not ready to leave. I tended to my other two children and handed him his iPad to watch some videos.
Out comes Cathy (not her real name).
‘I would never give a child an iPad, that’s just lazy parenting in my opinion’ quietly, albeit loud enough so I could hear.
I went to open my mouth to tell her exactly how I am not a lazy parent and she can piss off, but instead I smiled and asked, ‘Why do you think it’s lazy?’
Shocked, she replied ‘Well instead of actually doing things, people sit on phones instead of communicating, and parents don’t have to parent, they just give them mind numbing devices where they don’t learn anything. Children grow up not normal’ she said, ever so smugly.
I then asked, ‘So when you had your kids, you didn’t give them iPads?’
‘No’ she said ‘they didn’t exist. They played outside with their cousins, or their aunties read to them while I was busy with my other two children.’
I smiled, and then explained this to her (not verbatim).
I am a parent that grew up using a rotary phone. I am one that have seen the World Wide Web expand to what it is now. I have seen both sides of the coin, and now I am a parent in this world of one side.
As a parent navigating this new world and a world of technology, It’s a very scary time. We are having to navigate this world without the support system that once existed. I’ve had no support, no aunties and uncles sitting inside my house. No big village. The internet has become my village. And sometimes it’s a cruel one. I can spend time online and I’m already told all the ways I am doing it wrong.
You could blow smoke in your child’s face and get them to fetch you a beer. No repercussions would come your way. I could let my children roam free, like yours once did, but no sooner than later would someone record it on their phone, post it in a parenting group and I’d having threats to child protection because I let my child roam free.
The world is very different now. As is the technology provided to us. As is the rules, the laws, the village provided to us. Every generation has had their struggle, and this is mine. Were you perfect at navigating them? Because I know I’m still learning… and perfection as a parent, is somewhat unattainable.
However, iPads, iPhones, technology, it’s here to stay, it isn’t going anywhere, and constantly calling parents lazy, or telling parents their children are going to grow up to be criminals because they use said technology serves no purpose other than to burn the village down, a village that is so desperate for a stable ground.
iPad’s have provided me FaceTime, where my children can see their grandmother in America. Where they can be kissed goodbye at night by me when I’m working late. Where they can learn the manners I enforce in a song song way while I cook their dinner, in the absence of their aunties and uncles.
I am my child’s village now, so every time you insult a parent, belittle one, or make backhanded snide remarks, you crush my confidence and burn down my village. Because if you don’t support a parent in their fears, their struggles, their choices, the life that is presented to them, you certainly don’t support the child. And as a parent of this generation, frankly, we are sick of hearing it.
So as a parent yourself, of once younger children, rather than judging my parenting from a time that is different from yours, perhaps you could find ways to encourage me or help me.
And that applies to anyone, next time you feel like berating a parent for using an iPad or any other form of technology, ask yourself, is my comment helpful? Or do I need to watch some videos of kittens on YouTube?”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza, where it originally appeared. Follow Laura on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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