READ to your kids
INTERACT with your kids
TALK to your kids and with your kids
LISTEN to your kids
PLAY with your kids
ENJOY the time you spend with your kids
BE CREATIVE with your children; with the time you spend with your children; with the way you interact with your children
What I just wrote above is simple. Let me tell you the story of why I am writing this…
I just came back from eating lunch in a chain restaurant. In front of me was a table of 6: 3 adults and three very small young children, two of them in high chairs. One young couple, maybe in their mid-to-late 20s, had a three-year-old and I think close to a one-year. The other woman, about the same age as the other adults, and the other highchair child – maybe about two years old.
In the 45 min. to an hour that I was there at no time did I see them really interact with their children, until it was time to put their clothing on to leave. The oldest child AND the older highchair child were given iPods (or similar) to play with. Every time the kids got itchy the parents shoved the game in front of them.
The adults ignored the children and talked as if they weren’t even there. The toddler kept calling “Mommy” throughout most of this experience when she wasn’t having the electronic device to distract her. At no time did the mother look to see what was drawing the toddler’s attention nor did she answer her/connect with her when her child called for her.
I had two kids of my own (well, still do, but they are grown and married, so kids is relative), so please don’t tell me what it’s like to have a toddler who wants your attention and a younger child. Been there, did it… And loved it, headaches at times not withstanding. I always had books with me, manipulative toys, coloring books/crayons: but always something we could interact with. When I did go out with other adults the kids were not forgotten. They are not surplus seat warmers.
Was I a saint, the bestest parent in the world? I screwed up like we all do…but I did not forget they were there. My life changed, and for the better. These young/new parents have to learn how to change their acts.
When you make the decision to have children, or in some cases keep them, you have a responsibility to the children. Period. No excuses. Nada. I don’r care how tired you are, how many jobs you have to work, how much you may hate your job, or lack of one. Life has changed, and the kids should not suffer for you.
Your adult life of hanging with your friends at lunch or wherever changes. Get used to it, and work on it until they get to the age that they ignore you. It will happen soon enough. But your interaction now can change the world in the way that your children grow up.
This is not the first time I’ve seen this. I had lunch with a family about a year or two ago where I was the only one of five adults who tried to interact with older couple’s kid. Her mother even shushed her when she finally noticed that her daughter and I were talking. The other four adults ignored the child. I’ve seen that same thing happen the few times I interact with this family.
It was not my place to tell those parents what I was thinking. I wish it was.
By the way… Today is World AIDS Day
For everyone who has lost someone, or is in the process of losing them daily
this is dedicated to a friend who gone; he never came out of the closet so I will not name him
he is missed