I Don’t Want Parents to Feel Guilty, I Do Want Them to Trust Their Child More

Limiting screen time or even going full bore screen free has been equated with some kind of super-involved, activity-curating parenting. If you walked into my home, you would know this is quite a myth.

We may have more “messes” and odd “junk” lying around than the average family, but perhaps less parent involvement. I do love to play with my kids and do it quite often. But, my husband and I both work, I run every day, we always cook at home and like to talk to each other once in a while. That means I cannot possibly be playing with my children all the time.

Being Screen Free Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Take Time for Myself

“I need a moment’s peace,” or “I refuse to feel guilty about screen time when it’s the only way to make dinner,” imply that those parents who don’t utilize screens in this way take no time for themselves. I think it’s quite the opposite.

It’s actually rather narcissistic to believe that we are the center of our child’s universe. We are critically important, but make no mistake, your child is the center of their world.

Let me also say that I bear no grudge or judgment against parents who do use screen time in a limited fashion for specific purposes. However, I do disagree with the idea that it is typically necessary.

Being Screen Free Does Mean I Trust my Child

When I go for a run, do yoga, make dinner, read, talk to my husband, filter through permission slips and bills, or any other activity that requires my full attention, I trust my child to find something to do. This is called “self-directed play” and it means that I recognize the need to get out of my child’s way, at times. I think this sends a very different message than handing over a screen when I cannot pay attention. To me, handing over the screen seems kind of apologetic, “I’m so sorry I can’t pay attention to you. Because I feel guilty about that, here’s some curated, highly engaging content so you don’t have to be aware of my lack of attention”

I want my child to know I cannot pay attention to them sometimes. I want them to sometimes struggle with that. I want them to know that I believe they can do it. They can handle the struggle. They can find something interesting and creative to do that is far better than anything I could curate for them. I want them to have continuous small exposures to negative emotions (jealousy, boredom, loneliness), so they do not feel the need to distract themselves from these emotions later in life.

Read the full article at Screen Free Parenting here