Are we emotionally neglecting our children?

I came across a blog the other day by Victoria Prooday an occupational therapist and it was called ‘The silent tragedy affecting today’s children’. Link here if you’d like to take a look:

The title intrigued me and I found her article really interesting. The gist of it is, (if you don’t want to read it) Victoria believes that a worrying amount of children today are suffering from mental illness and are in a devastating emotional state. She provides a few stats on the numbers suffering with mental illness, ADHD, depression and the increase in teen suicides which really shocked me. Victoria believes that the increase in these is largely down to us their parents and how we are emotionally unconnected to our children.

She talks about parents who are trying too hard to be friends with their children, parents who are not available as they are digitally distracted, parents who let their kids rule the roost and don’t provide them with good nutrition and sleep etc. It goes on in a lot more detail but the main thing I got from her post was shit! She may have a point!

How many parents are glued to their phone, or relying on the TV to entertain their kids? How many times do you see parents who just don’t discipline their kids and let them have what they want. In my humble, and single perspective I see this quite a lot! I think Victoria is right there is a growing trend where technology is taking over our lives and kids just don’t get the physical and emotional stimulation they need. But this is old news right? And isn’t it bloody hard being a mum? I am not ashamed to say Max sits down to watch a film every afternoon. Why? Because me and him need that time to zone out and relax. I need the time to get things done or just have a cuppa (selfish I know). However, this is only after we have spent the morning either out at a group or done some other activity or errands we have to run, after we’ve had lunch and after we’ve sat down to do an activity at home together. So in my eyes this time out at the end of the afternoon is deserved to both of us! Perhaps I am wrong?

Although we do restrict electronic play for Max, we only got him a tablet last year to help with home educating. Max has always been really good at playing, and by himself when I’ve been busy and this has just continued as he’s got older. If I need to wash up he’ll go ride his bike in the garden, If I need to see to Emelia he’ll do some colouring, but maybe I’ve just been incredibly lucky! Emelia may not be the same at all. If she ends up always screaming for my attention and needs lots of stimulation I can see quite easily how I might use a tablet to entertain her.

Some days I cannot wait for it to be time to put the TV on but I think I’m just like any other mum in that! Some days have been difficult and challenging and it is easier to stick the telly on and forget about it all for a while and sometimes you really need to sort the washing, cleaning, dinner etc and I don’t think parents are wrong for using technology at these times if its not in excess.

I think what got me thinking the most about her blog was how she feels parents do not set limits for their children and allow them to feel entitled with a lack of responsibility. That parents are afraid to say No to their children. Parenting styles have changed so much over the years and these days I do believe parenting is done in a much softer way. We have new types of parenting such as attachment parent, co sleeping (which I do by the way, half the night anyway!), no smacking etc etc but none of these our parents probably did or if they did they didn’t talk much about it. I know my own mum has said that me and Matt parent differently now to how she did, but I always found her to be a bit of a disciplinarian (sorry mum)! Funnily enough now though some of this has rubbed off on me and I would say that I am definitely not a mum who lets my child get away with everything, I can be stern and set rules in place not to the same degree as my mum did but enough for Max to understand there are certain lines you don’t cross. Luckily me and Matt are on the same page with this and really believe children do need some guidance in whats acceptable behaviour and whats not.
This is whats right for us but it wont be for others. What would be really interesting is to see children from all the different parenting styles after they have grown up to see the differences, if there are any.

I think when you get down to the finer details whether you are disciplined or not probably doesn’t affect who we become as a whole, but I do agree all the different environmental factors could. Such as parents who show a lack of interest or love, who don’t discipline or discipline to strongly, being around too much technology and not having a real childhood with friends, physically playing.

One things for sure if the stats are right something is going wrong somewhere. Is it us parents, is it the technology and our culture which seems to only accept the best looking/high accomplishing people as its role models, or a mixture of all of it?

What do you think, I’d love to know!

Love Michelle

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