by Meggie S.
It’s sad to see the effort that goes into youth development through some parenting today. In the busy schedules of today’s professionals, it unfortunately is the proper fostering of youth development that seems to get compromised in some cases. The strategy of giving a child a gaming device to play with while waiting in an office for an appointment to keep them busy seems to have been adopted in the home setting as well. Are some parents taking the easy route when it comes to parenting? Are parents themselves living unhealthy lives due to the lack of play with their children? It all seems to be building up.
One article I read was on a study of mothers advancing professionally. It talked about how much of a toll work takes on their lives including their parenting (Lorra, 2010). People are becoming consumed with their jobs and bringing it into their home as opposed to leaving their work at the workplace. They are also at work for so long each day that they have only time to do their household chores and then go to sleep. It is becoming too easy to just hand a child an iPod, or phone, or some sort of electronic gaming device to keep the child busy and safe indoors where they can see them; but what about the child’s development? Children are having far too much screen time per day. There needs to be more play in their day, and I mean physical, creative, imaginative play, nothing electronic. When we consider the effects of physical activity and how it reduces stress, we know that it affects other aspects in our lives and allows us to manage other tasks better. If parents took the time to play with their children, they may find there will be job stress, and also become more efficient with it. It does not always have to be outside play either. Parents can make blanket forts with their children, for example, and foster developmental assets with their children. These assets can be both internal and external, using family support (external) and personal power (internal) (Search Institute, 2014).
A negative factor of having a child become technology dependent, is that their behaviour becomes unpredictable. An article I read interviewed parents with technology dependent children. Some parents described their home environment as living in a house of cards (O’Brien, 2001). They described it as unpredictable and uncertain. There is no physical experience achieved by living through a screen. No vital developmental assets can be fostered through a phone or an iPad. It seems to create antisocial behaviors within households between parents and children. It is important that children have the foundation of a relationship with their parents. Without this, the chances of social bridging with adults are compromised because they will have very little experience in dealing with them.
Parents have the luxury these days of having access to everything they need through their phones. If parents have to work on something, they do not have to necessarily participate with their children in play, but they could take them to a park or some sort of green space. With doing this, they would be able to work on what they need, while their children will gain the benefits of being in a green space. As mentioned in an article I read, youth having exposure to green spaces will reduce the chances or symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Faber, 2011). This in itself will benefit the child as it allows them to be creative and still spend time with their parents. This activity could allow social bonding in leisure time for children as other parents could be doing the same with their children.
Parents want to do well in their careers in order to support their family. I am suggesting that some parents could spend more time playing with their children as opposed to paying to enroll them into a program that will ultimately keep them busy for two hours.
As a society, we often look at afterschool programs, sport and recreation clubs, and youth development activities as the answer for proper youth development. I feel that parenting must still be the main element to focus on when it comes to proper youth development. Whether they are supportive and involved in their children’s lives and activities should be a major determinant on how the child develops.
Faber, T. A., & Kuo, F. E. M. (November 01, 2011). Could Exposure to Everyday Green Spaces Help Treat ADHD? Evidence from Children’s Play Settings. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(3) 281-303.
Lorra, M. B. (January 01, 2010). The relationship between motherhood and professional advancement: Perceptions versus reality. Employee Relations, 32(5), 470-494.
O’Brien, M. E., (2001) Living in a House of Cards: Family Experiences With Long-Term Childhood Technology Dependence. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0882596301900831
Search Institute (2014) 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents. Retrieved from: