Distracted Parenting… Posted by: Dr. Matt

Distracted Parenting… Can We Be More Present?

By: Giselle Armantrout

Is your phone a distraction?

We see this scenario played out everyday everywhere! Mothers & fathers looking down at their iPhones… swiping, scrolling, texting, working, posting, shopping, while their son or daughter sits across the table on their tablets.  Not much interaction going on… sound familiar?  I am definitely guilty, “let me just respond to this one email…”

Next time you dine out notice how many families sit at a table and engage with their devices instead of one another.

When the temperature drops 3 degrees in New Orleans, we all get excited thinking a cool front is heading our way so we head for the park.  I went for a walk yesterday to enjoy the breeze and the beautiful weather.  The park was filled with children swinging, sliding, running and just having a blast before it was time to head home and tackle homework and prepare dinner. But something caught my attention and halted my walk.  If there were 15 kids on the playground, more than half of the parents were on the park benches distracted by their iPhones.  A few parents that were not on the benches were sharing their perfect Facebook picture of their adorable little one climbing the monkey bars rather than climbing with them.

 A few examples of distracted parenting:

  • An entire family on their phones or tablets during mealtime.
  • At the park, parents are on their phones as their children play.
  • Driving and checking the phone
  • Birthday parties- a great place to zone out!
  • Children sporting events

As parents, we can make an effort to be less distracted and “consciously parent.”

Every parent desires a close and connected relationship with their children.  Despite our greatest desires and intentions…life happens.  We have many things to juggle: family, career, schedules, chores and the list goes on. Smart phones were a genius invention but need to be managed so they do not prevent us from opportunities of building meaningful connections with our children.

If you think you struggle with being a distracted parent reflect on these questions:

  • What was the last conversation you shared with your family?
  • Think about a time you were trying to connect with someone and they were on their phone, how did you feel? Did you feel heard or dismissed?
  • What makes you feel heard and understood? Ask your children when they speak to you, do they feel heard?

There will always be distractions in our lives and as busy parents with plenty of responsibility- we do our best!  Life is about growing & evolving.  Let us contemplate, how can we grow as better parents. How will you consciously parent and connect with your children?

To meet with Giselle, contact her at 504.343.0628