Modern Communication Tools for Parents

Blog on 28 May , 2015 by Raffi Bilek

This morning while dropping my kids off at school I spotted a mom driving her minivan into the carpool line while talking on a handheld cellphone.  I don’t know what the laws are in other states, and I’m not really going to go googling right now, but in Maryland, this is illegal.  And I am pretty confident that in all 50 states it’s dangerous.  So let’s take a look at all the messages this mother gave to her darling children in the back seats in this one moment:

  • You don’t need to follow the rules.
  • It’s okay to break rules as long as you don’t get caught.
  • Safety is not important if it’s inconvenient.
  • You don’t need to worry about the consequences of your actions.
  • You don’t need to worry what messages your actions send to others.
  • And, lastly, let’s not forget the message to the children that Mom prefers to chat on the phone than to chat with her children.

Driving & talking on cell phone(Yes, I know, it could have been a brief call after spending the whole ride in pleasant conversation with the kids.  It could have been a call from the hospital about her sister giving birth. It could have been any number of emergencies.  But even if we try to be generous, it’s going to be hard to apply such considerations to every driving mom on the phone – and regrettably, there’s way too many of them.)

So a few days later Mom walks into the bathroom to find her five-year-old balancing on the toilet seat on one foot (“just to see if I could do it”).  Mom sternly insists she get down from there before she breaks her neck.  Little Miss Five dutifully, if grudgingly, obeys. Thirteen seconds later, Mom is back in the kitchen (the two-year-old just discovered how to open a juice box and what happens when it is turned upside-down) and the five-year-old is back perched on the toilet, with the two-year-old giggling gleefully in admiration. Because

  • You don’t need to follow the rules.
  • It’s okay to break rules as long as you don’t get caught.
  • Safety is not important if it’s inconvenient.
  • You don’t need to worry about the consequences of your actions.
  • You don’t need to worry what messages your actions send to others.
  • Mom would rather spend the time with someone else anyway.

And then guess what?  Mom calls me up bemoaning the fact that her kids don’t listen to her and she doesn’t understand why and how can she get them to listen.

How much do we think about how our behavior manifests itself in our kids?

 

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