“All the wisdom in the world about child rearing, cannot by itself, replace intimate human ties, family ties, as the center of human development…the point of departure for all sound psychological thinking.”
-Selma Fraiberg, The Magic Years
If you are reading this thank you. If you are reading this AND not looking at your cell phone thank you even more. As the director of Temple Shalom’s Preschool: The Learning Center I bring an assortment of past and present roles to the table. I am a daughter, a sister, a mother and a grandmother. I am a friend and a colleague. I have been a teacher, an educational consultant, a director of a therapeutic preschool and I am also a child therapist. I have been privileged to work with many young children and parents. These above mentioned roles and the experiences they have allowed me, continues to validate my belief of the effects of solid parent child relationships and its impact on the developing child. One of the biggest culprits that wiggles its way into disrupting the parent child relationship and then dominoes into the unhealthy developmental effects of the young child is the habitual use of technology.
In Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair’s book The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age she explains how technology and the effects of its distractions are creating havoc on the American family. She drives the point home when she states: “As adults we are free to choose unhealthy habits for ourselves. But this is no way to treat our children. However sophisticated our children may seem in this tech driven culture, their street savvy is deceptively naïve.” For the young child the very first steps to relationships and socialization comes from the interaction with their parents. When the baby looks to reference the parents face and the parent’s face is focused on a screen the baby soon learns to look elsewhere. When the baby learns to crawl and looks up to meet the face of his or her parent this builds encouragement for further exploration. These very early actions are the foundation for the parent child relationship.
Steiner-Adair covers all the ages and stages of childhood in her book. It is interesting to see how each age is affected by the distraction from technology. More importantly is the thread that is woven through every chapter. What a child misses out in the ongoing developing parent relationship impacts the next developmental stage. This will then get played out in the classroom and playground. There is such a thing as the power of repair. Stop. Disconnect. Put down your phone. Reconnect with your child.
For further examples check out this study that explores the effects of habitual parental smart phone usage in the home: https://www.newswise.com/articles/plugged-in-parenting-how-parental-smartphone-use-may-affect-kids