Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
FAITH Q & A
Q: How can we urge young mothers to pay full attention to their children (instead of talking on cell phones while with their children)? Time with their children is so precious and so very short.
A: It’s both parents, of course: mother and father, mother and partner, father and partner, and so on. Families come in many varieties. Same principles apply to all.
First, we tend to parent the way we were parented. Today’s young parents are the first to have cell phones, so they are charting new territory. The stakes are high. All children wonder if their parents love them. To have one’s mom or dad distracted by an unseen third party is confusing to a young child and dispiriting to an older child.
Second, few parents are eager to receive advice from anyone. We’re too nervous about what we’re doing. An outsider’s ability to show phone-abuse parents what they are doing to their children is limited. The best we can do is talk about it in church, friendship circles, and public settings like parent-teacher meetings, small groups.
Third, we can model better behavior, making sure we show interest in children while not hovering or confusing them with too much attention.