Parenting in the 21st century

Parenting in the 21st century is a minefield. At what point did technology become the be-all and end-all for parenting? Because, to be honest with you, I’m not sure I like it …

The background

My daughter has fairly extreme anxiety and as part of her treatment, my husband and I are doing a positive parenting course. We are both happy and open to this experience, anything to help my daughter. As part of this experience, we have to go over our weekly routine: the tough spots, the behaviour, the punishments. All things I am happy and open to sharing with others. Or so I thought.

The experience

I’m gonna jump straight in and tell you what happened …

Mr 8 went to an evening activity mid-winter. I’m talking 7pm-8pm during the Auckland cold-snap. I asked him to please help look after himself and wear his layers. He didn’t do this. My husband found him running around in just a short sleeve t-shirt. Once in the car, he starts shivering, begging for the heater to be on.

Mr 8 got sick that week. Yep! Full on boy-flu took over our house.

I spoke to my son and explained that I’d asked him to stay warm and as a result of not listening to me, he has gotten sick. We then discussed his punishment – he was not allowed to attend next week. Mr 8 agreed this was a fair punishment. My husband agreed this was a fair punishment. I too felt this was fair.

The fallout

Then we had our positive parenting session. My husband and I explained our week, in ups and downs. We told the story of the evening activity with Mr 8 and then they proceeded to explain why this was not the right punishment.

I may be paraphrasing for the next bit to save time, but you get the idea. “Children who attend social activities do not turn out to be the children who vandalise and abuse.” It was recommended we take away his iPad instead. I did not feel that taking his device away or less screen time was a more appropriate punishment.

Say what now?

Did I just hear that right? At what point did punishments not become related to the “crime”? Am I to make my son’s main focus in the world his tablet or screen time? No matter what he does, this is supposed to be his punishment?

I don’t get it … I may be naive.

One thing is for sure – I am not going to make technology the centre of my children’s life. Am I wrong to think this? I still stand by my opinion that the punishment should fit the crime, not always the same technology related punishments. This may be why my daughter has anxiety. Who knows. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a place for technology in our children’s lives – we embrace learning with devices and I love spending time with my children doing reading and logic puzzles on their devices.

In conclusion

Parenting in the 21st century is hard. We have so many different situations to deal with today that our parents didn’t have to face with our generation. We really are parenting in a new, unknown world and we don’t really know the consequences of any of this technology yet. But we have to keep moving forward, doing what we think is the best for our children.

How do you correct your child’s behaviour? Join our discussion in the comments below.

This blog was written by Tracy Nicholls from Cute Cuddles.

Cute Cuddles

Tracy is an active mum of two and started up Cute Cuddles to bring beautiful “as unique as each child” handmade soft toys to life. With a real passion for quality, her products are baby safe and can last a lifetime. In her blogs she writes about her struggles as a modern mum, while trying to stay sane.

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  1. kymmage 29/08/2018 at 3:50 pm

    we do focus punishment on devices, because that is “hitting them where it hurts” so to speak. That said, I think the original punishment seemed pretty reasonable. I can’t trust you to look after yourself in this situation, so you no longer get to go. Makes sense to me!

  2. Jen_Wiig 27/08/2018 at 12:05 pm

    I dunno but for me im like the parenting course I will always use the devices as the leverage for behavior i want vs the behavior that isn’t so great regardless of what the “crime” might be …i do this as iv’e quickly learnt for my 3 boys their devices are their life …don’t get me wrong i don’t have 3 lazy addicted to fortnite kids but because their devices are such a novelty and have a special place in their hearts that in order to have consistent good behavior those devices are my god send in more ways than one. I have a “reward chart” in place where in order for them to get an hour a night on their phones their duties for the day need to be complete to a good standard , in order to earn the Xbox one for a couple of hours in the weekend over and above activities of at least 5 each needed to be done through the week. …99 percent of the time these will be achieved, the couple of times where it hasn’t been there has been no phone or/and Xbox1…when ive had situations like the above its been a loss of the phone for the following day …it mortify them ha ha and i tell you what they wear that “jersey” every single time now…im all about learning the consequence of the behavior not punishment to fit the crime as sometimes its actually counter productive and doing them a favor because hey i dont have to go out in the cold again instead i can be warm and cosy at home hanging out on the device. I love technology and work with it on a daily basis so our family is quite technology based and thats ok for us it works and i dont see it as the devil or evil i see it as exciting new tools and it only becomes an issue when you allow it to but that just my experience and i know people deff have very different opinions about it

  3. MuddledUpMolly 20/08/2018 at 10:40 pm

    Parenting is not an easy road, particularly with the pressures from social media and from other parents feeling that they need to put their two cents in at every opportunity. Our kids don’t have a lot of screen time so we have to get a bit more creative e.g. half an hour earlier bedtime or taking things off our 8 year old until he can prove that he can earn it back.

  4. dawnblyth 11/08/2018 at 3:54 pm

    Something I have just learnt recently, after also attending a parenting course here in Canterbury as my 9yr old son also has anxiety, is that we can never get things right all the time and we shouldn’t punish ourselves. My son is very physically active but he also loves his device/playstation time and to be honest that is usually the first thing that goes in our house if he misbehaves. We have suggested the idea of taking his football off him, but then I struggle with that idea as I feel like I would be letting him team down by not letting him play. I think sometimes we can always overthink things – but my suggestion is to just do what you feel is right in your household and if thats your son not going to the activity the following week then go with it!

  5. SarahBlair 10/08/2018 at 5:02 pm

    Parenting is hard! I agree that the punishment should be related to the ‘crime’ of course depending on what they have done. Mr 4 gets his iPad privileges taken when he runs away from me when we are getting miss 6 from school. I can’t leave him at home or just let a car run him over. I think if you parent with love, with the best of intentions toward your child it’s hard to go too wrong

  6. Mands1980 09/08/2018 at 11:10 am

    Parenting is so hard and trying at times what we do for one child may not work for the next. We take away the iPads and Xbox as punishment and to be honest they are a better person with out them. Technology has got a lot to answer for it can bring out the devil in children. We also take away other things they love I think it helps there behaviour as they have a good hard think about things.

  7. Bevik1971 08/08/2018 at 4:15 pm

    Gosh, I don’t think parenting is supposed to be easy! It’s even harder when you say or do 1 thing and your partner something completely different! You need to have each other’s backs that’s for sure. I do think though that the screen time punishment is definitely a good one, we limit the time our 5 year old has on the screen and try and encourage her to draw and read and tell stories etc instead. She has thrown a hissy fit once or twice when asked to turn the tablet off!!

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