I am an older parent and I have to admit one troubling aspect of childhood that is significantly different for my children then when I was young — “Solitude” or lack thereof.
What ever happened to precious solitude, the glorious state of being alone and being okay with that?
How will our children be different as adults when they are raised constantly “connected” to the world, literally attacked by social media throughout the day? Even children’s game apps send notifications asking “Where have you been?”
Being deluged by notifications, status updates and texts puts other people in control of your child by impacting their daily life. Always trying to impress or staying ahead affects the mental state of that person. It distracts that person from their “present real” time; and I find it extremely unsettling.
I honestly don't know how I would have dealt with that kind of “pressure” when I was a child, and yet I sit and watch it happen to my own children.
It is “unnatural” to always be connected. Spending time alone in today’s society has taken on a new urgency — how can constantly being connected not affect our children’s personal development? It concerns me that children (especially teens) constantly try to impress others throughout the day via status updates, snap chat, etc.
We have rigid “screen time rules” at our house. Our 10-year-old twins have to “earn” their screen time by exercising; practicing their piano, or reading. Solitude is a parenting goal for me and for now it is working. But what happens when they move from home; When opportunities for solitude are no longer achieved through parenting? How can I as a parent make solitude a natural comfortable state, like it was (and still is) for me?
Wayne Walter Dyer, an American self-help author and motivational speaker once said “If you are comfortable in your own skin and if you really love your own person, you will not be afraid to spend some time alone. You will enjoy the time you spend alone as much as you do when you are surrounded by the people you love dearly…You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”
The ability to be alone and be happy is an important skill to possess and I hope an ambition that I can instill in my children.