Monday, 17 March 2014

I Let My Toddler Use the Ipad, and other confessions

Recently I have come across some articles that make me a little upset. 

In this day and age where parents are constantly battered about every choice they make, being constantly told their choices are wrong, another article criticising parents choices is definitely NOT needed. I honestly think there are more parents out there who are stressed and worried and whose confidence is destroyed, because we insist on writing articles like these. Misusing statistics and data from small biased studies, to prove their own OPINION is not factual. There is SO SO much information out in the world, how on earth is a parent supposed to take it all in and make decisions, especially when so much of that information is contradictory?! 

The one that hit home this time was about letting children under 12, yep, 12 YEARS old, use hand held devices and technology and how we, as parents who let our children use these things, are causing irreparable damage to them.

Guess what? I let my toddler use the Ipad, my Iphone, watch TV and DVD's, even play on my computer! For the record I monitor her use. I make sure it is balanced with plenty of outdoor play, creative play, one on one time with me, etc.

One day while shopping I was criticised by an older lady for allowing Mini Miss to play a game on my phone while I shopped. 

      What that lady, who didn't know me was, that it was her nap time, that we had had a full on day and it was important I pick up these few things before I went home to start dinner. She didn't know that she was beyond tired and any little fight was going to quickly spiral out of control into a full blown, no holds barred temper tantrum and that little device was maintain our world peace!! 

      What she also didn't know is that normally I am more organised. I normally get to the shops when Mini Miss is in a good mood. She sits in the trolley, eating her devon and helping me find the groceries, naming the fruit and veggies, counting the items, finding colours and shapes. 

      What she didn't know was I only have educational games on my Iphone and Mini Miss loves them. Given how smart she is, how well she can navigate technology and learn, i doubt it is a bad thing!

      Finally, what this lady didn't know, is the number of hours we spend at home, playing together, learning together, doing craft together, singing in the car and even doing housework together. 

She was basing her criticism, her judgement, on another mother from one brief encounter, where she tried to engage my over tired child in conversation and was ignored because she was playing a game on my Iphone. 

And I am sorry, but that is uncalled for. KEEP your criticisms to yourself unless you have the full picture!!! 
(and really how can you, unless you actually walk in my shoes or at least live with me?!)

While I am at it, I'll admit a few parenting "fails". Things society tries to tell me is wrong and is ruining, spoiling, killing, creating bad habits in MY child.

I let my children eat MacDonalds once a week, and have the occasional chocolate or lolly or sweet! Sometimes, if we are busy, its twice! 

I don't use all natural products, I wash my child in bubble bath, nothing organic. I rarely wash her hair as the fight that ensues could cause our neighbours to call DOCS....and we live on acreage!!! 

When she was a baby I served her store bought baby food, I bottle fed (admittedly not by choice!!), I put her in disposable nappies. 

We cosleep when she is unsettled, scared, or sick and have since she was born. She still has a bottle at bedtime at almost 3 years old, because it makes her happy. She actually cuddles it when it is empty.

I guess I am a rebel. I won't have society tell me what is best for my child. I will allow medical and other professionals professionals that treat my child, or who have valid facts and data to back their claims, give me information to make informed choices. 

For example, yes, we co sleep, but no medications, drugs or alcohol is ever consumed while she is in our bed, we always move her as soon as she is soundly asleep, we don't use a heavy blanket etc. Sensible informed decisions that suit our family.

Or maybe, as I have gotten older, and more confident in my child raising (believe me I still have PLENTY of doubts about my abilities!) I have realised that the choices I make, we as parents make, are good. They suit our family and our children. 

They are healthy, they are happy, productive children. They adapt to change, they are secure in the knowledge that no matter what, we love them. My teen communicates well with me, and actually enjoys spending time with me (at least thats what she tells me!). They are smart, active, creative and imaginative. The use of technology has not stifled them creatively, socially or emotionally. 

So lets support parents, all parents. As long as they are not endangering or risking their child, not harming their child. As long as they love their children, making decisions with their children's best interests, and their families situation, at heart.

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