I had an interesting conversation with a few friends the other day about the addition of water-resistance to newer model cell phones. All of us thought it to be a reasonable inclusion in a new product, but for different reasons. Some saw the benefit the new feature would bring in damage prevention from accidents (drops in puddles, spilled drinks, etc…) while others thought the benefit was in the new opportunities the phone would create (use during active endeavors, outdoor applications, etc…). Even the phones’ commercials play out this debate. One commercial portrays the phone being dropped in the mud and sprayed by children in a water-gun fight. Another shows a cyclist mounting his phone on his bike to record a ride in the rain. Yet another commercial shows a well-known musician willingly pouring champagne on his phone and then dunking it in his fishbowl –intentionally. So, does the water-resistance prevent damage from accidents? Yes. Does it open new opportunities? Yes. Does it open the door for strange behavior? I suppose, yes.
So, what does any of this have to do with raising your children? Good question. Sometimes we wait until after we’ve “dropped the phone in the toilet” to think about adding any water-resistance. What I mean is this: what if instead of waiting for the tantrums, slammed doors and “I hate you’s!” to consider fixing the situation, we became more proactive? Personally, I feel that a waterproof phone is a reasonable change, but not exactly necessary. It’s usually nothing that a bit of proactive responsibility couldn’t handle. It’s no different with our kids. A touch of proactive responsibility will go a very long way.
So, what does this look like practically? Outlets and coping skills. An outlet is anything that can help to relieve the stress built up in a day – and if you don’t think that your kid is old enough for stress, think again. For children and young teens, the best outlet is often simply a chance for them to be a kid – to play imaginatively, to make up a game (even if it doesn’t make sense) to laugh really hard. It’s sometimes surprising how few of these opportunities exist for children. For older teens an outlet sometimes looks like a sport or extracurricular activity, on other occasions it’s an opportunity for them to make their own choices, work through their own decision-making process (even if you disagree with it) with decreased parental input. An outlet is usually an external factor that helps to relieve stress and pressure; coping skills are often more internal. Coping skills are what help us to ‘self-soothe’ as infants, ‘take a breath’ as toddlers, ‘use our words’ as children, ‘talk about it’ as teens, and turn experience into wisdom as adults. These are, of course, just a few examples, but by making these proactive responsibilities an expectation and a priority in your family, you can do a world of good.
So what’s the benefit? Your children will have a buffer for when they get dropped in the mud of life. Your children will have new doors and opportunities opened to them that would have otherwise been closed. And yes, they will be able to safely get away with strange behaviors.blog comments powered by Disqus