Decisions, decisions, decisions. When it comes to parenting we have more decisions to make than we can handle sometimes. What type of food should we give our kids? What are they going to wear? Where are they going to go to school? And so on and so forth. But what about this question: “How do I help my child remain real in such a rapidly increasing artificial world? I don’t want them to grow up feeling empty and lonely.”
We all want our kids to grow up to be caring, healthy citizens, but with the rise of technology and social media, the odds are slowly stacking up against them. Surveys show that around 40% of adults in our generation are lonely, which is up 20% since the 1980s. Recent studies also show that loneliness can be contagious. It’s also safe to assume that lonely people could raise lonely children, perpetrating the problem even further. However, this loneliness is accentuated by a lack of normal inter-relational experiences that are diminished by our addiction to social media. People are not connecting how they used to with eye contact, physical touch, and active listening. Most of the time they are too focused on the alternate reality than the real one.
So, how do we stop our children from becoming emotional robots and help them thrive organically? Here are a few ways to help your child to connect with the people around them.
Invest in their education: academic and extracurricular
The academic portion of their education is important. But don’t skip out on the extracurricular aspect of their education as well! It’s just as vital.
Be involved in their everyday life
Get involved with their lives by supporting them at their extracurricular activities and hobbies; don’t just ask how their day was at the dinner table.
Have them around their grandparents
Being around adults as children helps to develop maturity and a respect for a variety of people.
Give them something creative to do (or learn) with their hands
They need to learn a skill or craft that they can be proud of and flourish in.
Get them involved with volunteering in the community
This produces great character when they are putting others above themselves.
Give them responsibility (increasing responsibilities with age)
Chores and other responsibilities give you an opportunity to show your child you trust that they will get things done. It also gives them the feeling that they belong to a family that works together.
Communicate with them
How they communicate with others is learned in the home.
Lead by example
Children will mimic what they see and take that into adulthood. Lead by example by being the example.
Love them no matter what mistakes they make
They will make many, which will teach them to have grace with others when they make mistakes too.
Give them a set time for social media
Don’t deprive them of social media; there is a time and a place for everything. Limit that time to a healthy one.
The benefits of these tips will take time to blossom, but when they do you will see your child become a wonderful, well rounded adult. Make a commitment and keep at it! It’s an investment for you but the payoff is well deserved! You’ll look back when your child has children of their own and see them doing the same for their children.