Dr. Hallowell shared 3 traps parents should avoid if they want to give their kids a “connected” childhood, which helps lay the foundation for growing up into a happy adult.
- Over committing
- “screen suck”
Over committing seems to be a way of life here in Silicon Valley. Let’s propose the radical idea that we use our time to do things we truly ENJOY and have said “YES” to because they align with our values, purpose and goals. If being present to our children is truly important, it will be reflected in the way we actually spend our time.
“Screen suck” (the black hole of the virtual world) – it’s easy to lose track of how much time we’re actually spending in the “virtual world”. Dr. Hallowell recommends setting limits for both adults and kids on the amount of screen time (TV, video games, iphone, blackberry, etc) we allow ourselves so that we don’t neglect the real world and the face to face interactions that are so important for learning about relationships and keeping us connected. Set aside times (days?) where you all “unplug”.
Leeches (people and projects that aren’t really worth it). Unless it’s your mother. Dr. Hallowell says guilt and inertia are what keep people trapped in these relationships. As my grandma likes to say, “We only go around once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”
Since most parents say one of their primary goals is for their kids to grow into people who are happy in life, that means we get to model the qualities and skills needed for a happy life!
Along the way, Dr. Hallowell says kids must develop a handful of attitudes or attributes that are highly correlated with being a happy adult:
- confidence, optimism, playfulness
- a “can do” attitude, grit, resilience
- the ability to get along with others
- enthusiasm, a passion for something
- feeling part of something larger than themselves
- notice that graduating from elite universities is conspicuously absent from this list
Positive Discipline can help you teach your child some of these skills and attitudes: helping children feel belonging and significance through contributions at home, developing self-discipline along the way, learning how to solve problems together, and how to get along respectfully with others.
While sound discipline, grades, and respectful behavior all matter, he advises us to think carefully about how we plan to “get there”, saying, “The engine of a happy life runs better on the power of connection and play than on the power of fear and guilt.”
And how about you let your inner Jedi, cowgirl, or rock star out to play today, as well?
One of the greatest gifts of being a parent is another chance to be a kid again – if only for a little while…