When better might not be better – growing up in the 2000’s

Last week I shared a little about how I grew up and how I raised my boys. I even touched briefly on the next generation, my granddaughters.

Then I got busy on Wednesday helping my oldest son, and on Thursday, John and I were back on the road. We took some major twisty roads over to the Oregon Coast and then drove to Sacramento.

Often times, when John is driving, I’ll use that opportunity to pull out my laptop and write. But curves and twisting roads make that impossible for me.

So I was itching to get back to my laptop and write the third installment of my posts about growing up. I got my computer out while John drove us home on Friday, and wrote and rewrote a post to share.

And I agonized over it. 

I wanted to be careful not to judge yet I also wanted to share my observations. I spent hours on that post, but was not satisfied with it enough to share it.

So I thought on it and knew what changes I wanted to make only somehow it disappeared. After all of that work it’s gone. I am so bummed.

I had written about how much harder it is to parent these days.

Young parents now have to contend with not only the whole “Don’t watch too much TV”, or “Don’t let your kids play first person shooter games” but they have an entirely new set of issues.

We now have TVs, computers, and games in the palms of our hands. It’s convenient to hand kids a phone or tablet when they are bored or fussy. So why not?

Though my instinct tells me there may be a “why not”. It can’t be good for kids to be on screens when they are little, right?  I see it all of the time, and it worries me.

Another thing that has me concerned is when children do playing outside. Even when kids go outside to play these days, a lot of the time it’s at a structured playground. Good for their motor skills, but doesn’t do much to teach them problem solving.

suburban playground

When I was a kid we figured out how to make a swing with an old tire and a rope. (boy, do I sound like one of those old people!) And my boys made all sorts of things from old lumber, rope and even duct tape (their favorite).

We’ve created these wonderful structures for kids to play on forgetting to give them opportunities for self-directed play. Playgrounds are boring for the most part.

Look, we want each generation to have it better than the last. I wanted my kids to have it better than I did. And they want the same for their children.

But in our desire for better, I think we’ve created a world that may actually be harder for kids.

I read an interesting article in Psychology Today about screen time. You can read it here.

And I’ve shared before the idea of Junkyard Playgrounds. Have you heard of them?

What are your thoughts? In our quest to make things better, have we?

Your thoughts? I would love to hear from you...

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