Child’s play for parents: Plugged in or unplugged?

"Do your kids a favor," my friend and colleague Matt Angello, advised readers in post to his blog this morning. If you can not overcome your own case of organizational attention deficit disorder,  or “Org-ADD”  at least let it stop at your doorstep.

He wrote:

Unplug when you are with your kids so that you can be present, physically and emotionally. And if your kid’s idea of pretending is “pretending” to be happy with their over scheduled lives, do them another favor. Stop and think about when you were happiest as a kid, and look at their lives through that lens. Perhaps it’s time for a time-out.

Kudos to Matt for his advice about being present.  This should be the rule not the exception whether it's with your kids, spouse, friends, or co-workers.  Many of us are guilty of our fascination and addiction to 24/7 connectivity to the point of tuning out others.

What I don't agree with is this: 'Stop and think about when you were happiest as a kid, and look at their lives through that lens.'  Kids are kids today. They are not your friends and buddies from 20, 30, or 40 years ago.  Kids today live in a different world. Today's events will shape their beliefs, values and behaviors. 

Engage them on their terms, not yours. Take the time to view the world through their lens as a kid today, not the world as it was when you were a kid. Trying to see them today as kids when you grew up won't work. The playground of the past is now an online community.  Connect with your kids in their community. Help them grow up to be good citizens and parents and partners in a future world, not one that has past.

Matt offer sound advice. Just remember to communicate in a place and modality where others will listen!


Ira S Wolfe


  1. skkuumar April 23, 2009 at 3:44 am -

    very good article

  2. Ira S Wolfe April 18, 2009 at 9:51 am -

    And in that context, I believe we agree.

  3. Matt Angello April 18, 2009 at 8:08 am -

    I like the response to my post, but respectfully and thoroughly disagree. If parents were capable of engaging the kids on their terms, as you suggest, we wouldn’t find ourselves in the era of the Paxil medicated stressed-out kids. Our only real reference point on being a kid was the unique experience from our past, as a kid.
    My emphasis was on the need for less structure and schedule. I didn’t suggest what “playground” they play upon, only that they be afforded the time to play.