Feeling Distracted? In the New York Times article, The Guilty Secret of Distracted Parents, the author Dr. Perri Klass seems to want to cut parents some slack on the playground. The pull of technology is strong and so is the tedium of taking care of kids. If you’ve spent any time on a playground recently, you can witness the dynamic first hand. OMG. Did you see that toddler who just waddled in front of the swing? It missed him by less than an inch. Did you see that kid trying to go down while his brother is walking up the slide and they’re fighting over the right of way? I hope you didn’t miss the kid who just fell off the monkey bars and is sobbing in the dirt. Every one of those scenes evokes the same question: Where is that mother? Or worse: Where is that nanny?
I know exactly where she is. She’s talking on her phone or reading her email.
“Your phone can seem to call to you in an especially seductive way when you are a parent on playground duty. And one reason is, let’s face it, that playground duty can get old long before your children do” says Dr. Klass.
“Parenting young children is frazzling to your brain” reports Dr. Jenny Radesky (a developmental behavioral pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics). She was quoted in the New York Times in 2014 and now she’s back being in print being quoted to make the exact same point she made three years ago. Distractions have not abated and taking care of children remains TEDIOUS.
Klass goes on to say, “Enjoy those moments in the playground, and keep an eye on the monkey bars. Safety first. If the kids are old enough and safe enough for you to look away, you may get a few minutes to check in on your adult life,”
I want to go on record as saying that checking in on your adult life at a playground is not the best advice. I have no idea what age is old enough for kids not to be watched. What I do know is that kids are capable of getting into trouble in a split second. The author of the article seems to want to cut parents a break. Hey, parenting is demanding, tedious, and mind-numbing at times. Of course, you can look at your phone. This latitude is not extended to those people being paid to take care of kids. Only their parents. Which probably explains that most bruises and breaks happen on the parents watch not the nannies.