Let’s talk about parent shaming. I apologize ahead of time if my blog becomes rated PG but a recent Facebook post in a neighborhood group struck me the wrong way.
I at first wasn’t going to blog about my feelings on what she posted because my blog is not private and wasn’t sure if I wanted it to get back to her some how. Someone could easily say I should just scroll on and not let it bother me. But then it hit me, if posts like the one i saw are still out there then a lot of education still needs to be done so my public response needs to be made.
Someone posted in a Facebook group that they saw a family out at a restaurant on Father’s Day and a young child in this group was on their tablet completely engaged in rather than their family. As a teacher she did a public service announcement of how much harm screen time has on a child’s development. This poster completely shamed this family whom she didn’t know. My first thought was, “yikes, she would have a field day with my family.”
Now before people go ape shit on me, yes, I completely know and understand the harm that too much screen time has on a child’s brain. I am not arguing that.
Let me take a step back and just talk about what a meal out entails. A meal out means a new, different or out of routine place (unless you go there regularly). At a restaurant there is extra noise including people you don’t know talking, utensils scraping against plates, people slurping drinks through straws. Restaurants have different lighting maybe even lightbulbs that are buzzing. There are a numerous amount of smells. There are “rules” to be followed at restaurants. Rules that are different from home. Now imagine you are someone who has sensitive ears and you hear the noise of a fork scraping on a plate. Imagine you have a sensitive nose and you are at a restaurant that serves curry or something strong smelling. Imagine needing a strict routine and your food takes longer to come out than usual. Now, imagine it’s Father’s Day and your family wants to take your dad out to a restaurant and the only way you can celebrate it with your father is by some how getting your child with one or all the above sensitivities to this restaurant. But wait, there is a way you can make it work. You can give your child a tablet. The other choice is staying home.
What is dinner out with Courtney like? We go out to the same restaurant almost every Saturday with Joe’s family. The same amazing waiter waits on us every time. If you were another costumer at this restaurant you would see her at almost 6 years old sitting in a high chair. There is a strong chance you will see her socks and shoes under the high chair. In the diaper bag that still carries her diapers is food and milk brought from home. Milk in a straw cup made for toddlers. Within 5 minutes of sitting down, without asking, the waiter will bring out a plate of fries and put them right in front of her. And yes, you will see am Ipad in front of her. What you will also see is a family enjoying a meal out together. You will see me actually sitting and enjoying a meal instead of inhaling a meal while standing at a kitchen counter. If it’s an occasion where Joe’s sister and family joined us you will get to see Alyssa enjoying time with her cousins. All of this is possible because we are letting Courtney have the iPad. Yes, we can work on taking it away and maybe sometime we will but this poor child is in school and therapy just as long if not longer than a typical work week. I think she earns a time where she doesn’t have to “work” on something.
So back to this Facebook post that caused me to rant. I know what some are saying. Yes, parents of “typical” children do this too and the person who post this comment very well could have seen a “typical” child on their tablet. My answer to that is to each their own and mind your own business.
So the next time you are out at a restaurant and you see a child on a tablet, before you blame the parents, ask yourself if you know their story. And if you are pretty sure it’s a “typical” child then just be thankful that they aren’t disrupting your meal.
Thank you for allowing me to vent. Goodnight, I’m going to continue to try to put Courtney to bed with the help of an iPad 😉.