Parents, God has entrusted your children to you for a reason.
Sometimes it’s easy to question our parenting practices. It’s easy to believe that someone else has secret info into the lives of our children. This doubt can sound like:
- They’re a professional, right?
- They sure seem confident
- What I’m doing clearly isn’t working
- That does sound easier
I want to encourage all parents right now: You’re the professional in the field of your child.
Want an example?
Think back to a time when you were at an event that included children. It could be a play ground, school, dinner out with your family, whatever. Inevitably some child will make a poor choice and that famous line will ring in the mind of every other parent:
“Some people’s kids”.
Yet that’s exactly it. The kid isn’t OURS. We know that instinctively and it affects us in a way that has to be intentionally and even prayerfully addressed. It’s so easy to love our kids and so hard at times to even care about others.
Want another example? Facebook. The general rule seems to be:
- comment on the first picture
- like the second
- ignore the next ten
- block them from our feed by the fiftieth
Why? It’s someone else’s kid and it takes effort to care.
As parents we’ve been given our children to raise in the full love and strength God gives us. These are OUR kids. We need to love them well.
With this in mind, it’s important to remember to trust the wisdom God gives us, because sometimes the professionals get it all wrong.
Let’s take the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for example. This last year the AAP changed its standards for television and computer use time.
This was a mistake.
Namely, it was giving in to the popular push: screens are “normal” now, they couldn’t possibly have any adverse effects. Basically a group of professionals looked at modern culture and basically threw out all previous research with the medical version of “Everybody’s doing it”.
Yet the AAP maintains that “the Academy’s advice is science-driven, not based merely on the precautionary principle.”
To paraphrase Mr. Bill Shakespeare: “Me thinks they doth protest too much.”
The AAP is in that ever-awkward social limbo: They really want to do the right thing, since all the research says that screen time has negative effects in high quantities, yet they really want the cool kids to like them, and all the cool kids have screens. What are they to do?
Their solution? Go with the flow. Or, to use their words: “our policies must evolve or become obsolete.”
AAP does not unveil any new studies that overcome the research that led to their “screen time” limits, nor do they reference any studies that make them question their previous findings.
Their decision to go away from the term screen time and the time limits boils down to this:
No one will listen to us if we tell the truth.
The AAP defends it’s position by stating that it’s 2011 rules were “drafted prior to the first generation iPad and explosion of apps aimed at young children.” (read the AAP release for yourself here)
They want to ensure that “The public needs to know that the Academy’s advice is science-driven, not based merely on the precautionary principle.”
Question: Does a scientific finding change simply because tons of people ignore it?
- “discourage ‘screen time’ for children under age 2″
- “limit ‘screen time’ to two hours a day for children over age 2.
There has not been a huge surge in new research to show us the errors in the previous two findings.
The AAP does not claim that the situation was misunderstood or overly politicized previously.
The AAP’s main claim is simply put:
“Media is just another environment…children can do the same things…only virtually”
There’s a lot wrong with this mode of thinking. I’ll tackle this thought of media being the same as any other environment in a future post.
Parents, remember: You are the professional for your child.
God has placed you into your child’s life in order to love them, to encourage them, and to teach them the way they should go.
Resources and research may change, but God never changes. He is love. He is the best parent we can ask for. And he promises us the strength to love our children. Our job is to lead them in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6)