This Childhood is Sponsored by….

by Karla Lester, MD

This childhood is sponsored by Disney, Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, Minecraft, McDonald’s, ipad, iphone, instagram, facebook, snapchat, etc…………….

Our children are walking billboards.  Will our children’s generation look back on growing up and think mostly of the brands they think made their childhood possible?

Our family of five recently returned to a flooded kitchen after a two week stint on a Disney cruise, followed by a day at Kennedy Space Center (educational portion of the vacation), Universal Studios (does Harry Potterville count as educational), and back to three days of pure Disney World to round out our spoiled and lucky children’s foray into their 2015 summer.  I certainly wouldn’t want them to miss out on any single opportunity available to them at every single minute of every single day.

I asked my kids recently what kind of a parent they thought I was?  I mean I really wanted to get down to the nitty gritty labels.  I asked, “Do you think I am a helicopter parent?  Am I a snowplow parent removing all of the obstacles along the way? “  Our middle girl, Audrey, tells me like it is, or at least like she feels it is.  She never holds back, not even one bit.  No sir.  Not ever.  Not for one minute.  So, why would I ask?  Stupid parent is what I should label myself as after putting this question out there in their universe.

Audrey, sized me up by looking me over, and then replied, “Definitely not a snowplow parent.  Yep, no way.  Do you want me to say you are a helicopter parent, Mom?  Because when you asked that you kind of smiled and it makes me think you want to think of yourself as a helicopter parent.”  Nope.  Audrey definitely thinks I am not nearly involved in her minute to minute goings on to meet the rigorous criteria of a helicopter parent.

“You’re a tiger mother because you make us do every single activity and you never ever let us quit anything.”

Okay, this is good.  I can work with this.

Katherine (14) pipes in, not taking a break from instagram mind you,  “Don’t forget embarrassing mother.”

Audrey excitedly chimes in, “Yes, yes, very embarrassing.”

It seems like in unison, “You wear your robe around our friends, have bad hair a lot and sing and talk in accents in front of other people.”

My three kids have a completely different childhood than I had.  They are very compassionate and wonderful people (fingers crossed), but mostly just kids living in a very lucky environment.  I didn’t have all of the opportunities my kids have, so I am often stuck teetering on this hippocritical fence between making sure they are exposed to everything this world has to offer while worrying that I will have three adult kids living in my basement while lecturing them that I didn’t have it so good.

Our generation of parents is very consumed by making sure our kids are not missing out on a thing (I literally mean things when I say thing here) .  Unfortunately, our children’s generation is missing out on a lot of family time, great food traditions, outside playtime and socialization.

Preserve family time.  Get outside to play.  Let’s all try to take a break this summer from the narcissistic parenting hamster wheel our generation of parents can’t seem to get off of.  I’ll go first.   I feel like I am talking to myself here.  Oh wait, because I am.  Repeat after me (I’m telling myself to repeat after myself) ……

  1. My children will not self combust if I set limits on screen time this summer.
  2. My children will have a free range, outside kid kind of summer.
  3. My children will be exposed to all kinds of fruits and vegetables this summer.

Break away from it all and have a fun, relaxed and chill summer 2015!

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