Balancing Family & Technology
BY CONNIE HEWITSON
Today, we need etiquette for all of the non-traditional etiquette aspects in today’s society. And technology is a big one on my list.
Technology has changed the way families communicate—or, how they don’t.
I have five grandchildren. Two live in Greeley, two in Brighton, and one in Gilbert, AZ.
One Friday I picked them up to spend the weekend at Grammy Connie’s. I was driving home from Greeley with the four who live locally: Kimi, Champy, Bubbas, and Michael.
It seems that the first thing they do when they get in the car with me is ask if they can use my phone or tablet. This trip was no different. Bubbas asked if he could use my phone. I said no. Michael asked if he could use my tablet. I said no. “Today we are going to interact,” I said. Almost in unison they all asked, “WHAT’S THAT?”
“You’ll see,” I said with a smile.
I started to ask them questions about how their day had been at school. “Good,” they all said. Did you have a good day? “Yes,” again they replied in unison. I thought to myself, I will outsmart these little ones, and I will make them interact. So, I began to ask open-ended questions. What was the funniest thing that happened at school today? What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you or another kid at school? What was the best thing that your teacher taught today? What was your favorite food you ate for lunch today? It took them a while to think of something, but then each of their stories began to flow effortlessly.
I say this because technology has become an acceptable part of “family time,” where children cannot be without their devices. I have heard parents say to me that they prefer to have their children using their device, rather than having them mope during dinner without it. They say that they have to pick their battles.
Technology is a great thing. However, family time these days is limited due to the children’s activities, solo parents, and dual-career parents. Family time should be time well spent. Make every minute you spend with our child valuable and enjoyable. Teach them, love them, be their parent. I have always said that every child should be spoiled, just not spoiled rotten.
As you get to know me and learn about my life experience as a mother of five, you will learn that I never had to pick my battles when it came to my kids. They did what I told them to do. I was their parent and not their friend.
After an hour and a half drive to Grammy Connie’s, I asked the grandkids how they enjoyed the ride. They were all smiles! They said they enjoyed talking about their day and learning about each other’s day at school.
My future topics at ROX Lifestyle will include manners, chores, dining etiquette, public behavior, being respectful, and much more. I invite you to write to me with any questions or suggestions on topics you would like me to address.
About the Author: Connie Hewitson
Certified Image and Etiquette Consultant
Realtor, Founder of Grammy Connie’s Etiquette Boot Camp, My Fabulous Image, and Lady Hitch Singles