Parents need to look at their media habits

I know I’m a screen addict and that it hurts my kids. Today’s Parent, July 18, 2015.

A short and sad article written by a woman who is a self-proclaimed “screen addict” and who realizes how detrimental this addiction is to her parenting of her kids.

She realizes that one of the most serious indications of her addiction is her children often complaining that she spends more time looking at the screen than relating to them. She has become preoccupied with her screen and is relating inadequately with her children. She realizes the problem and struggles against it. But she feels certain needs, both internal and external, to keep up her relentless connection to her media machines.

In the many classical papers in child psychiatry, there are descriptions of depressed and preoccupied moms and their distressed children doing anything to get their mom’s attention. Because the mother is so wrapped up in her own depressed thoughts, she ignores the child. In a classic formulation, the concern is that the child begins to feel that the mother doesn’t really love him/her enough. And so the child can feel unwanted, unloved, unlovable. This is often thought to be an aspect of the etiology of childhood depression or of acting out behaviors, all meant to get the mother’s attention. In our time, one of the ways in which kids of depressed moms act out is by over-immersion in media machines.

It is truly sad to see how the onslaught of media machines into our homes and the obsessive behaviors that parents begin to manifest, via their over-connection to their own media machines, has become such an ongoing and serious problem on so many levels in the lives of so many American children and their parents.