So I am young, I will give you that. But I am already pining for the good ole’ days in many aspects of my life. I miss Saved by the Bell, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Breakfast Club, stirrup pants worn in the early 90’s, N’ Sync, Total Request Live on MTV, and a time before 24/7 technology. Now there are smart phones, TV’s, Ipods, and cameras everywhere you look. This includes cars. Cars are now made with televisions in the back of headrests or ones that come from the ceiling. Gone are the days of “I Spy,” “The alphabet game,” “Foot dances on the windows,” “Endless story telling” and basically bonding as a family to pass the hours spent sitting. Thinking back on those times now…
they were some of the best. There was a closeness that comes from having to entertain each other, and in the end it’s a character builder. It forces you to be creative, patient, and engaged.
Thanksgiving weekend I flew to New York City to spend time with my father and two step brothers who are 2 and 5. We took a road trip outside the city and my dad put on Christmas carols to get everyone in the spirit of the holidays. That lasted two seconds before the kids were yelling to watch a movie because they were “so bored”. My dad and his wife packed a portable TV for the kids, but had not charged it. This led to more wailing, until we figured out you could plug the TV into the cigarette lighter. The next problem, once the TV was plugged into the lighter the cord was not long enough to reach the back of our rented minivan. The solution? My step-mom held the TV for two hours so that the boys could watch their movie.
I am not their mother, and therefore have no say in raising them. This did, however, wrench my heart. Instead of parenting, instead of sharing age old road trip traditions, they were a slave to the demands of toddlers. I know our situation is not unique, and it will probably continue to grow in scale as TV’s in cars becomes even more prevalent, and children become even more plugged into technology, but it’s sad. We are losing the oral tradition of road trips; we are losing the laughter, the silliness, and the closeness that comes from spending uninterrupted time together.
What do you think? Is letting kids watch movies in the car lazy parenting?