03 July 2012

Parenting and Bridging Generation Gaps

Last night, while at Icebergs for out late night dessert date, Don and I were laughing at how our parents despise heavy metal music because they were perceived to have subliminal messages about satanism.  I remembered my mom not allowing me to sing the song "Like a Virgin" because fans of Madonna were branded as promiscuous and flirts.  The Atari, family computer and game & watch were the suspected culprits for tantrums, impatience and failing grades.

We suddenly realized that we are like our parents.  We worry too much about a lot of things, we forget to enjoy being a dad and mom to Julia.  I admit, I am uptight when it comes to technology.  I must have read more than ten articles about iPad and its effects to toddlers.  I panic every time Julia prefers to play with my Blackberry than an educational toy.  Julia can only watch TV for at least an hour everyday.

It took me fifteen months to convince myself that there is no way that I can control Julia's environment and I definitely cannot stop technological advancements from happening.  What I can influence however, is Julia's character and values.  My role is not to eliminate the bad things that this world bring.  With God's guidance and grace, I am called to raise my daughter with love and respect.  It is also my duty to discipline her so she may live a life serving and pleasing God.

I will try my best to give Julia the best of my generation and hers.  I will give her the opportunity to discover the wonders of what a box, blanket and a couple of crayons can do.  I will allow her to play outdoors and meet new friends so that she can develop her social skills.  I will let her use the gadgets that will encourage learning and strategic thinking.  I will allow her to watch TV shows that will make her laugh but at the same time teach her lessons.  However, I will restrict the applications she will use and the shows she will watch until she is old enough to determine what shows will provide positive influence.  It won't be easy, I know.

Fact is, kids are growing fast.  And I am getting old.  Bridging the generation gap is essential to become a better parent.  Honoring and learning from previous generations and knowing and understanding the new generation will enhance communication and strengthen our relationship with our children.  Effective and responsible parenting don't just happen.  We need to invest a lot of time and effort to make it work.  It also requires a lot of love, understanding and respect within the family.

I wonder what Julia's generation will be like.  I just hope she will have as much fun as a child like I did.

Julia will never know the link between a cassette tape and a pencil.
Image from Yellow Means Go.
How do you bridge the generation gap between you and your child?  What do you do to enjoy the "best of both worlds"?
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