Melanie of My World, My Words, writes in a post called “Too Much Lazy Parenting” about a recent trip to a restaurant where she saw not one but two families who had brought portable DVD players to entertain their children so the adults could enjoy their meal in peace and pretty much ignore the kids. Thus far, Melanie only has one child, a nine month old baby, so she hasn’t yet experienced the demoralizing effects of taking three children under five to a restaurant. I have, but I still agree with her, not with the parents who bring portable DVD players to restaurants.
I don’t even like the idea of DVD players in cars. When my husband bought a car that had a video player in it, I wasn’t thrilled. When the video player broke, and he decided it wasn’t worth spending the money to fix, I was quite frankly relieved. When I was young, I spent car trips either reading, playing “the license plate game” with my brother (whoever spots the most out of state plates wins) or bickering and arguing with my brother. I wanted my children to learn to entertain themselves by reading, and having a DVD or video player would make that less likely. Of course, not having the videos means that they bicker and argue more, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay, because now that two of them are reading (one pretty well and one learning but getting there) they do read in the car.
Melanie’s post also describes her husband’s two young cousins
who I have barely spoken to because they show up at dinner parties or holiday parties with their little portable video players and proceed to spend their whole time at the party occupying their time that way. They do not even play together or near each other.
This, as she comments, is truly sad. It is so important for children to get to know their adult relatives, and to learn to interact with people of all ages as well as with other children. Yes, it is easier to stick them in the corner with a Game Boy or a movie and enjoy some adult conversation, but easier is not necessarily better.