There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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Frequent readers know I talk about the three essential PARENTING VITAMIN A’S which are affection, acceptance, and attention. These “vitamins” are essential because the child cannot manufacture them out of thin air, they must be supplied by a parent.

AFFECTION is the unconditional love which every parent has for his or her children. ACCEPTANCE is the realization that every child, including yours, comes into this world with a personality and temperament that you must learn to work with because you’re not going to change them. Both of these are fairly easy to understand and to provide for your children.

But ATTENTION, undivided and completely focused, is tough to provide and perhaps it has never been tougher than today to provide it. We are all frantically busy, parents included, because we live in a complex, continuously changing, crowded, clock-driven, competitive, consumeristic world.

And yet another “C” word describes our world today: connected.

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, wrote a recent column entitled, “The Age of Interruption” after a trip to the depths of the Peruvian Amazon rain forest where there was no internet or cell phone service. He spent four days totally disconnected and reported it was “cleansing” to be released from what has been described as “continuous partial attention.”

Continuous partial attention describes what I am doing now: typing, a phone on my shoulder waiting for a live person (I already declined the option of hanging up and dialing 911 as it is not an emergency and pressed 3 for a patient representative) to come on the line so I can make a doctor’s appointment, and keeping an eye on my new puppy who loves to crawl behind my desk and chew on all those tangled cords which if chewed could be unhealthy for both Mindy and my computer. This is multi-tasking. I am paying partial attention to three tasks one of which has to do with protecting a live creature that I am responsible for. Guess what? Just like with kids the more engrossed I am in this ParenTip, the more the dog crawls behind the desk. Why? She wants my FULL ATTENTION. This partial stuff is not enough.

Friedman eloquently writes, “We have gone from the Iron Age to the Industrial Age to the Age of Interruption.” and wonders whether this will lead to a decline in civilization as our attention spans decrease further.

I wonder and worry about the effects of partial attention on children. Multitasking with kids can be beneficial. For example a family walk equals together time plus exercise, a good equation. Doing chores together teaches responsibility and adds more together time. But every child needs FULL, UNDIVIDED, TOTALLY FOCUSED ATTENTION from each parent every day.

How? Tell each child YOU need some SPECIAL TIME, just the two of you to talk and cuddle. Be sure you are in a quiet room (no TV or stereo) and you are “disconnected” (no cell phone or computer to distract you). Start with a big hug and eye contact. If your child doesn’t start talking, you start. Tell the child how good it feels to be together with no one else and no distractions. Ask your child what he or she is thinking about. Share some stories about when you were little.

If a sibling is clamoring for your attention, use a timer to ensure equal time.

I know this Special Time benefits children. I suspect Special Time when you are doing only ONE thing turns out to be as beneficial to the busy parent as a Yoga class. It worked for me.