I’m part time single parenting a single child in a small town. It’s nothing like when I was growing up. I had mum and dad, 2 siblings, no technology and the family only had one car. It was used by dad going to work. We walked or biked everywhere, on our own, from an early age on. I was the oldest so I looked after the younger ones. We had the choice of going outside or stay in our room. Most of the time we were outside, in the garden or out on the streets with the neighbour kids and friends.
We romantizise the old days, I don’t remember enough details to be able to apply it to today, all I have is what feels right. Which of course is shaped by the social surroundings and conditioning as well. And it depends totally on where the child is at. Now at almost 11 our son is showing the urge to be more independent, so much that I am leaving the house early to let him get himself ready and walk the short distance to school. It’s teaching him to watch the clock, remember his stuff and take responsibility to start the day. It also saves my sanity, as I’m painfully aware how different his self-organisation is to mine.
He is not getting the spontaneous catchups with his friends that I had. Playdates and appointments are made with back and forth texting until something is set up that both parents can rely on. He’s not the type of kid who just makes friends in the neighbourhood, not many kids out and about, possibly thanks to technology and after school commitments.
Now I’m thinking to chat to other parents to make a regular day for catching up with his friends, to hang out after school together. Sometimes not so easy because kids are jumping on school buses when they live a bit further out and we’re too close to school for buses. Maybe they all come to my house. But most parent’s organising skills can overcome these hurdles, I feel it’s very beneficial to have regular social catchups. I have seen where kids meet in school, in the same class, become friends, don’t get enough time together other than in class, become disruptive and get separated.
My parenting tip coming from these ponderings is to have regular catchups with friends, set the stage and let it evolve organically. I also remember hearing and reading about how former school friends get us into careers or jobs or businesses. Many great success stories come from great friendships.
And my takeaway is that I need to also work on my social ties, make time to catch up with friends or pick up the phone to check in. It’s work we have to do and stay connected, which is a major factor for a long and happy life.
Excellent listening on the podcast https://humanetech.com/podcast/ on how technology can help human interaction instead of disrupting it.