The Fundamental Question Neither Alexa nor Siri Can Answer, But We Must

Recently, as I waited for an appointment at a coffee shop, I noticed a table with a dad, a woman that seemed like a good friend, and an older twinkling-eyed lady that from all indications was a special out-of-town guest. She talked with an accent and had brought uniquely crafted gifts for everyone. A girl about ten or eleven, the man’s daughter, sat with them.

Physically beside them, yet emotionally distant, she stared at a cartoon on her iPad and when bored with that inserted ear buds and began swiping her smartphone. While the adults carried on an animated conversation with lots of laughter, the girl’s expression remained indifferent. She looked up with the same blank expression when the elder woman offered her a gift. The man thanked the lady. He didn’t cajole the girl to say thanks. He did smile awkwardly as he took the gift, meant for the girl, who didn’t move a muscle to receive it. Not saying a word, the youngster settled back into her screen machine as the adults continued their lively interchange. She stayed that way the entire time. Even when they got up and left, she kept her gaze on her smartphone as she walked out the door, silent, preoccupied.

Like you, I have seen this tech family tableau many times before. Kids glued to a small screen, not present to the 3-D world around them, or all family members tethered to their devices, oblivious of each other. This time was different for me.

As fate would have it, I was reading about a concept called “Robopaths,” developed in 1972 by sociologist Lewis Yablonsky, who worried back then about the toll of a high-tech culture. As I observed the sad scene, I was actually reading:

“People may in a subtle fashion become robot-like in their interactions and become human robots or robopaths. This more insidious conclusion to the present course of action would be the silent disappearance of human interaction. In another kind of death, social death, people would be oppressively locked into robot-like interactions.” (Orlov, 2017)

Observing social death unfolding right before me as I read about social death was unnerving. “This changes everything,” I thought.

Two disturbing realizations occurred to me:

  1. Research won’t save us. All the research in the world about media’s impact will not change a thing for parents caught up in mass culture’s agenda for families. As an educator I value research findings as the underpinning of important information to determine best practices. Yet, contradictory research findings confuse parents, obfuscating essential issues. And, of course, experts will never all agree about complex systems; they can’t. Waiting for them to agree dooms us.
  2. Media literacy/media education won’t save us, either. This is a difficult one for me to accept because I so believe in and will continue to teach, promote and advocate for media/digital education–but now with new eyes. Sitting with chills down my spine as I kept peeking at the girl’s expressionless face hoping for a change in affect, something else stared me down that I couldn’t ignore—this thought:

Parents can talk to kids about reducing screen time or help them discern inappropriate media content from educational, healthy types—all they want. But these conversations become frustrating and often futile if children’s cognitive, emotional, and social developmental needs are not being met at the same time. A consistent pattern of uncooperative behaviors and surly attitudes prevent children’s willing participation in family media literacy activities.

While I yearn for research and media/digital literacy/education to make a significant impact, I also know they can’t make positive changes fast enough to counter the industry culture’s swift negative influences. For decades we have been telling, urging, and “shoulding” parents to make changes and look where it got us?

With social death and its normalization well underway, we speed up social death if we continue along this path.

We must start by first meeting children’s and teen’s developmental needs.

Most people know the developmental needs of our gardens, our crops, our forests, of our animals and pets. If we don’t attend to their needs, they end up with disease, illness, sub-optimal outcomes, even death. Over the past two decades of brain research, we have made huge steps in identifying the real developmental needs of our children and teens. So why is it so hard, as a society, to focus our attention on understanding and meeting vital human needs? Why are so many parents in this age of information left rudderless without basic knowledge of brain development to be able to grow children as easily and naturally as they grow their gardens?

Living in a culture we don’t create ourselves means we have to be super intentional and brave to be different. And we have to start focusing on what supports flourishing life in human, living systems.

I really don’t want people to become more like robots as robots become more like people—that’s not the world I will create by action or inaction. So, I must return to the fundamental question I have based my work on over the last thirty years, both as a parent and as a professional who helps parents:

“What is best for this child NOW?”

This question often leads to clarifying important assumptions such as:

  • What’s best for optimal development at every stage of growth, birth through young adulthood?
  • What’s relevant, appropriate, timely, and most productive for this child to flourish right now?

And those questions naturally lead to parental pondering like:

  • What’s best for my child according to my values as a parent?
  • What’s best for my child according to the image I have of her as an adult?

Jennifer Joy Madden, a health reporter and digital journalism professor, author of How to be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design, admonishes all of us: “Push to prioritize human needs.”

Absolutely. “Push to prioritize human needs” must be everyone’s mantra if we are to replace social death with social life.

Let’s see what could have happened if the dad in this story and the adults around the girl kept what’s best for the girl in mind; if everyone prioritized her human needs over her pseudo-need to be with her screens.

A Probable Story

The dad decides that he wants his daughter to be engaged in adult conversation because he knows it teaches her how to interact socially and, importantly, it helps her understand that she belongs to this community of adults—that her contribution to the conversation is important to them all. The adults want to hear what she has to say!

So before the outing, he would have a conversation with his daughter about it.

“Sweetie, I am looking forward to our time with Sophie and Irma. I am delighted you will be with us. You can bring your iPad and cell phone, but I don’t want you to take them out until I give you the go-ahead.”

“But I’ll be so bored just sitting there, listening to everyone.”

“You may be…but not if you ask questions and participate in the conversation. Let’s think about some questions you can ask. What are you curious about Sophie’s country, for instance?”

From there the girl uses her intellect and imagination, as her dad helps her write some questions down on note cards she can ask the lady guest. The dad has taken 20 minutes out of his busy day to prepare his daughter for the adult time because he knows that it’s an important thing for kids to participate in conversations—that it helps them grow a healthy emotional and social IQ. Plus it’s pure delight for him to observe his daughter thinking and creating.

So now, back in the coffee shop, this is what I observe:

The girl sips her hot chocolate as the older woman tells stories about her country and the people she knows there. The girl enjoys the stories, so she asks her questions. The two women, taken by her questions ask her how she came up with them. Such creative questions! The girl tells them how she thought up the questions, which leads to another lively interchange with lots of warmth and laughter around the table.

Then the woman takes out her special gifts and hands one to each of them. The girl listens to the story attached to each gift. When it’s her turn she is eager to share an idea—saying thank you quickly, she tells the older lady that she can look up the town where the lady’s gifts came from on her iPad, and they all can see pictures of it as the lady tells her last story.

“What a marvelous idea,” the adults agree.

The girl pulls out her iPad from her backpack and researches the small town, She has to go several places on the web to find the best pictures of the old village. While she does this the adults pass knowing glances around the table, silently proud of how the girl is using her tech knowledge to contribute to the conversation.

The girl cries out in glee when she finds the type of pictures she had envisioned, and passes the iPad around for each adult to see. The older woman asks the little one to choose her favorite. The girl does and the lady places the iPad in the center of the table so they can all look at the beautiful photo as she tells her last story.

When they stand up to leave, they all hug goodbye. The girl and elder woman walk out, smiling, their arms around each other.

Caring interactions enhanced by technology, a young girl’s creativity, and a parent’s fundamental question: What’s best for my daughter in this situation?

Human relationships come first when we put what’s best for our children first.

Long live social life!

 

Gloria DeGaetano, Copyright, 2017.

Reference

Lewis Yablonsky quote from, Shrinking the Technosphere, Dmitry Orlov, New Society Publishers, 2017, p. 194.

 

 

Great Article, But Is It the Same Old Story (S.O.S.)?

Jane Brody’s July 6 New York Times article, “Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children,” clearly lays out the negative consequences of overuse of electronic media. She gives accurate stats, quotes experts, and shares personal concerns about her own grandchildren to make important points.

As much as I admire the article, while reading it, I thought—with a frustrating sigh—Same. Old. Story. Similar clarion calls about screen dangers have been with us for a long time now.children reading newspaper

For instance, Brody repeats predictable on-going complaints:

“Teenagers who spend a lot of time playing violent video games or watching violent shows on television have been found to be more aggressive and more likely to fight with their peers and argue with their teachers, according to a study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.” Please don’t herald this as new information.

Actually this critically important research has been with us since the 70s, but researchers keep researching it. I guess that’s what researchers do—they research and writers make the research known, as if the new research is new when in reality it is the S.O.S. Few readers realize that when writers make old news seem like new news it distracts us from key issues and even viable solutions.

Brody also states: “Schoolwork can suffer when media time infringes on reading and studying.” Yes, of course. Who wouldn’t understand this connection?

Brody also makes the important point, citing research, of course. “… the sedentary nature of most electronic involvement — along with televised ads for high-calorie fare — can foster the unhealthy weights already epidemic among the nation’s youth.” But wait, isn’t this obvious by now?

In an August 16, 1991 article, Boston Globe columnist, Ellen Goodman discussed the American Academy Pediatrics call “for a ban on television food ads…hard on the heels of a study showing that one Saturday morning of TV cartoons contained 202 junk-food ads. The kids see, want, and nag. That is, after all, the theory behind advertising to children, since few 6-year-olds have their own trust funds. The end result, said the pediatricians, is obesity and high cholesterol.”

Sounds too familiar, doesn’t it?

I would enjoy seeing mass media tackle such questions as: “Why is school work and health taking a back seat to screen entertainment and communication for most kids, when most parents, schools, and all of sane society promote and know the value of excellent health and a solid education? Now there’s something interesting, dare I say even new to most, for discussion and debate.

You’re probably too young to remember Maria Winn’s seminal work regarding TV addiction. First published in 1977 (and revised in 1985, 1987, and 2002). Television: The Plug-In Drug, (A quaint title through our Goggle glasses, don’t you think?) related story after story of families unable to stop watching TV, even after a year of being paid not to watch—they went back to watching even more TV after screen-free time.

So dear friends, please remember, especially come next April with hyped Screen-Free Week: Weeks, even months off screen crack don’t work, never worked, and never will work. But that’s another story for another time. Yet, it’s the Same. Old. Story, isn’t it?

Jane Brody’s follow-up July 13 New York Times article. “How to Cut Screen Time, Say ‘No’ to Yourself First” offers sound advice to parents—the people fully in charge of and responsible for children’s screen time. Suggestions such as not to be on the phone when picking up children from school or keeping dinner time phone-free, so parents and children can talk to one another are excellent suggestions. Put in perspective, though, they are the S.O.S.

Why do today’s parents need such common sense advice in the first place? Why are they seemingly abdicating their responsibility? No easy answers here.

Consider Goodman’s astute 1991 observation, a refreshing deviation from the S.O.S. “…it occurs to me now that the call for “’parental responsibility’” is increasing in direct proportion to the irresponsibility of the marketplace. Parents are expected to protect their children from an increasingly hostile environment.” She goes on to emphasize, “Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to them.”

And as Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, then a research associate at the Institute for American Values, explained in this same article, ”Parents see themselves in a struggle for the hearts and minds of their own children. It isn’t that they can’t say no. It’s that there’s so much more to say no to.” Remember, she said this in 1991. In 2015, Brody admonishes parents to say “No” to themselves, adding yet another “no” on the toppling digital cake.

In 1994 Dr. Thomas Lickona’s seminal book, “Raising Good Children: from Birth Through the Teenage Years,” cited research that showed US parents talked with their elementary school aged children in actual conversations (Not counting parental questions as, “Did you do your homework?” Or commands like, “Pick up your room.”), ten minutes a week. Yes, you read that correctly. Parents and children were disconnected back then, too.

Today, with portable devices shadowing what used to be real life, with even more to say no to, we are beyond a crisis in parent-child communication. And with more to say no to, how do parents figure out what to say yes to?

I would like mass media to consider deeper questions such as: Why a small screen so easily replaces life so completely that well-intentioned, well-educated, loving parents can’t see what havoc it wreaks on their everyday life—not to mention their child’s cognitive, social and emotional well-being. And what if anything should be done about it? And if anything should be done about it, why do we think something should be done about it? What are the purposes of screens, anyway? How do they enhance our lives? What would life enhancement by screens look like? Feel like?

Of course,  mass media can’t tackle such questions. Complex ideas necessitate more to think about—let alone write about—than the typical S.O.S.

But we can and must think new, complex ideas and share them profusely—with our friends, associates, relatives, on our blogs, in our emails, and PTA Newsletters—unless we want to remain in the oscillating pattern of the S.O.S, which keeps us trapped, pointing out the ever-increasing problems, proclaiming parents need to do something about it, and then telling parents what to do about it—ad nauseum.

A major piece missing from the S.O.S. is the fact that parents are caught up in a tech tsunami and have little, and often no understanding of, how their digital habits are affecting their children. Even with the thousands of articles and hundreds of books.

Writing about the issues doesn’t mean that parents are learning about them.

And even when parents know the dangers of over-use of screens on their children’s psyche and development and really want to do something to change the situation, that doesn’t mean they can put the great ideas of the S.O.S. into practice in their daily lives.

Telling is not educating and information is not working knowledge.

To change the S.O.S. one of the first steps is to simply acknowledge that we are in a complex system with many influencing factors. (What Ellen Goodman was doing in 1991.) We need to get off our high horses thinking that telling parents what to do will solve our problems.

We all want to belong, even moms and dads. This is fully human, but easily side tracked in our society. Researching through Siri or finding the best app to monitor our calorie intake or texting a friend for a new recipe or during any of all the myriad of human uses for the machines, we show we are an integral part of the whole of an amazing technological world. We demonstrate we are caught up (in more ways than one); we know what we are doing in our high tech world. And yes, maybe we are even cool because we have the latest i-phone or now wear that watch.

Yet, in the midst of our screen use, most of us aren’t saying, “Wow, now I belong to a handful of men who own and operate the technological world. Isn’t it wonderful that they constrain my choices, decide the time I will spend in actual conversation with my children, and basically dictate my daily schedule?”

No, the S.O.S. won’t discuss that underlying reality. But I hope you will.

 

Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano, 2015. All rights reserved.

Revelation: PCI Parent Coaching Effective

In 1999 I was purposefully trying to figure out how to do more of what I loved and have the work make deeper positive differences in the lives of families. I very much had enjoyed the past decade I spent as a media literacy educator. But I realized, after the tragic event of Columbine, that workshops, presentations, books, articles, or lists (12 things to do for…) can’t help enough moms and dads fast enough in significant ways.

It occurred to me that traditional information delivery systems like books and workshops lose much of their influence within a world of mass communication. Why is this so? As media and technology industries gain power, they also gain control to shape screen content, as well as how we initially come to know about that content. Information is only information if it informs you and if you have access to it. These two criteria get distorted as society shifts significant increasing attention toward a popular culture driven by a handful of industries that, that in turn, are driven by profit, not what’s best for children and families.

The information that the media and technology industries choose to make available to us, and to amplify by daily repetition, gets ingrained in us if we aren’t vigilant. But to be vigilant means we must first be accurately informed. And the reality is that accurate information about what’s best for human development is counter-productive to the profits of the industry generated culture.

Think of today’s 50% of parents who allow their six year-olds to play violent video games, or all the busy young moms you see giving their babies i-phones while they grocery shop, and then afterward, when the baby’s in his car seat as she puts the groceries in the trunk, and then during the drive home. No responsible expert would tell these parents: “This is accurate information that you have. Go ahead and allow your six year-old to rehearse murder, rape, and torture for hours a day.” Or can you imagine a pediatrician telling a new mom, “Sure, give your baby your i-phone whenever she wants it.” Neutrality on these issues means experts aren’t doing their jobs.

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you are aware of brain development and what best serves children’s and teens’ brains. You may have even seen Samsung’s latest TV commercial where the baby in the car seat is given a cell phone to play with, and it doesn’t influence you to do the same because you have conviction this isn’t the best thing to do for a baby’s brain.  Maybe you even told some young parents about the compelling brain science, along with the important reasons why cell phones should not become child’s toys. You may have even attempted to explain this information in conversation or by giving an article to read.

Did any of that information change the parent’s behavior or choices? Perhaps. But most likely not.

If the parent was already open to new information; if the parent wasn’t overstressed and could take the time to find and do alternative activities with their child apart from screen activities; if the parents had the knowledge and know-how to deal with the tantrums and anger the withdrawal from screens usually brings; if the parent had determination and stamina to deal with these over a period of time and nothing interfered in the parents’ life such as an unusual stress like job issues, or even the flu, which would prompt the parent to resort back to the easy short-term screen soothing experience for the child; if the parent had conviction that the new actions were best for baby despite what the parents’ peers were saying and doing (like letting their youngsters play violent video games and giving i-phones to their babies); if the parent could and would believe you and the brain science despite what the masses were saying and doing and despite what the parent was reading that there is “not enough research” to be definitive; and if the parent could spot and resist the propaganda promoted by the mass commercial culture.

That’s a lot of “ifs” and probably not all of them. Most likely we can’t know all of the “ifs” because the systemic factors vary so much from one parent to another.

My great a-ha back in 1999 was that books, workshops, etc. have limitations to influence enough parents in effective ways to stem the tide of media’s negative influences on the masses of our children. I still write books and give workshops, don’t get me wrong. These are still viable ways to help parents who are able to use the information and put it into action without any support or expert guidance.

But a lot of parents may have the information they need to make a positive change, but cannot put that information into effective actions in their homes. In today’s reality, unfortunately, there are usually too many stress-points for most parents to implement new behaviors with ease and for sustainable, long-term results.

How do parents choose on behalf of their child’s optimal development in the midst of dishes, diapers, work-family-life “balance,” bills and of course, media’s considerable impact on the kids? And how many of today’s parents, when they do get access to accurate information about what’s best for kids, they dismiss it because, well, everyone else is?

Back in 1999, I realized a more effective way had to be found. And I feel so very fortunate to have found it.

That way is PCI parent coaching. Let me explain. PCC_Seal_NoCreds

Fifteen years ago I was working with a business coach in my quest to be more effective. During the process, he asked me challenging questions. To come up with answers that aligned with my integrity, I had to get to the core of what was most important to me.

During the process it occurred to me: “Now, here is a business coach who is asking questions for the good of my business. Aren’t parents the CEOs of their families? Don’t they deserve a coach, too, to ask them questions on behalf of their families?”

Starting parent coaching in 2000 with the Parent Coaching Institute allowed me to still do what I love, and do it much more effectively. As you may know, I put together a specific coaching model geared intentionally to address the complex challenges parents face today. I started training those parent educators whom I knew and who were game to try something different. Those early adapters had to move out of a mindset of advice giving to a heart-space for inviting parent’s focused engagement in a positive change process. Instead of putting on their problem-solving hats, these courageous family support professionals had to be willing to ask parents the most profound of questions, “What do you wish to create for yourself, your children, your family?”

The PCI Coaching Model proved effective and is now being used in over 25 countries with much success. Parents are participating in life with their children. They are energized and making better decisions to support their children’s and teens’ optimal cognitive, emotional/social, and moral development. And, parents are successfully helping their kids—of all ages—use screen technologies with meaning and purpose.

When parents are in a relationship with a PCI Certified Parent Coach® they are guided back to what’s truly important to them. Consequently, they, and their children, flourish.

As one of our graduates in China tells interested parents:

 “Give PCI parent coaching 12 hours of your life, and it will transform your life.”

 

Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano, 2014. All rights reserved.

The I-Potty: Left To Their Devices, What’s Left?

This recent post on my Facebook page about a new i-potty for toddlers prompts me to stop what I’m doing today and to reach out to you dear readers, asking you to take a moment to consider:

  • Once a technology gets imbedded in our society, there’s no turning back. We adopt and adapt. Can we do both mindfully?
  • Do we actually want little ones to grow spending more time with screen machines than with real life? (We can still agree what real life is, can’t we?)
  • How do we help moms and dads make wise decisions for their youngsters in the service of optimal child development? (Even though yes, they are busy, overwhelmed, stressed beyond measure. I love how scholar and digital literacy advocate, Douglas Rushkoff puts the absolute need to tame the devices in childhood: “…the physical world — a place kids must learn to navigate before they are equipped to venture into virtual ones.”

I and the PCI Coaches I train, so agree. When we support parents with understanding the negative impacts of overuse of any form of screen technology, they muster up the will to make the tough daily decisions. Why? Because they begin to understand what is lost for their children forever if they don’t.  

The iPotty is a child’s potty with a built-in iPad stand. Its makers say it can be used “for entertainment”, or to help children toilet train.

I’d like to share the title poem from my book, Left to Their Devices, What’s Left? that I wrote to capture some of that loss. After seeing this new i-pad potty, I am needing to be reminded to muster the energy and the will to work for age-approriate, wise use of digital devices. How about you?

Left to Their Devices

The gadgets seduce our young in a modern-day siren song, promising power, but delivering addiction.

Children imprisoned in a screen-world, can’t remember what they never experienced—God’s close world of warm breezes touching apple cheeks, soggy soil squeezed through pudgy fingers, the wonder of dandelion fluff blown sky-high by a single breath.

Distracted from essential earth, how will children know real human connections tested in trial and renewed in embrace?

Preoccupied by the trivial, do they hear their deep Selves starving for the authentic?

Attention distorted, spirits mangled, will crushed, still—we leave them to their devices.

Left to their devices, childhood becomes a barren terrain and adolescence a consumer carnival.

Left to their devices children see empty reflections in the mirror of a social network, desperately seeking themselves in others.

Left to their devices, we abandon children to predatory practices and call it capitalistic competition.

Left to their devices, we strangle parental power to insure our kids belong to the crowd.

Left to their devices, children miss what they want most and don’t even know it passed.

Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

The Connecticut Shooting: Possible Reasons; Likely Prevention

Numb. Shocked. Saddened beyond belief by the Connecticut shooting, like everyone else. Wanting to live in a world where children flourish carefree. Wanting to see young men—even those with mental challenges—express their anger in healthy ways and have no desire—or even one thought ever—of murder.

The complex factors that lead up to such a tragic finality can never be known. Yet, it moves me to isolate possible“reasons” and make sense of how our young get to this surreal “solution.” Why has life, his life and others lives become so meaningless? So easily annihilated?

In 1999 after the Columbine tragedy I had asked the same questions. Through a dark-night-of-the-soul experience I stumbled upon a series of understandings and then a conclusion of what I could do to help prevent such tragedies.

Gun Control:  Yes, the U.S. needs gun control. And gun control may prevent such tragedies.  But I am not so sure that gun control can stop a person who has a strong desire to kill from finding a gun to do it.

Violent Media and Violent Video Games:  Conditioning kids to act like killing machines is a real problem that I explain with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in our book, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill (ironically published right after the Columbine tragedy). Violent video games act like murder rehearsal, conditioning the brain and de-sensitizing the child from the repulsiveness of killing that an empathetic person would naturally feel. However, many kids play violent games and don’t pick up real guns to kill real people.

Caring Relationships:  Most people who kill others and/or themselves lack supportive relationships in their lives. This is evident by the time they pick up that gun. But how did they get to that point? Going through a school system, isolated, depressed children are very likely to encounter at least one caring teacher or a supportive peer—our schools are filled with them!

More Parental Love:  It seems that the shooters in most massacres come from loving homes with well-intentioned parents.

My Conclusion:  To create a mass murderer, a sociopath, a suicidal maniac, whether a middle-school student or a young man age 20, something happened—or perhaps better put—many things that need to happen for healthy development did not happen. Yes, we must have effective gun control, and schools must improve in providing effective ways for “loners” to participate and feel cared for.

But the most profound and effective way to prevent such tragedies is to make sure parents have the knowledge, skills, and will to make sure their children’s developmental needs get met. It’s that simple. And that complicated.

Parents, crushed in spirit by the overwhelming demands of modern-day parenting, need on-going dialogue and contextually-supported strategies to help them figure out in this age of information—just exactly what information is needed at this particular time for their unique child’s cognitive, emotional/social, spiritual development.

That exchange and creation of ideas and actions, new attitudes, improved habits, and renewed decision-making takes place within a trusting relationship with a professional with a big heart and a deep tool chest to make the types of positive changes that will make the big differences.

Of course.

The Parent Coaching Institute was born Sept. 15, 2000 after much angst, thought, pain, and some hope.

Today I wonder if this mother, gone forever by the son she brought to life, would have been able to better address his needs (and hers) with the help of a PCI Coach. I am haunted by this wondering because I know the answer.

Information and Wisdom—Important Distinctions for Successful Digital-Age Parenting

We’re a stalled society—not where technology is concerned, of course. The devices continue to grow and improve. Technological society seems sound and doing well, headed for more Siri-type know-it-alls, VR, and embedded chips. But what about the people using the technology? How are we doing? Are we growing and improving as humans, alongside technology’s progress?

I hate to throw a damper on your day, but the age old questions since the early 50’s when TV entered the family living room still need answers: How do we control it? (Today “it’ means the Internet, along with TV, video games, and all our hand-held devices) How do we use it and not be used by it? How do we manage to attend to and enjoy 3-D reality without getting all wrapped up in 2-D “reality” and teach our children to do the same?

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Parents are Not Always Responsible for Violent Children

Parents doing their best are not totally responsible for violent children. Many moms and dads are confused about the appropriate developmental needs of children. It is very, very difficult for some moms and dads to obtain and implement this critical information and more difficult even yet, to implement in daily parenting decisions. That is the fundamental reason I started the Parent Coaching Institute–so that parents could work with a compassionate coach and learn how to make daily decisions aligned with their child’s brain development. This brain-based parenting will solve our bullying problems better than any bullying prevention program. When children’s and teens’ cognitive, emotional/social, and spiritual needs go unmet, violence to self or others is apt to happen–it’s what happens to all living things–without care, nurturance, and attention, all living things wither and die. PCI Coaches keep a focused attention on helping parents be their best and do their best to meet their child’s critically important developmental needs–the best prevention program available.    Continue reading