Inside Out: Resisting Distracted Parenting

10.23.19 | Martha Manikas-Foster

If you’re a parent, you multi-task. You ask your child to name the colors on a cookbook page while you write a grocery list. You help them practice their numbers as you pay the bills. 

Juggling’s part of parenting. But today’s parents have a powerful distraction their parents didn’t have: the lure of hand-held electronics, which are designed to grab a person’s full attention.   

“We block things out from around us, I think very differently from if we are searching a cook book in our lap for a recipe while our kid is playing at our feet,” says Dr. Kathy Koch, Founder and President of Celebrate Kids, Inc., and cofounder of Ignite the Family. Her six books include the book “Screens and Teens.” 

She understands the allure of a smartphone. 

“It keeps us happy. It gives us something to distract us from the reality of the dirty diaper that somebody needs to change.” 

In this 15-minute podcast, she offers ways parents can figure out if the internet could be distracting them from their children. One way she suggests is a straightforward question. 

“Ask yourself, am I less connected to my kids than I want to be?” she asks. “I think that’s maybe that’s the most profound and the scariest self-assessment.” 

And if changing some habits could improve the relationship, Dr. Koch offers concrete suggestions that include ways to use the internet together and set times when everyone puts away screens. 

“We can humble ourselves and recognize that we need some accountability and some mentoring maybe, and we can take a step back and do a better job,” Koch says. “Our kids are worth it. You all know we only have a short window of opportunity, so let’s not let it be lost.” 

Listen to my conversation with Dr. Kathy Koch by choosing the LISTEN or DOWNLOAD option at the top of this page. 

Learn more about Dr. Kathy Koch and her books.


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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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