Author Topic: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?  (Read 4724 times)

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gmama

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Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« on: January 21, 2013, 05:35:23 PM »
Over the weekend, DH and I and our twin boys (4yo) had lunch at a restaurant with a bunch of people.  Another family sitting with us had their 4yr old boy too (I'll call him Johnny).

We were all at a round table and I was sitting on twin2's left. Johnny happened to be sitting at twin2's right.  The kids don't know each other very well as I only see these people when my brother has get-togethers since they are his friends.

As soon as Johnny sat down his mother pulled out some cars for him to play with which he did for about 5 minutes after which he asked for his iPad and they pulled that out and he watched videos while we waited for the food to arrive.  Twin2 of course was curious and got closer to Johnny and was asking him questions like, "what's that?", "who's that?", and just being generally friendly.  Johnny didn't answer and his mom told me that he's usually shy and she was impressed that twin2 was being so friendly.

As soon as the food arrived I got my kids set up and put food on their plates but to my surprise, Johnny still had his iPad out.  I gave twin2 his fork and had to ask him twice to face his food and eat his lunch.  The second time I did that I told him that if he didn't focus on his food I would have to switch places with him.  Well, after another minute he was still distracted by Johnny's iPad (as all 4 yr olds would be), so I just said, "Right, twin2, we need to switch places".  To his credit he didn't make a fuss and, after the switch, he happily started munching on his food.  As I sat in his chair the other mom said, "I'm so sorry, but Johnny won't eat if he doesn't have his iPad in front of him."  I just said a friendly "oh, that's okay" and gave a kind of "kids... what can you do?" shrug.

But in my head I was thinking, "really??! I don't see Johnny doing much eating".  He had a full plate of food beside him which his mother had to spoon feed him after much cooing and cajoling.

I just want to know if what I did was okay.  As I said, I don't know these people well and didn't want them to think I was blatantly criticizing their parenting.  When I told twin2 to turn around and face his food I did it in a light conversational tone and said something like, "it's lunchtime and we concentrate on lunch, please. Not the videos."

After twin2 was done eating I did let him switch back with me as Johnny was still, you guessed it, watching his iPad.



katycoo

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 05:38:07 PM »
You didn't make any comment on their parenting choices, so you were fine.

WillyNilly

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 05:42:10 PM »
You handled it fine. Ultimately while I can see how it's a bit annoying on your end, at least Johnny was sitting quietly, not making a mess or a commotion, etc.

Promise

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 05:42:35 PM »
What you did was perfectly fine. You gave a warning with the consequences, which your child ignored, and you followed through. That is good parenting. So many parents these days plead and beg with their child to no end. It's too bad that other child runs their family. If you wanted, you could have said, "I find that my children get distracted from eating if there are toys around and so we just put them away when the food comes. I find that when they get hungry enough, they'll eat without distractions." You certainly demonstrated that your child was distracted and also demonstrated that he ate when moved away from that distraction. You didn't need to say this...your actions showed her how good parents parent.

BabylonSister

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 05:44:20 PM »
Yes, you did just fine.  You took care of your own child's issue and did not interject into another family's parenting.  That was perfect.

SiotehCat

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 05:47:51 PM »
I think you did fine.

I think its very rude for them to have pulled out the ipad at the table.

Ceallach

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 05:51:54 PM »
You did great.  You parented your own kids, and if the other parents felt that was a slight on them it's a reflection of their own insecurity (or internal awareness that perhaps they're *not* doing what they should!) not on you.     

The alternative would be to allow your kids to misbehave whenever other kids are, just so that the other kid's parents don't feel bad.    Which of course would be silly!    As long as you're not being PA or commenting on their choices you were not rude.
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Slartibartfast

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 02:18:57 AM »
I do think their child's behavior was rude and rather unfortunate parenting if it's a regular thing, but I would hesitate to judge based on one experience.  My first thought when reading the thread was that my friend whose 5-year-old son is autistic has to keep the iPad in the bathroom so her son will focus on that instead of the stress of toileting.  I could see that being a motivation - not that the kid is necessarily autistic, but this may be a step in training him how to behave in a restaurant whether or not he's neurotypical.  It's also possible they usually don't let him have the iPad in restaurants and he's in a "scream and annoy everyone" stage - so maybe just this once they decided they'd rather he be rude and quiet than rude and disruptive.  Or he may have been sick and missed his nap and they knew he would have been a holy terror without it.  There are really just too many variables affecting a child's behavior, both in the long term and for one specific trip, to draw any conclusions based on what this boy did.

sweetonsno

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 02:35:42 AM »
I also think you did fine. You focused on your own child and his behavior and did what you had to in order to make him follow your rules. You didn't try to make Johnny turn off his iPad or anything like that.

The only thing that I can think of that may have come across as a criticism was your comment about not watching videos at lunch. I think that with the wrong tone of voice, it would have seemed like a PA jab. However, as you kept your tone light and stopped commenting once you had switched seats, it was very clear that you were talking to your son and not Johnny.

gmama

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2013, 06:15:07 AM »
I do think their child's behavior was rude and rather unfortunate parenting if it's a regular thing, but I would hesitate to judge based on one experience.  My first thought when reading the thread was that my friend whose 5-year-old son is autistic has to keep the iPad in the bathroom so her son will focus on that instead of the stress of toileting.  I could see that being a motivation - not that the kid is necessarily autistic, but this may be a step in training him how to behave in a restaurant whether or not he's neurotypical.  It's also possible they usually don't let him have the iPad in restaurants and he's in a "scream and annoy everyone" stage - so maybe just this once they decided they'd rather he be rude and quiet than rude and disruptive.  Or he may have been sick and missed his nap and they knew he would have been a holy terror without it.  There are really just too many variables affecting a child's behavior, both in the long term and for one specific trip, to draw any conclusions based on what this boy did.

Actually, I asked my SIL about this last night (bro's wife. She sees them often at social gatherings).  Apparently, they've been doing the "iPad as distraction" tool since he was a baby every time they go out to restaurants.  Johnny is definitely not autistic or has any behavioural problems.  He's just so used to having the iPad in front of him that if they do try and take it away, he kicks up a fuss and his parents don't get to do much eating or socializing. 

I'm glad what I did was okay.  It was one of those split second decision moments, you know?  I just thought, "should I keep reminding twin2 all throughout the meal to turn around and eat? Jiminy Crickets!  That's going to be a pain! Or should I make him switch seats with me... but will they think I'm making a comment about Johnny? Oh heck, I want to eat in peace.. I'm switching!"    That's pretty much how my mind was working  :P  My stomach overrules all the time  ;)

chibichan

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2013, 06:43:25 AM »
Your stomach made the right call  ;D .

I have seen children glued to their electronics in all kinds of situations that made me go  ??? .

I watched a 9 year old boy trail his Mom through a department store for an hour , then out across the parking lot and into the car without lifting his eyes from the screen except to briefly glance up and orient himself .

It kind of makes me sad , but I don't comment on it . Your child = your rules .
The key to avoiding trouble is to learn to recognize it from a distance.

25wishes

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2013, 08:44:08 AM »
I find that very sad. At 4 Johnny is already tuned out.

onyonryngs

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2013, 09:56:28 AM »
It doesn't seem like anyone did anything wrong in this situation.  It's best not to try to compare your parenting style with others as it tends to come across as a bit judgmental.  A lunch with a group of adults is not fun for a 4 year old and they brought something to keep their son entertained, as you did.  So the kid played quietly and didn't really want to eat - sometimes as a parent you need to pick your battles, this wasn't one for that mom.  Sorry, I don't think there was anything she did wrong - and neither did you as you didn't voice your opinions to her.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2013, 10:34:56 AM »
That is pretty sad that he's being trained to depend on the iPad to entertain him.  And it's not like he was the only kid there either so there was another child he could have talked to sitting right next to him. 

But yeah, you did fine. :)
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

m2kbug

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Re: Children, meals, and iPads. Did I do okay?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2013, 11:18:26 AM »
I don't think you did anything wrong.  You have your rules and followed them.  If the other parent took this as criticism, that's all them.  You cannot control that.  I personally would have followed about the same protocol.  I know, at a restaurant, the kids could get bored, and you bring stuff to keep them entertained so you, yourself, can have a conversation with fellow grownups.  The kids can put away the electronics during the eatin' part and have a conversation and actually eat.  How did any of us survive childhood without all these hand-held electronic devices?   :P