One of my favorite things to do is to have lunch at Panera Bread–just me and a book to read.
And you know, as I sit there alone in Panera Bread stores, from the east coast to the midwest, I can’t help but notice something.
A lot of young mothers like to take their child/children out to lunch. Love this!
I remember taking my boys out to lunch–sometimes at sit-down restaurants and other times for fast food service.
I have three of them, so it was always a bit of a juggling act. Still, I made sure to do this and often, too. Why?
Because sitting down for a meal together is the best time to talk to your children–really get to know them–and also teach them how to behave in society.
It’s the same rationale behind child development experts promoting “family dinner time.”
Many of us grew up at a time when “family dinner time” didn’t need promotion–it was sacrosanct. You knew what time to be home and exactly where to sit by the time the food hit the table.
But, those of us who have raised Millenials and/or Gen Z’ers have to wonder what happened?
That electronic elephant in the room is separating parents and their young children more effectively than an ugly divorce.
You know the one I mean. The one that’s all in their hands.
The number of young mothers who go through their entire lunch with their small child/children while texting or scrolling on their phones is astounding–the kids look bored out of their minds and in some cases start acting up.
Makes me wonder if moms act this way in public, I can only imagine what it’s like at home.
As I flip pages and dig into my soup, I can’t help but look over at the children at tables where nobody is talking or interacting. My heart goes out to them. Their mothers find more excitement in their hands than right in front of their faces.
What kind of message does that send?
How about Mommy loves her phone more than me?
And it’s not just in restaurants. It’s everywhere.
Obviously the jury is still out on the effects of cell-phone interuptus parenting. I do know that children have a knack for blaming themselves for problems in their families.
And as a teacher I can tell you if kids can’t get positive attention, then negative wins out.
Of course, some might say there is a way around this problem:
As one mother ate lunch with her Mini-Me in Panera the other day, each of them had their own cellphone in hand. The little girl couldn’t have been more than five, and I could tell by the phone case it was all hers. Parenting 2.0?
Not sure which is worse.
Thanks for reading!
Susan J. Anderson
Foxy Writer Chick