By Diane Ako
I was talking to my friend Julie Ogata on the telephone and drinking coffee with the other hand. I was walking around the house, trying to corral three big and unruly Retrievers and all the things necessary for a walk. I had the phone on speaker because that was easier for me.
I sat down so I could focus a little better. A minute had gone by before I realized I was talking into the mug and had put the phone on the table. Talk about distracted mom!
Julie cracked up. She is a mother of two little girls as well, and shared her own forgetful moment with me. Julie does public relations for a Seattle-based parenting outfit, and is the weekly guest expert on KING-TV. She had following week's script ready, and wanted to prepare the show producers. She sent a mass e mail... to the wrong group of people. Ironically, her topic was on distracted parents. Gotta love it.
IT'S SOMETHING ALMOST EVERY PARENT IS GUILTY OF... TRYING TO JUGGLE TOO MANY THINGS AND THE END RESULT COULD BE PUTTING OUR CHILDREN AT RISK. IN THIS MORNING'S PARENT TO PARENT, JULIE OGATA FROM PARENTMAP IS HERE TO EXPLAIN SOME OF THE DANGEROUS MISTAKES OF DISTRACTED PARENTS.
WHAT ARE WE DOING THAT COULD BE HURTING OUR CHILDREN?
We're basically living life in year 2009... we have just too many distractions. We have cell phones that can pull up Web sites let alone text and talk to other people. We're parents distracted by work commitments, time pressures, daily errands. Studies show 40-percent of us still talk on the cell phone while driving. 60-percent of us talk to friends at the park and turn our backs on our children. We're trying to multi-task which according to the book "Attention Revolution"... just causes stress, forgetfulness and poor decision making. The American Public Health Association says there are 8-million injuries to children every year... and 90-percent of those injuries are avoidable accidents if an adult was just paying closer attention.
ARE THERE OTHER LONG TERM EFFECTS FROM BEING SO DISTRACTED?
Definitely. The daily interactions between parents and children are being compromised. I've done this...my daughter is telling me something important about her day... my cell phone rings and I've picked up the call instead of letting her finish her story. The more I research about this subject, I realize that when we're preoccupied...we miss basic opportunities to connect with our children. I've seen parents send their children off to school while talking on their cell phones...again, missing the chance to say a proper good-bye and give comfort to their child.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
We need to slow it down... so much easier to say than do. One expert gives this advice... slow down and be present. Consider any consequences and choose a different outcome by using focused attention.
Here are a few other tips for distracted parents:
CG TITLE: TIPS FOR DISTRACTED PARENTS
CG BULLET POINTS REVEAL ON:
*CHECK AROUND YOUR CAR BEFORE DRIVING
*DON'T ASSUME OTHER PEOPLE ARE WATCHING YOUR CHILDREN
*DON'T LEAVE FOOD COOKING UNATTENDED
*DON'T LET CHILDREN PLAY IN DRIVEWAY ALONE
Make sure you take the time to check around your car before you start driving.
Don't assume other people are watching your children. Stay focused at parks and swimming pools.
Don't leave food cooking unattended... a child might reach for the stove or the food might catch fire.
Don't let children play in your driveway alone. You might go inside for just a few minutes, but your child could wander off or a stranger could come by.