Wait Until 8th

Andrew Myler
Over the past few days, I have been reflecting on Dr. Sax’s thought-provoking parent presentation.  I enjoy pop culture (Bravo, all music, the occasional TMZ update, People Magazine, and the cooking shows on VICELAND). So, I was troubled when Dr. Sax cited pop culture as a leading cause of teen anxiety and a factor in the “collapse of parenting.” 
Sax partly blamed the lyrical content of modern music (Bieber, Bruno Mars, Miley Cyrus) for the rise in a culture of disrespect among children.  When I was in middle school, I was blasting Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. Bieber seems mild in comparison. Has pop culture really grown cruder in the last 25 years?

Maybe. I am not going to argue the data with Dr. Sax, but I think the smartphone and invasive social media are the real enemies.  Kids now have unlimited and constant access to unfiltered, mind-numbing content—no more waiting to catch a video on 120 Minutes.
The other problem? Us: the adults.  We have not adjusted rapidly enough to this new normal. We have not set the needed limits.
In this climate, how can you help your child learn self-control and become healthier and happier?  Dr. Sax offered practical advice for parents, and his recommendations are backed by extensive research.
  • Limit your child’s access and time on social media and on video games.
  • Eat dinner together as much as possible.
  • Make the parent/child relationship the number one focus (not your child’s peer to peer relationships).  
  • Spend quality time with extended family.
  • And, as we learned from Wendy Mogel, let your child feel disappointment and fail from time to time. 
Please also check out Wait Until 8th , the movement to keep kids off smartphones until 8th grade.  It’s too late for most of our current middle schoolers.  But, if you have a child in toddler through 5th grade, take a stand.   The reasons are compelling.
As a community, we partner to achieve our mission: to raise confident learners, ethical leaders, and compassionate engaged citizens.  Let’s keep the conversation going and host more events in the future.
As a member of the St. Paul’s community, I pledge to be honest, to respect others, to take responsibility for my actions and words, to be kind and inclusive, and to help others do the same.
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