There is no book in the world that can prepare you for parenthood. I have twin boys followed by a girl who was not exactly planned. With three kids and both parents working the house was soon in a mess and as the ‘mother’ I decided to give up my job. It was only after three years that I realized that what I had with me was three kids, no job and a husband who ‘fell in love’ with someone else. I got the alimony all right and the kids got child support too but I also got full custody and full responsibility. The kids were with me and I was their only parent from then on.
Since the twins were 7 years old when we divorced and my daughter was 5 years, initially things were not so complicated. They were old enough and did to need attention right through the day and were not in those teen age years that I would have a problem. Since I went back to work, the kids were largely in school and day care for most part of the day and here is where the damage came in.
I am the only parent they have but it is a fact that I am missing from the house for most part of the day. I get to catch up with them during the weekends and this is when I noticed a strange aloofness that all the kids were developing. It could not be late reaction to the divorce since that was long back and I wondered if the boys were hitting early puberty or something. It was here that I began to miss having their father around. Begin both a mother and a father was not easy and I was not sure I could play both the parts.
The kids would spend way too much time on the computer or the Ipad. We hardly had any conversation that was not related to the video games they were playing. Soon I felt they were getting obsessed with the net and by the time the boys were 11 years the situation had gone out of hand. They were accessing a lot of sites that they should not have seen to begin with and then the social sites were making things all the more worse. I wondered if I should consider keeping the net completely off limits.
That of course did not go very well since there were projects from school that required them to search on the net. The boys needed the computer for a lot of other stuff too and there was no way I could be with them at all given times in the day. In fact by the time I get back from work, the kids have finished their homework and gotten ready for supper.
I discussed the issue with the school teacher and she suggested locking a few sites, which was not much help since there is no telling how many sites are out there. I even went to the extent of calling home a computer expert who could help me find a solution to the problem but that was just a waste of money too.
In sheer frustration I decided to look up net for the problems that I was facing due to the net. Well no one can deny that the World Wide Web holds a lot of information and in today’s times this information is very handy. Instead of going around trying to bully the kids into not using the internet at all I decided to put some tips listed out in an article. The central idea here is to interact with the kids and make them aware of the various responsibilities that the kids need to shoulder when they are using the internet. Instead of trying to block most of the sites, I decided to allow for the ones the kids needed to use for their work projects. So Wikipedia, national geographic and a couple more in the same line were given the green signal. In order to look up other sites, the children would have to wait for e to come back from work and then do their homework at that time.
http://www.singlemom.com/internet-safety-pledges/ offered some good advice when it comes to internet safety for the kids. I found I could use it for the boys as well as my daughter. We cannot run away from the fact that we have the internet. Each generation has its share of issues and our kids have the net. While the television set may have been the ‘damaging’ prop for our generation or maybe even the telephone, the internet is the boon and bane of the present times. It is a powerful tool and we have to make sure that we teach the kids how to use the net with responsibility. We teach them how to drive cars and control their power. Similarly there we have to teach our kids how to keep safe on the internet. There is no denying the fact that the net can be dangerous but we cannot do without it also.
In fact as a single mom raising three kids who are about to hit their teens there are many such issues that I have to deal with and some great advice can be found on http://www.singlemom.com/parenting-advice-tips-and-resources/ . As a working single mom I know for a fact that keeping an eye on the kids through the day is not an easy task. I have help that stays with the kids from the time they come back from school to when I get back from office, but this is not enough. Being a part of their daily activity is important and so do make sure you take out a good half an hour where you are just hanging with the kids and talking to them about their day and activities. Even a few weeks of ignoring can make things really go haywire.