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How to get others to do your parenting

Some days there are a few news stories that just make me so frustrated at the world. Today there were two:
Ontario’s Junk Food Rules
Dad sues Rogers over son’s roaming billAs to the Ontario junk food recommendations, I do agree that we have a growing epidemic of obesity in Canada and something does need to be done.
And for the second article, I agree that Canadian cell service providers are robbing us blind. We have some of the worst cellular prices in the world.
However, overall both stories bother me because they are about parenting. More importantly, who should be parenting our children. Clearly these stories imply that the government and corportations should be doing our parenting.
Let’s look at the story about Rogers first. The roaming charges are outlandish, yes, agreed; however, you are given a very clear, very long winded contract that explains that roaming charges suck. My own phone alerts me when I’ve changed networks. I’m sure his did also, but this father didn’t see that alert because he’d handed his son the cell phone and walked away.
At no point does it say that this man imposed limitations on his child~ just feel free to spend your vacation playing on a phone. Isn’t vacation time, the time you spend outside DOING things? Maybe spending time with your family, being active and seeing another country. Why pay to travel at all if it’s going to be spent sitting in a hotel room playing on a phone?
And not to be a huge jerk, but who does not practice sun safety with their child? I know sunburns happen, but seriously he was so burned he couldn’t leave the hotel room? Yikes. Enough said.
Now as to the junk food recommendations, what could be so bad about that? How could these not be a positive? Well they are yet another possible government imposed safety net for parents… are we such poor role models and care givers that we cannot raise our children to be sensible adults?
Here are some of the recommendations:
No candy displays at retailers cash areas- because parents can’t simply say no. And when they do our children are so poorly behaved that they will have a tantrum. Hiding cigarettes at the cash has clearly led to a decrease in smoking… has it?
Enforcing physical activity regulations are met in our schools- yes! Finally schools are pulling their weight in this battle. I mean after, sure, kids get home they spend 5 hours sitting in front of the tv/video game/computer/ipad, but it really should be the schools who deal with the physical activity aspect of this equasion.
Fast food menus should include calorie infomation- it’s a fast food restaurant. Everything is high in calories. Everyone knows this. Why would seeing a number change anyone’s mind? And that aside, whether it’s 1000 empty calories or 10, they are still EMPTY. Devoid of nutrional value, high in fat, and leaving you hungry and craving more in a short time. Parents no longer understand what healthy eating is- and it certainly is not calorie counting.
Banning companies from advertising junk food to children- what about Barbie? Maybe I don’t want all those ads about toys enticing my children to ask me a hundred time for things I cannot afford. Do they get banned next? Can we not be clear with our children about what we will and will not buy, and the reasons why we are making those choices?
Over the course of the past year, I’ve learned of other bans and rules in Canada that overstep my role as a parent. On the truly safety oriented end- helmets and seat belts, but still why does that have to be a rule? Parents should be able to make that sensible choice for their children…. it’s sad that we cannot.
Then there are more questionable ones, like the baby walker. Parents were not watching their children or putting up safety gates and so some rolled down stairs. So nobody can have one now. No making decisions about your childrens’ safety- just plain no, you may not buy one.
The Bumbo has famously been recalled lately- it now needs a 5-point harness. Why? Oh, because parents were putting their children in it on top of tables and counters. Did you guess what happened? Yes, they fell. But, don’t worry, that 5-point harness will make sure that next time you stupidly put them on a table that the Bumbo will fall with them.
What is next? My forecast is the bath seat. They are already almost impossible to find in Canada. Never leave a child unattended in water, ever. Not even in a bath seat. But people do- surprise! So we better get that bath seat banned because that will stop stupid parenting decisions.
People will always make ridiculous decisions. Dangerous decisions. Legislation and law suits will never eliminate them. In fact, it makes us all worse parents. We hand over our common sence to others when we allow these kind of rules to raise our children. Time for Canadian parents to step up to the challenge of teaching our own children healthy eating, good manners, proper cell phone use, and everything else in between. Yes, those around us, including the government can support that, but they cannot do it on our behalf.

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cell phone courtesy

Can anyone tell me when exactly it became okay to use, not just cell phones, but technology in general as an excuse to be discourteous to one another?
At one point in time you wouldn’t even consider answering a phone call during family dinner.  Now, I frequently see people out in restaurants who spend barely 1/4 of their meal speaking to the person at the table with them.  They’re answering calls, emails, texts or just plain searching things online.
I remember this starting when call waiting was introduced.  You’d be in the midst of a conversation with someone and get cut off by this muted beep mid-sentence.  Then the person would check the other call to determine if the new caller was more important than you.  It irritated me to no end.  And what really ticked me off was sometimes you’d be left waiting on the other line for ages while they had a discussion with the interrupter.  I clearly have little patience for any of this so if the person wasn’t back on the line with me in a minute, I’d hang up.
I, personally, have a rule for myself that I don’t answer my cell when spending time with a friend.  If it rings I may check the number to make sure it’s not urgent.  But, let’s face it, how often do we genuinely get an emergency call?  I expect the same courtesy from my friends, which even my  most tech-addicted ones can respect.
I’m possibly a bit overly sensitive about this because I also don’t believe in talking on my phone during dog walks.  I just think that whomever (including my animals) I’m with deserves my full attention.  It’s their time to spend out in the world with me~ and not only do I find it a disservice to them to be distracted and dragging them around while I talk, but I also find the quality of conversation I can give to a person on the phone to be sub-par.  Why should I be on the phone when I can’t focus fully on a conversation?  Quality of conversation is important to me on both sides.
And we can’t blame this on a new generation who have grown up with all these devices because I’ve seen it from every age group.
Part of the problem is that the issue is so prevalent that we’re making it seem okay to our influential little ones, who will be the ones setting the new standards of courtesy in technology and quality of communication, and the other part is we don’t demand courtesy or focus from one another often enough.  We accept being ignored by our friends as they pay attention to their devices more than the person in front of them, and the fractured communication they offer us.
For example, I ride the streetcar daily with people who are abusing the comfort of other passengers.  People talking loudly on their phone for the whole ride, spending ages goofing around with ring tones, playing music on speaker, or (my favourite) the person with the MOST ANNOYING ring… like a squawking chicken… who gets 10 calls which they don’t answer but also has no idea how to shut of their ringer!  And the 40 other riders allow themselves to be held hostage by this one rude jerk.