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When practising self-observation, I notice that I frequently look outside of myself for validation. This is not a happy or healthy habit. It is a habit I don't want my children to have so I wonder how it happened and how can I avoid passing it on.  Is it because when a child has a need or painful feelings and the adult can not meet that need or doesn't know how to explain that life is, in part, painful, they try to make the child feel better by distracting them with toys or food? Does this teach children to look outside of themselves for comfort? Is this the basis of our rampant consumer society?

In my wish to get clarity about the issue, I asked the Conscious Parenting team a vague, un-clear question about whether toys contributed to looking outside of ourselves for validation. I got a variety of responses that did not necessarily address what I was trying to ask. My fault. But the responses came with a lot of value, nevertheless, and deserved to be shared. This first piece comes from a mom in California.

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As a final, for now, posting on this topic, a quote from Lee Lozowick.

            "One of the saddest aspects of technology today is that children, even infants, are exposed to so much television, so many video games, and so many movies at such a young age. Among other experts and child advocates, Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child (Plume, 1992) and Evolution's End (HarperOne 1993), says that even an ostensibly loving parental situation could be highly compromised for a child by television that is present from infancy. The imaginal faculties aren't present when a baby is born. They develop later - at three, four, five, maybe six years. Pearce says that if one sits children in front of a television, it's like feeding predigested food to their minds. They're getting images that they don't have to learn to create on their own, and so the imaginal faculties don't develop, and this is crippling to them. As they grow, these children can't imagine, they can't visualize, they can't project. Consequently, they are denied some of the brilliant facets of healthy development; their development of creativity is left flat and lopsided."

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A group of parent I know were discussing children and technology use when one woman pointed out that people " think that if their kid doesn’t use devices they may be missing out on something." This prompted another parent to comment that perhaps we need a different approach entirely as " that argument fails to question sufficiently the merits of having one's child right up to speed with all the other racers." 

This statement gave me chills. It made me realize that not only are early-introduced-to-technology children not able to develop their own internal images; all of us using electronic screens are receiving the exact same images! What will this do to creativity and individuality in the long term?

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Part One

In our society, children begin, at a very young age, to use electronic devices. This a matter worth researching, thinking about and discussing.  A few months ago I came across a pair of media articles arguing the pros and cons children using handheld devices and decided to do some research. The findings of Joseph Chilton Pearce, child development expert and author, were the most useful. This is my understanding of what I read.

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Jean Liedloff Video: Touch the Future

This interview with Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept, by Michael Mendizza (Touch the Future) is the best summary of her views regarding innate intelligence-capacity and how we routinely interfere with this at great harm to children, adults and society.

Joseph Chilton Pierce: Play is Learning

The state of authentic PLAY is nature's design for optimum learning and performance, at any age, in any activity. We substitute conditioning and call it learning, which is a big reason why retention is so low and dropout rates are so high. Five Stars!!! A must see for parents, educators and early childhood providers. With Michael Mendizza.

Joseph Chilton Pierce: Mother-Infant Bonding & The Intelligence of the Heart

"This brief nine minute program may be the most important you, as a mother, father or caregiver, will ever see. Bonding is much more than what we 'think.' It is a coherent harmonic resonance of one heart to another. The nature and quality of the mother's emotional state broadcast via her heart-energy has a profound influence on every stage of her unborn and newborn babies' development, physical, emotional and intellectual."

Dr. Gabor Mate: Attachment and Conscious Parenting

Gabor Mate, MD, co-author of Hold On to Your Kids, is interviewed by Lisa Reagan for Pathways to Family Wellness at his Kids, Culture and Chaos talk in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the spring of 2011. The event was hosted by Belvedere Integrated Healing Arts.

Gordon Neufeld: Raising Children in a Digital World

Developmental psychologist Gordon Neufeld (co-author of "Hold On To Your Kids") discusses how parents can prepare children to live and thrive in the digital world at the KMT Child Development and Community Conference in Toronto.