Do We Pay Too Much Attention To Our Kids?

Filed Under: Life

A couple of weeks ago, the kids were playing in Cara’s room and I had the TV on whatever channel the possessed TV felt like being on and I was queueing up posts for Sims 3 Gamer; I wasn’t paying much attention to anything else.

Jeremy Brooks

Don’t worry. Tucker was home cause it was Sunday.

This preacher man came on and he had this tent revival voice on him that COMMANDED I look at the TV. And then he said something I’m sure was supposed to be inflammatory and cause a knee jerk reaction: We pay too much attention to our kids. We spend too much time worrying about our kids. Kids don’t need nearly as much attention as we give them.

At first I was all like, “WTF, yo?!” cause I talk like that–not really–and then Tucker and I started listening to the rest of what the dude was saying and the gist of it all was we–couples–should make the relationships with our partners our primary purpose, the thing that gets the most attention and then comes our kids. A visibly strong relationship is more important to a kid’s mental well-being than boundless parental attention.

What do you think?


  1. it’s kind of a circular argument if you accept that health adult relationships yield examples for children to mirror in their lives. Clearly relationships that abusive are not healthy for kids to be around following the role model logic. However, relationships among more than two people have a dynamic in which shared priorities will determine time and attention. In the case of a child’s homework or learning parents will sacrifice time for themselves or each other. Conversely, children should also sacrifice when a priority for parents reaches a level of importance whether that is a dinner out where the older siblings postpone their activities or picking up and moving to a new location when a career change is necessary.

    This premise however does not address issues such as single parenting due to death.

  2. Raising kids is hard, but you know what, as permanent as it may feel, it’s a temporary situation. There will come a time, and it really won’t be that far in the future where your kids are out of the home and living their lives.
    Have you ever noticed that divorce seems to come in waves? There’s the people that don’t make it a year. There are those who split at five and there are those who wait until the kids are out of the house and realize their lives are no longer on the same path.
    Your relationship with your spouse should be a priority, because you chose them for life, not just for right now. I’m not saying that relationship should always outweigh the children, but that it should be one of your priorities and not just backburnered for 18 or 20 years.

  3. Alana Parker says:

    I totally agree, only with a minor rewrite. I think your relationship with your spouse should be #1 and your relationship with your kids should be #2. But here’s my rewrite – I don’t think we pay too much attention to our kids, I think the problem is that we don’t pay enough attention to our spouses or partners (because it just isn’t as much fun if I don’t throw some gay rights propaganda into an already controversial topic). It takes more effort than we’re willing to exert sometimes to be great at being a Mom and a Wife (or Husband and Dad). We’d rather be seen by society as an “Okay Spouse” than an “Okay Parent” because it’s more socially acceptable. So, really, if you think about it, it’s all society’s fault that I’m too tired tonight, honey… *snort*

  4. I agree. I think as a society in general we pay too much attention to kids. Or the wrong kind of attention. I think there is a problem when all the choices that affect the family are based on what the kids want. I think there is also a problem when kids are helicoptered by their parents and can’t figure out life (or even just the play ground) on their own. I was talking to a mom from my mom’s generation and she asked me if I play with my kids. She had been talking to a bunch of young mom’s who all said they spent hours playing with their kids. She had raised 4 kids and didn’t play with them. But she managed the household. I think that’s part of the stress of this day and age. We’re trying to perfectly manage the household (up the standards of a generation that didn’t give as much attention to their kids) and give all our attention to our kids and give all our attention to our spouse. Something has to go, so like Alana said, you drop what is most socially acceptable and ignore your spouse. Ever since that conversation I’ve tried to strike more of a balance. I will play with my kids, but not all day. And I let my house get messy (it gets picked up regularly, but I don’t do all the things I *should*). And I’m making a point to spend actual time with my husband. Not just watching TV or with both of us on our computers. And if we’re talking and the kids interrupt, we make the kids wait.

  5. Stacerella says:

    Here’s the thing: I despise Dr. Laura. I do. But, she has one fundamental relationship bit of advice that rang true for me the day I heard her say it on the air as much as it does today about the family dynamic:

    Parents are the primary entity of a family. The survival of that entity trumps everything else and everyone else, because without it, there is no family. This, of course, is the ideal when there are two parents in the house with kids.

    Her extreme example to back up her statement is the rabbit hole story (which I’m sure you all don’t need me to repeat and bring up here), and it’s unsettling, but her reasoning was sound.

    All marriages that I know of with kids involved and failed, ignored her basic idea: the primary entity has to stay intact in spite of any children. The couples that broke up a family with a divorce that I know personally either put kids or one of themselves ahead of their union.

    A great example of a strong family is, and I hate to say this, from the tv show Malcom In The Middle. Those feral kids had two strongly committed parents who were team mates, who loved each other before their kids, who never broke up because they lost sight of the primary relationship in that family.

    So… yeah. That’s how I approach my marriage – Joe and I are a team. We do everything together, and we support each other. Without team work, we’re sunk. One hand always knows what the other is doing, and why. Sometimes I have to take frequent bathroom breaks for breathers away from him, but five minutes here and there will save us from divorce court.

  6. I totally agree with what previous commenters are saying. My relationship with my husband is very, very important to me and I make a strong effort to make it successful. We don’t feel guilty about sending our kids to their grandparents for a weekend every now and then and we make time for date nights as often as we can. We know couples who have completely given their lives over to raising their kids and don’t seem to even know each other any more. I don’t ever want to be in that position. I chose him to be my partner for life and I intend to enjoy as much as that time together as possible! Because we are good partners to each other, I believe we are better parents to our boys. I can’t stand Dr. Laura either, but that was a great quote that Stacerella brought up. She must have had a moment of clarity the day she said that!

  7. Stacerella says:

    I’m not sure about a moment of clarity because all of her teachings in her books, radio and tv appearances are all rooted in her Jewish faith and studies. I left out her rabbit hole example because it’s a terrible situation to find oneself in as a parent and her reasoning to how to handle it is based in religion. I’m not religious at all, so I tend to gloss over that. However, yes, if her faith gives Dr. Laura clarity, than we can owe this one to Judaism.

    And I love that you two are good partners to each other, and you make time for date nights. I have long told married couples to keep dating each other, especially after they start their family expansions. And even though we do that, too, one other thing we do at the end of the day is flop down and snuggle for a few minutes on the couch after coming home and before jumping up to rush around making dinner. Seems to help with the unwinding, the decompression and the stress of dinner making. We don’t even have to talk. We mostly sit there holding hands and staring off into space as we complain about our sore tootsies. It works for us. 🙂

  8. You know what? I agree. I agree with the fact that the spousal relationship is important and needs to nurtured-not only because it’s important for the husband and wife to pay attention to each other, but also because it’s important for children to SEE that their parents are partners and think that spending time with each other is important. I think it models important behavior for the kids while at the same time subtly reminding them that they are NOT, in fact, the center of the universe.

    Also, I think that sometimes as parents we can spend too much time trying to entertain our kids. I think that by not making them the center of the day sometimes they are forced to find ways to entertain themselves-thereby establishing a bit of self reliance and encouraging their imagination. Both important things.


  1. Stacerella says:

    RT @TheAmyTucker: Do We Pay Too Much Attention To Our Kids? – http://su.pr/5BE85b

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