3 Ways To Become a Better Parent by Increasing Space Time

We have turned Women’s Day into Women’s Month, and today, we are thrilled to feature guest blogger, Terri Fedonczak.

Terri is a critically acclaimed mentor for mothers and their daughters. As the founder of Girl Power for Good, Terri is on a mission to create solid female “prides” – prides that work together effectively, and support each other in today’s modern world.

Many of our readers expect Good Work Foundation to be pro-digital always, and we are. But we are also pro-facilitator, pro-teacher and pro-parent, which is the reason we love Terri’s blog below. As we become increasingly “digital” we are always at risk of the pendulum swinging too far, and losing what it is that makes us human, or what Terri calls “Space Time”.

We especially like points two and three below. Let us know what you think in the comments section, and enjoy Terri’s first blog.

“The highest and best use for digital communication is as a delivery vehicle for love. But true connection is more than screen time; you need to be face-to-face as well. With digital connection, you miss all the nuances and power of face time.  That’s not the kind of Face Time that Apple uses. I’m talking about the face time where your face is in the same space as your loved one’s face. Let’s call this: Space Time. Space Time is critical for true loving connection. You cannot tell emotion through text, not even with an emoticon. True emotion needs a visual component and an energetic component. A screen is a barrier to building true connection. For one thing, computers break down, sometimes right in the best part of a discussion. They are a great tool, but they can never replace the magic of Space Time, where your energy is pooling with another’s, and you communicate on a nonverbal level of love.

So, as a parent, how do you balance a virtual connection with real Space Time? I thought you’d never ask!

Terri Fedonczak talks about balancing "face time" and "space time".

Terri Fedonczak talks about balancing “face time” and “space time”.

1. Use the computer to expand an in person experience, not to replace it: the “Friends” you have on Facebook are not real friends. Real friends are real with each other; they don’t only talk about the great things in their life. Real friends talk about the boring stuff, too. If you’re feeling bad because your life doesn’t measure up to what you see onscreen, stop it! Facebook is a playground, not a place to compare and despair. Don’t diminish your real life moments with your real friends and family. Instead, question the truth of online “life experiences”. You don’t see any of the nitty-gritty day-to-day grind of being a parent on Facebook. Not unless it’s so terrible that it’s funny. So, take some of the time you spend online, and put it into your real-life friends and your real-life child.

2. Teach your child that it’s mandatory to unplug by doing it yourself: the invention of digital communication has expanded our lives and our knowledge, and that’s a very good thing. However, there can be too much of any good thing. If you have your face in a screen all the time, your child will think that’s the thing to do. By limiting low-tech communication, you are showing your child that it’s not valuable. Make a point to unplug and have real human experiences every day. Balance your time between imaginary, low-tech play, like crayons and paper or making mud pies with your kid, and high tech mind expansion on the computer.  Better yet, demonstrate how the computer is an amazing tool for information by playing on the computer with your child. This shows them that the computer is not an alternative to real connection; it is a tool to expand your parenting experience.

3. Put very little energy into digital drama: your energy is precious; spend it on your child, not drama. It is easy to get wrapped up in digital drama. You can spend hours diving into the private lives of your Facebook friends or the not so private lives of celebrities. None of this drama makes you a better person or a better parent. You can use it as a way to escape from the daily grind of parenting, but limiting your drama time is the best thing you can do for your contentment level. Drama makes us excitable and nervous; that’s not contentment. Set an alarm for the time you spend online. When the time is up, go back to your real life. Spend some time in meditation, play with your child, or read a book; better yet read a book to your child while they are cuddled up on your lap. Real closeness leads to real contentment.

Parenting is the most important job in the world. It is a privilege to be part of the development of a child. It’s not only the most important job, it can also be the most rewarding. But it’s also a daily grind. To get to the moments of magic, you must unplug from the digital world and plug into your child, exactly where they are right now. Spend Space Time with your child, without a screen around; those are the moments you will both remember when they grow up. Those moments of in person connection will change both of you, and better the world in the process. True happiness is built one tiny moment at a time. It’s your time, and your choice of how to spend it. I highly recommend allocating time to unplugging from your digital world and plugging into your child’s world. You will be so glad you did!”

Terri Fedonczak

Terri out with her pride in Boston.

Terri out with her pride in Boston.

Find out more about Terri and her mission: http://girlpowerforgood.com.