A favorite pastime of mine is  watching how parents and their children interact.  There’s never a shortage of blog material.  For people watching, there’s not much better than cafes and casual restaurants where families tend to congregate.

This week I hit a bonanza minding my business (mostly) reading a book while having dinner in a local restaurant.

The bonanza was the family of four that sat next to me maybe three feet away.

There was an older sister about 12 and her younger brother perhaps 9 years old.  The parents looked to be  in their upper 30’s to low 40s.

What caught my attention was the non-conversation that took place.

Glued to their phones it did not look like the kids said one word to each other or to their parents.

At some point, I thought the mom looked a bit exasperated, particular with her daughter.

My sense was the mom was trying to get the girl off her phone, but the curly lip sneer she got back basically shut down any attempt by the mom to engage.  (The dad was no help, looking helpless and ineffective as he watched his wife try and get the daughter off  her phone.  I think they had already given up on the son.)

Dinner arrived interrupting this non-interaction for about 10 minutes while the children plowed through their food as rapidly as possible to get back on their phones.  As far as I could tell not a sentence was spoken in any direction, although the mom looked annoyed as she seemed to be trying to light a fire under the father but to no avail.

My guess is that on Facebook or Instagram they are presented as the model family with everyone liking and thumbs upping their birthday, holiday and vacation pictures.

Well, they certainly were entertaining, but probably not in the way they might have thought.

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022, www.shutdownlearner.com.

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