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Blog: Are Our Children Lonely? You Might Be Surprised

It's a harsh reality for many families in which both parents work, but there are things you can to change the pattern.

To think that in today's world our children are lonely is a heart-wrenching thought. I am not talking about just our teenagers. I am talking about children under the age of 16. 

Do you think your child is lonely? One wouldn't think they were, but in fact many of our children -- yes, even yours -- feel they're alone. 

Think about the day-to-day routines many of our children have. Many of us parents work so we have our children in before- and after-school programs or day care. We are talking about children being away from home from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on average. 

That gives children a mere few hours each day at home, only to find many of their parents are still not home, on the phone, cooking meals, cleaning or just too plain busy with life to be able to carry a one-on-one conversation with them.  

It is not easy juggling a career, marriage and children, so how do we make time for everyone, including ourselves? I'd love to hear how you do it in your household please feel free to share your ideas. 

The society we live in today requires many families to have both mom and dad working full time. So, we often overschedule our children to make sure they are entertained while we are working or are too busy to play with them.

Here is a perfect example of what happens in life: If you haven't heard this song already take a few moments and listen to Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin. It is about a boy whose father is always too busy working. The dad never seems to make time to be there for his boy when he needs him. The pattern continues over the years until the boy becomes an adult. By the time his dad is retired and has plenty of time on his hands, the son is too busy working and raising his own kids of his own to spend time with him. The tables had turned. The dad suddenly realizes what he had done. He was too caught up in his work that he missed out on his own son growing up. 

None of us are perfect but we are all able to make even just one change in our life. That one change can make all the difference. Here are a few ideas for you so that you can carve out time to spend with your children. Choose one or all and let me know how they work for you!

  • Wake up a little earlier so you can accomplish some of your evening tasks. This will free up time after work so you can read to your children, go for a walk with them or play their favorite board game.
  • Eat dinner as a family atleast twice a week. This gives everyone a chance to talk about what is going on in their lives.
  • Cook together -- enlist all your little helpers to make dinner with you. Not only are you spending time together but you are teaching them a valuable skill.
  • Chores -- try making them a family event so they get done sooner and there's more time to have fun together. 
  • Are you working too many hours in order to afford that fancy car or new LED TV? Consider downgrading your vehicle, reducing your debt with the money saved from your car payments and working fewer hours.

It's all about what matters most to all of us. If you are like me, my children's happiness is all that matters. Let's make sure our children know we are there for them and that they are no longer lonely.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nancy K February 18, 2012 at 04:12 PM
This society is filled with stuff and not quality time with our kids, distractions, sports, jobs, television, running here and there, etc, can't keep up with the demands of business, therefore, this is an excellent article of the reality of today's society and how important our children are to us, and how fleeing time is and before you know it they are wanting less time with us since they are used to being alone and have grown up without us. Treasure your time with your children it goes faster than you think! Engage with them and they will engage with YOU!
Leslie Ann February 21, 2012 at 02:08 PM
So true... Love the last line you wrote "engage with them so they will engage with you"

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