# 2 of my “Twelve Commandments” of Happy Parenting

I can save parents and would-be parents’ grief and a good bit of self flagellation. So here’s the next of my Twelve Commandments of Happy Parenting.

Thus saith Thy Blogger, thow shalt–

II: Never give a child your divided attention once you’re playing with them, unless it’s an emergency. That doesn’t mean you should give them your attention all the time. Far from it.

Playing alone is good. But don’t be rude when you are being a hands-on parent.

Watching a young mother or father texting friends while his or her child is trying to talk to them is just plain cringe making. It’s teaching a lack of empathy and respect.

It’s also teaching all the wrong priorities about what is important in life. Don’t be surprised if you tune your child out and later your child tunes you out.

(to be continued in this space tomorrow…)

To book Frank Schaeffer to speak at your college, church or group contact him at Frankschaeffer.com 

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back .

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

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  • http://Patheos threeten2yuma


    Now I’m glad that I’ve got such a terrible ability to keep to things I’ve said in anger, like when I swore that I would not read your blog again, because I am so very glad not to be missing this series of yours right now! Commandment Numbers 1 & 2 are so powerfully full of real love and grace that I can’t wait for numbers 3 through 12. If every parent and grandparent and teacher could get a handle, not perfection because that never occurs with us mere mortals, but just a good handle on the two things you’ve already “commanded,” this world would be so much a far better place.

    I hope and pray that your series sets off a chain reaction for good things to come!

    Love, -3:10

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Treeten2: always good to hear from you, and seriously your words here mean a lot. I’m working on a book about family and like all writers at the start I’m asking myself if I will carry through. You encouraged me today. Thanks! F

  • Molly Hollis

    So true! The cell phone can become a “third wheel” in a relationship with your child. Also, it models poor & rude behavior in front of your child. Great piece, Frank!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Molly thanks! F

  • http://ExperienceHopeCounseling.com Timothy Shetter

    Excellent Point Frank! Recently I was watching something on t.v. (I don’t remember what it was, but I’m sure it was important!) and my 4 year old daughter came running in the room talking to me. I happened to have a moment of self awareness and muted the t.v. so I could hear what she was trying to say. She asked me, “Daddy, why did you turn off the sound?” to which I replied, “I wanted to hear you honey…You are important to me.”
    As a marriage and family counselor in Greeley, CO. I sit in my office on a weekly basis listening to people who feel second place to their partner’s job or hobby. Their kids feel the same way. Of course they give lip service to their priority being their family, but their families don’t really believe it. We all (myself included) need to learn to be “present” with those people around us. -Tim ExperienceHopeCounseling.com

  • http://www.mycatholicblog.com/ Janet Dubac

    Thank you so much for sharing this!. Indeed, nowadays, a lot of parents are too focused on making a living and on productivity that they believe it is okay to multitask while they spend time with their children.

    Children do not just want attention. They need attention. And if they don’t get it from us–their parents–they will look for it elsewhere or resort to negative attention seeking behavior.

    If we want our children to grow up to become self-assured and confident individuals, we need to make them feel that they are valuable, starting with giving them our undivided attention whenever we spend time with them.