Shrink Rap: Is "HAL" parenting your kids?

Shrink Rap: Is "HAL" parenting your kids?

[click “Play”, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer talks about parenting]


By Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer (Editor’s note: After a pause to refresh, Telluride Inside… and Out’s favorite shrink returns with his every other week column: Shrink Rap. Welcome back, Dr. Paul.)

In my psychotherapy practice I treat lots of adolescents and their parents. One of the changes I’ve observed over the past five years is how dismissive and disrespectful children have become. I attribute this increased lack of respect to the displacement of traditional, human manners with manners learned through the world of technology. Remember the computer from “2001: A Space Odyssey?” Assuming the answer is “yes,” is HAL  – or  his digital spawn – raising your kids or are you?

Because technology has taken such a prominent place in our children’s lives, the e.generation has begun treating parents and other family members like the same way they treat their game boys, computers and smart phones. Manners are based on a blurring of the line between warm-blooded human beings and virtual ones.

Some of the beliefs the e.generation has come to possess are as follows:

    •    People are easily replaced: The e.generation is no longer interested in cultivating deep relationships with other people. Like their electronic devices, they’ve come to believe there’s a “better model” coming along. In addition, with such an abundance of virtual communities and friends to choose from, they feel no need to invest emotional energy in any one person. 
    •    Relationships are shallow and cryptic: Our children have become a society of “texters”.  In this capacity, people are objects to be dealt with as briefly and as quickly as possible. 
    •    People are disposable: An incoming text, email or call breaks off connection with the person we are with and tells them they are not important or valued. While generations before learned to multi-task, the e.generators have learned to multi-relate. They juggle multiple relationships across the technological spectrum.
    •    People are annoying: Warm-blooded people take too much time and energy. Virtual people are easier to deal with. They don’t require an emotional investment. 
    •    Quantity is better than quality: Friendship is no longer about the quality of one’s connection with another human being, but rather the speed with which one can accumulate a multitude of virtual friends.

But people do not have digital hearts.

To find out more, click the “play” button and listen to Dr. Paul Hokemeyer’s interview.

Dr. Hokemeyer is a nationally recognized expert on Eastern philosophies, relationships, and emotional healing. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, he holds a PhD in psychology, as well as a doctorate in the law. A part-time Telluride resident, Dr. Hokemeyer is based in the New York City office of the Caron Treatment Centers. He is also a weekly contributor to “The Dr. Oz Show,” CNN’s “Headline News,” and other media outlets, including “Good Morning America,” “truTV,” and “Oprah Radio.” His new column, Shrink Rap, is scheduled to appear at least bi-monthly on Thursdays on Telluride Inside… and Out.


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.