5 Distractions That’ll Damage Your Family

It was a Saturday morning. I was making my daughters pancakes, our upbeat playlist was pushing tunes out of our Bluetooth speaker, and an overall sense of peace filled the morning. I checked my email as I attempted a one-handed pancake flip with a gentle flick of the wrist. It was an email from my boss. I had forgotten to do a menial task that I could have taken care of any time later that day, but a sense of urgency flooded my senses. In that moment, that task was all that mattered to me. So I tunnel visioned down the road of unfinished work, and when the dust settled, the pancakes were burnt, and my kids were frustrated because I wasn’t paying them attention any longer. I was distracted.

While screens certainly pose a challenge to family time, other seemingly innocent distractions can silently chip away at the foundation of our families. Here are 5 distractions that’ll damage your family.

1. Ear Buds

Wireless earbuds are an amazing technology. However, when they become a barrier to meaningful communication, they sow seeds of disconnection. Wearing earbuds all the time has become a statement that says, “I am too busy for you.” If your kids find it hard to capture your attention, they may stop trying altogether. This will lead to feelings of neglect and ultimately isolation. Take out the earbuds when you are with your family and use them sparingly.

2. Lack of Boundaries

Whether it’s friends dropping by unannounced or extended family members monopolizing your time, failing to establish clear boundaries can lead to resentment and frustration. I have a friend who is always inviting other friends to his house last minute, which puts extra pressure on his wife to prepare a meal for surprise guests and derail her plans for the evening. It is essential to prioritize your family’s needs and safeguard your time together from distractions.

3. Workaholism

While providing for your loved ones is undoubtedly essential, allowing work to consume your every waking moment can come at a significant cost. Whether it’s working late hours at the office or constantly checking emails during family time, prioritizing work over family can be the ultimate emotional distraction. It also sends a message to your kids about how you set your priorities—work first then family. But your children won’t think back fondly about the extra hours you put in at the office; they will cherish whatever time you spent with them.

4. Distracted at the Dinner Table

Having dinner together as a family should be held sacred. However, our busyness and a plethora of distractions have ransacked this tradition. Someone is always doing dishes, completing a school project, or rushing off to another activity. By prioritizing face-to-face interaction, removing the work, and banning digital distractions from the dinner table, you can strengthen the bonds that unite your family.

5. Overcommitment

Volunteering is a great opportunity to serve others and your community. But filling your or your family’s schedule to the brim with activities and obligations can leave little room for the simple joys of family time. When every moment is booked, spontaneity and relaxation become distant memories, and your family may find themselves longing for moments of respite amid the chaos. Learning to say no to nonessential commitments and prioritizing quality family time is essential for preserving the harmony and balance of your family life.

Sound off: What are some other family distractions that we need to eliminate?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you love most about our family? What’s one thing you would change?”