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family values "Be Where Your Butt Is" BY ELAINE STONE (a term not allowed in her younger years). For good reason, I have followed her marching orders. The expression "Be Where Your Butt Is" is a new one to our vernacular. We heard it from a speaker about a month ago and it has been growing in popularity in our household ever since. It is credited to Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd, a local Counselor at the new Spotswood Counseling Center. She is co-authoring a book, The Digital Invasion, to be published next June. This book deals with technology and its impact on relationships. The expression is used in the book to remind us to be present in the moment: not physically in one place while our mind in some remote location by cell phone, texting or on our iPad. It's encouraging us to interact with the people around us. Texting and connecting at a distance are intruding on face-to-face relating. It is a growing problem in our culture and effects all of us, particularly the young, who are still developing and still learning about relationships. Every child wants their parents' approval. It reinforces M y 21-year-old daughter burst through door after a long work week exclaiming, "Mom, I want you to write your next article and tell parents to "be where their butt is" affection and importance since it the basis for their self image and esteem. "One of the keys to becoming a good parent is learning how to affirm your children. Human beings are born into the world and spend much of the rest of their lives searching for approval. The first and most important place that this approval should be found is in the eyes of the parents," Allen Teal writes in his article, How Can You Be an Affirming Parent to Your Child. Connections between individuals produces bonds and building relationships. Connections do not happen with two love, blocks for people standing in a room together. They have to engage. Communication, whether verbal or nonverbal, is necessary for parents to show approval to children; mere presence is not enough. Verbal approval is communicated through words: "Great Job," "You Listened Well," "Go Girl," approval can take place anytime your child can see you; applause, thumbs up, a wink, a smile or a fist pump. Approval is easy to express, but we still think our presence is enough. It is not! Children need connection to receive approval. It is easy to be distracted by the phone or internet. Before you know it, time flies by leaving a huge gap in communication with the ones we are physically sharing space with. All relationships are at risk in this technology-driven culture, but it is especially damaging to life-giving bonds built between parent and child. This bond is the ultimate; laying the foundation for all that follow. "I'm so proud of ..." Nonverbal 26 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • September 2012

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