I apologize in advance, because I may be about to offend you. On my way home from work today, I was behind a minivan with a TV screen mounted to the ceiling. I hate this. I think DVD players for everyday use in vehicles are absolutely ridiculous, especially when they are meant to keep your children quiet.
Now, I must make one small exception to statement: long car trips - as in, those lasting more than 3 hours (actually, more like 5 hours) - because I understand that parents do need a break from the inevitable "Are we there yet?" game.
Anyway, as I drove home behind this mini van, I was just imagining the kids sitting there, eyes wide open and mouths agape, watching Toy Story, while mom talked on her cel phone. I imagined how the conversation went when she picked up the kids, "Hi kids. Get it. Buckle your seat belts. Be QUIET! What do you want to watch?" and contrasted that to how conversations at the end of the day went when I was a kid, "Hey kiddo! How was your day? What did you do? Who did you hang out with? What did you learn? Etc." My parents knew who my friends were, what we were up to, whose parents really would be home when they said they would, and whose were liable to leave us home alone (and those were the friends that always ended up visiting our house).
I don't know, maybe I'm thinking too far into this, and this may sound extremely judgmental (I'm sure some people that are reading this will think "What do you know? You don't even have kids yet!), but what ever happened to talking to your kids? You know, those little people that look like you sitting in the back of the car with their hand-held video games, listening to their iPods, sending text messages to their friends (who you probably have never met), and watching DVDs. I know, I know, times have changed, but kids like to be spoken to, they like to know that you care about what is going on in their life, and they like to know when you approve (or disapprove, for that matter) of their choices. I guess my main point here is this: Talk to your kids. Show them you care about them and the choices they make. Give them advice (whether they want it or not) and share your life with them.
You're probably really busy, we all are these days, but take a few minutes and just ask your kids how their day was. And listen. You just might be surprised by what they have to say.