Behind the Lens

This blog post was originally published on July 30, 2013

Remember when you were young, playing happily, minding your own business (and sometimes getting into trouble for it), and every now and then, an adult would say, “smile for the camera and say CHEESE”! Back then, interruptions were few and far between – mostly because there was a process to taking photos: buy film, try not to overexpose it as you place it in the camera, snap photos, head to the photo printing shop, and come back to pick them up. Nowadays, with cameras on every device, it seems like the simplicity of the process has not only made us take hundreds of photos before kids turn one, but parents also seem to never put the camera down to simply enjoy special moments as they happen.

Are you raising your kids behind the camera lens?

Yes, you want to have beautiful images and recorded memories to look back on, but how much of your kids are you enjoying versus documenting? Of all the photos you’re snapping, how often will you look at half of them again? Are you missing out on seeing your children’s experiences with your own eyes? Do they get to see you? Do they learn about your real expressions, feelings, reactions, emotions or are they missing out for the sake of another shot?

In much the same way as they want to share their happy moments with you, they want to express their sad ones too and need you to show them how to do so in a healthy way. Their crying might seem cute to snap, but they’re genuinely feeling sad and need you to be there for them, to hold them, talk about their emotions, and maybe some possible actions they can take to feel better.

Equally important to enjoying life’s every day moments is the frequency of interruptions in kids’ play sessions. By the time they’re toddlers, today’s children already know how to pose and put on a fake smile just to please adults before being allowed to get back to business – play, that is. Are your kids encountering frequent photo interruptions?

So with 18 in Mind, think of how much more meaningful those images would turn out if the kids get to keep playing, you snap a few discreet images, and then join them to have more experiences to look back on as a family.

Happy parenting,


N.B.: 18 in Mind is a blog about the day your kids turn 18 and the parenting years in between!