Are you losing the battle as your precious plays with their ‘precious’?
Do they transform into Gollum when you threaten their device’s removal?
Well before you do a face off and unleash the four horses of the apocalypse there’s one thing you must do that has nothing to do with your kids or their device?
What is it?
We need to talk about you and your device.
This week’s Purposeful Parenting tip is an easy one to grasp, but you may find it harder to put into practice than you think.
Test your fit by answering the following quiz:
When your kids come home from school or your taking a break, do you ‘multi-task’ checking your Facebook feed while trying to listen and talk to them?
Ok, I know mums can do this…dads we are a different one thing at a time breed but think about the message this sends to your child.
Doesn’t it say, ‘you don’t deserve my full attention’ and ‘when you’re socialiising it’s OK to not look people in the eye but be absorbed in something else at the same time’.
Do you eat at the dinner table and answer every ‘ping’ or messages on your phone when they come up?
Do you watch TV with your kids and scroll through your phone at the same time?
Either way, what message is this sending to your kids?
What you inadvertently are saying is that family time isn’t sacrosanct. It can be shared with people who aren’t there. You’re showing that relationship in the home is equally important to virtual ones, even if the virtual ones don’t know you’re engaging with them.
Do you spend a lot of time online at home when you could be doing things around the house or with the kids?
Would the proverb,
‘Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control’ (Proverbs 25:28)
...apply to you as a parent with technology/screen time.
Maybe you spend time gaming when you could be doing some sport with your kids. Maybe you’re scrolling through Insta when you could bake or garden or board game with them.
Listen to this advice from some parents called Ben and Deb who have children aged 3, 6, 8 and 10:
‘We have been convinced lately about putting boundaries on our own use of technology. We can be pretty poor role models to the children sometimes. We need to be mindful of setting some tighter boundaries for ourselves, and not be distracted by the constant buzz of alerts and reminders from all our devices’ (page 63 ‘Cyber Parenting’)
When we choose to put our devices down and be intentional about our face to face or even just ‘hanging around family’ time, what we are saying loud and clear is that we value those relationships above anything in those screens.
In short, WE are the example that the kids need to follow.
You and I need to set the limits on the amount and type and timing of our screen usage so that we show our kids self-control and how much we value them.
We will have a whole lot more credibility training your kids in self control and other godly traits if we can demonstrate that we are working on those qualities ourselves with our screen time.
For me, I hate the darn thing. But I do get distracted by those ever so urgent sounding notifications that blurt out the demand: ‘hey, whatever conversation you’re having with your child right now is of no consequence to the little ripper I’ve got for you’.
So, I check it and it’s Facebook or some other unnecessary ‘ping’ that really doesn’t even deserve to be opened.
So, which areas do you struggle in?
Go on, shoot me an email and let us know what you’re going to do different to set a better example to your kids.
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Resource: ‘Cyber Parenting. Raising Your Kids in An Online World by James & Simone Boswell