Parents are losing control at home when it comes to technology. Too many teens (and parents) are distracted with their devices, and there doesn’t appear to be a lot of boundaries when it comes to screen time.
I get it, Parents. We’re tired, overwhelmed, and it’s so much easier to just live and let live in the house. But what kind of relationships are we creating within the family unit when we’re constantly escaping behind screens?
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, and as a teacher, I understand its value and benefits. However, disconnected relationships and poor communication are two major byproducts of an at-home laissez-faire attitude towards technology.
Parents, I encourage you to establish these three easy rules in order to build a healthy relationship with your teen:
- 1 – No devices in the car. I find that car rides are some of the best times to connect with my children. It may take prodding, but if they can’t use devices in the car, they will end up communicating with you. Ask questions, talk, laugh, sing to the radio. Don’t waste this time in silence.
- 2 – No devices while eating. Meal times should be social times. This is not a time for family members to be multitasking on their phones. I’ve never understood this, and I’ve seen this often at restaurants. There’s nothing worse than seeing a completely disengaged family eating in a restaurant while everyone is on some sort of device.
- 3 – No devices in the bedroom. This has been a strict rule in my house with all three of my children. Anything they need to do on their phones or laptops, can be done in an open area, where I can monitor and discuss what they’re doing. This also pertains to TV and video games. None of these things should be in a child’s bedroom. Additionally, devices need to be turned in before bedtime – no exceptions. No good comes out of teens accessing any kind of electronics in the middle of the night, and as a teacher, I notice more students coming to school so tired, they can barely function in the classroom. I hear them talking to their friends about gaming all night or texting with friends. This lack of sleep ultimately affects their mood, which then negatively impacts your relationship.
I should also remind parents that these guidelines need to be modeled by you. You can’t enforce them with the mindset of “do as I say, not as I do” – your children are watching.
When you are consistent with these simple rules, you will carve out moments in each day to connect with your teen. It’s especially important to ensure a good line of communication during the tumultuous teen years.
My book Parenting Teens in a Digital World will be published in the fall of 2020. If you would like to pre-order your copy, click HERE.