You may come to a frustrating realization if you as a parent Google strategies to help build healthy technology habits in yourself that you can pass on to your children. Nearly all of the available information centers solely on addressing your children’s technology habits, and not how to cultivate better habits for yourself to encourage the behavior as a family. The Attachment Place understands that familial betterment requires every member to do their part, and it can be difficult to address the bad media habits of your children when they feel you yourself don’t exhibit the behaviors you’re requiring of them.
Adolescence and False Consequences
For many parents, confiscating their phones or computers may seem like a reasonable punishment for your adolescents. However, the effectiveness of this is disputable for the simple fact that children today live in a technologically-forward culture the likes of which we’ve never seen. And a large part of this is that adolescents see their parents utilize their cell phones or laptops for many of the same reasons they do. More and more school assignments are including online components, the vast amount of social and political organizing takes place online, and cell phones play an essential role in personal safety. While confiscating your child’s device may seem like the logical punishment in today’s technologically dependent world, the fact is that researcher’s worry it may have adverse effects on behavior, especially for those who have had modern technology as a consistent part of their life. A prime reason for this may be that the betrayal of trust in watching parents restrict something they also rely on, such as their smartphone, may feel disingenuous and breed malcontent in your relationship.
Balancing Your Own Habits
As discussed above, much of the research on behavior and devices centers around children, but the truth is that you as the parent set the example your children follow, and as such, it is up to you to cultivate an environment where devices are not something to be depended upon. There are a variety of reasons you may need your device throughout the day from work emails to important alarms or reminders, but trying to leverage technology as a non-essential thing that can be taken away is going to be much harder if you yourself exhibit a constant reliance on your device. Building a device usage plan as a family is a highly effective method of making sure your child understands that their device is not completely essential and that there are times where it is necessary to not access your devices, whether it be family dinner or one full day of the week. The key here is that trust has to be maintained, meaning if you set out expectations it is your responsibility as the authority figure to uphold them. If your family agrees to no devices at family dinner, you have to uphold that agreement, no matter how urgent the message may feel. Adolescents will push any boundaries you do not clearly demarcate, which is why it is essential to lay out family agreements regarding technology and stick to them yourself.
Navigating how to relate to your children’s device habits when you have serious one’s of your own can be challenging, but The Attachment Place offers parent coaching to help you become strong in the boundaries you lay out. Contact us today to learn more about how you can change own habits to build stronger relationships for your entire family.