We all love our kids. We can’t help it, besides biology, kids have amazing smiles and laughs and passion; even when they are yelling “I hate you”. Having said that, even the most amazing angels have their moment in the sun where they break the rules. It’s normal, it’s healthy, and we want them to, kind of, theoretically at least. But now what? Now the punishment. And a typical one I hear all the time is to take away their electronics. It’s easy and we feel like they shouldn’t be online as much as they are anyway. And what is a grounding if they have their phone the entire time too, right?
Wait a minute…
It’s not that easy. Not what you wanted to hear, right? Well, studies have shown that this generation of children have a completely different relationship with their peers based on their lifetime of connecting with their phone. In fact, The Atlantic has a great breakdown of some of the research on this very topic titled, Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation?
The phone has become the default coping mechanism for many adolescents to calm down whether through music or games. The phone is often how they conduct basic research for their class work. So taking away their phone privileges isn’t the simple punishment it used to be when the land line trailed into our locked adolescent bedrooms. A great resource, to begin understanding and looking at this world that is so unfamiliar to us is a book from Ana Homayoun called, Social Media Wellness. She breaks down how social media is transforming their lives and how you, as their parent, can begin to have these conversations with your child.
What are you trying to teach?
When your thinking about the punishment, a parent really needs to consider what they want to accomplish. Often, parents want the teenager to think about what they did or to have some time where they are engaging with their family instead of their friends. And their are lots of ways to accomplish this, both through limit setting and through technology. This blog is not a comprehensive review of all the different types of apps and tools out there (it would be obsolete before it was written). However, I will mention two apps that I really like that will give you idea on what to search for in your app store of choice.
Now for how technology can help you…
The first is called Kidslox and the second is called Mobile Guardian. The idea for both is that through these apps, you can limit various functions on your child’s cell phone. Maybe they are not allowed to text and make phone calls for the rest of the evening. Maybe they are restricted from the internet from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. every night. The point is, you can begin to set limits and take away specific privileges without taking away a kid’s entire connection with the world. And in the end, isn’t that what you were trying to accomplish anyway?
Good luck and please let us know of any other tools or boundaries that you set in your family. And if you’d like to talk with a professional about your child or parenting, please Call or Request an Appointment now.