Your Child Needs a Parent, Not a Friend
If you are feeling shame, please realize you’re not bad, and it’s okay. When your child was born, you were not given a manual on how to raise your child. Instead, you were handed diapers, a blanket and a bill saying good luck. (ha ha ha) The focus of this post is the importance of being a parent, not a friend
The moment you walked out of the hospital, your excitement and fear mounted, and you vowed to be the best parent ever. What happened?
You experienced the best parent syndrome where you want your child to be happy at all times, so you give them this, give them that. They no longer are babies and life happens: job, housework, friends, etc., and you discover the power of electronics if you haven’t already.
How amazing, you can set your child in front of a TV, and they will be entertained for hours, allowing you to get things done. However, if you’re like most parents, you start to use it more and more, and soon your child is always asking for it.
The Question – How do I get my kids off their phones?
I just finished wrapping up several different mental health conferences, and there was a frequent question, “How do I get my kids off of their phones?”
At the conferences the focus is to bring awareness and understanding; however, they bring a lot of shame. The shame that many parents feel because they have not taken control of electronics in their home and have ruined their child forever.
It’s never too late to be a parent, but you must lead with love and compassion. Your children still want you to be your parent, matter-of-fact, here’s a response to a question asked to teens.
When asked, “What do you wish your parents knew about social media and technology? What do you wish they would do?”
The teens interviewed said the following:
“I wished they would play with me more.”
“I wished they knew how hard it was to be a teenager.”
“Social media makes me feel bad about myself, but I can’t get off.”
“My parents? I don’t have parents, they’re friends, which is hard. I have too many friends.”
There are many other things mentioned, but the point is our children are screaming for help but silently. Your children don’t know you care. They need discipline, responsibility, love, connection, and understanding. You have amazing children and your desire to connect with them as a friend is not what they want.
Be Parents Now; Be Friends Later.
As your children become adults, that’s when you develop the friendship if you want. Your child needs you as a parent, now!
Back to the question, “How do I get my kids off their phones?”
I would sit down, when emotions are not high, and tell them you have a problem, make it about you. You will say something like this, “I’m really struggling with always being on my phone right now and I need your help. What can we do to help me learn to manage my phone better?”
Allow them to share their responses and you can share some of your own and then say, “I think those are some excellent management skills for the entire family to follow, what do you think? Thank you.”
Again, allow them to express their thoughts and feelings without bias. Let them know how much you care about them and that you love them, unconditionally and thank them again for helping you to come up with some solutions.