It is difficult to disconnect from the device (and hence work and tasks), and yet it is so easy to be disconnected from our children. A recent news story featured a study that showed parents having a difficult time paying attention to their children while dinning out. Their heads were down texting and reading emails, rather than being in conversation with kids.
Boundary-setting as reconnecting
Make peace with setting boundaries in your life that honors family relationships as a priority. When you are with your children for dinner or driving to various events and activities, put down the device and pay attention; listen.
- Get interested in learning more about how your child’s childhood is informing them. Open communication with children, especially tweens and teens, requires the parent to do more listening and less talking.
- Engage your child in conversation by asking him open ended questions. Ask for her opinion on various topics, and what she finds interesting in the latest games, apps or videos she is experiencing with herfriends.
- Impart wisdom as passion for your child’s civil liberty. When you learn something about your child’s reasoning or choices that introduce risk or are not in alignment with their values (kindness, honesty, compassion for others, work ethic, etc.) then ask questions to encourage reconciliation, without judgment. It is the Jesus model: meet people where they are (no matter how sad, frustrated, hostile or angry, or how much you disagree), speak truth with mercy, and then offer a better course of action and let the person choose the better path.
The modern parent is challenged to have faith in God’s promises; that He grants wisdom liberally to the sincere heart (James 1:5). Our job as parents is to encourage our children to seek their own relationship with God so they can be guided by His divine love and wisdom.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
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