CyberParent Power Topic of the Week
Now more than ever, what you believe matters for the parent-child relationship because the pressure from the social network distracts us about things that don’t really matter and tries to convince us of things that are largely not true. Some examples include:
- The number of friends in my network measure my worth.
- You are invisible if you are not on Facebook (or the social media du jour, Instagram, kik!, snapchat)
- Strangers care about me more than my parents do
- Keeping secrets from my parents is my right to privacy
- The Internet is the source of knowledge and empowerment
And probably the most challenging part of being a parent in a cyber-powered world is that the network technology can be intoxicating for children who can easily believe that all they need to know they can “google.” There is increased hostility to reasonable parental oversight and engagement in the affairs of youth.
This hostility to wisdom can appear as “strong willed” as youth at very early ages are clinging to their mobile devices as if it were a life line.
And by the same token, parental involvement in the lives of children has boundaries. There are limits defined very nicely by natural consequences as expressed in Love and Logic curriculum.
Cannan Sampson is a Love and Logic instructor at Koinonia Family Services in Loomis and he wants parents to know that parenting a strong willed, cyber-powered child is about self-control for you first, and then your child. “You as the parent need to know that the only thing you can really control is yourself,” he said. “The fewer words we say, the more effective we become.”
According to Sampson, the parent has to recognize their own misperceptions about discipline. “Holding children to a standard and setting expectations will not hurt them,” he said. “It will help them.”
This misconception about discipline is a fundamental problem for the modern parenting culture linked to the idea that we can somehow make our children happy. In fact, we cannot make our children happy, because happiness is a choice, a decision which we cannot make for them.
However, we can help them experience self-discipline as empowerment. Sampson encourages parents to first accept that your children will attempt to manipulate you; it is a struggle for control and it is a natural thing that makes it possible to engage them in meaningful ways. You have their attention, after all. “Your job is to teach them to make good decisions about serious issues, especially the cyber stuff,” he said. “You can love them and challenge their behavior.”
Below are Sampson’s cyber parenting tips:
- Don’t rely on electronic safeguards Electronic Safeguards are no substitute for good parental role modeling, supervision , and guidance.
- Keep the computer out of your child’s room Parents have the right and the responsibility to have the computer someplace where they can stay in touch with how it’s used.
- Have honest discussions and set positive expectations This goes along with what we were discussing the other night. “There are a lot of not-so-great things on the Web. The good news is that you’re the kind of kid who can make smart choices about what he looks at and what he doesn’t”. Dr. Charles Fay
- Expect your child to pay for excessive or inappropriate use of the computer. Give the Love and Logic approach a try and see if you can see a turn around in the use of the Cyber World with your child.
The authority of a parent is that of a child’s first teacher and our primary job is to give our children instructive experiences at home on how to use their free will wisely, so they will be less vulnerable to the manipulations and risky encounters of bad actors and commercial interests posting, tweeting and beckoning youth to come hither. And more importantly, children need to learn self-discipline so they can be empowered to go into the world, contribute to society and prosper.
To sign up for Love and Logic Training: Koinonia Love and Logic Parenting
For more about preparing you and your child to be self-disciplined in the social network, go to: A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She 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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