What’s jamming your parent-child communication signals?

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Banana Moments Monthly Round Up

Father Phil Massetti, St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church in Granite Bay, Ca.

Our belief system is the software of the brain, which creates a prism for the lessons we choose to learn from the adversity and good fortune of life experiences.  And from a cyber safety perspective, we parents struggle intensely and fearfully with the fact that we do not have control over what our children believe and the lessons they choose to learn. We do, however, have control over our own hearts and minds and the lessons we choose to teach in the way we govern our own lives and our homes which profoundly impacts the parent-child communication bond.

How are you distracted from really communicating with your child?

Yesterday Father Phil Massetti, at St. Joseph Marrello Catholic Church in Granite Bay, asked his congregation to think about the ways in which we jam up our ability to really relate to one another and make a loving home.  “Our relationships are formed in Spirit,” he said, “And I am asking that we consider the things we do that create a type of cholesterol of the spirit.”

He cites three main ways in which we wind up producing “cholesterol of the spirit” which prevents us from recognizing and responding to the needs of others: comfort of wealth (affluence), busy-ness (distracted living) and our own pain. This is such a profound truth for the parent role in the cyber-powered world our children are navigating.

Wealth. When we get comfortable it is easy to ignore the needs of others, and risk becoming judgmental and critical, rather than relating to the person in the circumstance.  ” Perhaps we are judging the person holding up the sign asking for help to get food. We might be telling ourselves:  ‘Why didn’t this person make better choices, or get a job?’,”  Massetti suggests.

At home, perhaps we do not understand why our children are struggling to “succeed” in school or in sports, or to simply behave, because we have provided them with every material desire. How many of us struggle to communicate with depressed, anxious or angry children despite the affluent life?

Busy-ness.  We are distracted by tasks and steams of things to do; multi-tasking is incorrectly perceived as productive. “What about the boy who slides into home base, stands up with the dust settling to discover he is safe? There are cheers in the crowd, and he looks up in the stands at his father, who has his head down, texting,”  Massetti ponders.

His question makes one wonder how many moments in the day do we have our heads down, paying attention to things that really don’t matter. How many moments of simply, truly being present with our children have we missed because we are too distracted by things that really don’t matter or are not true.

A college professor once said, “Wherever you are…be there.” So profound and so simple for the parent-child communication bond. We do not need to give our children all of our attention. But we do need to be mindful of giving them undivided attention when it is warranted. When you are with your child in the car, or at the dinner table, or when your child approaches you to ask for something or to tell you something, give them undivided attention. Even if it means asking him to wait just a minute to finish up what you were doing so you can pay attention.

Our own pain. The next way we jam our communication signals is with our own pain. When we feel that our own personal suffering is greater than what others are going through, we can become impervious to opportunities to help others and make a more peaceful home and community. How many of us have been the martyr or live with the martyr who demands attention to hurt feelings, anger or unhappiness with our lot in life? How many of us are blinded by the breakup of a romance, the loss of a job or income, struggling with a suffering child, or suffering with a disease that we cannot recognize opportunities to meet the needs of others.  Everybody has a story. Everybody is struggling with something, and it is relative.  But what is not relative is that when we learn to confront our pain in a loving relationship with others, we find that it becomes our greatest strength.

The greatest lessons we teach our children is how we govern our own state of heart and mind. Are you the victor or the victim?

After 53 years of family and work life, I have found that faith is a practical app for the heart and mind; much like the founding fathers of the United States of America, in order to create a free society, chose to put into action a mustard seed of faith that God’s sovereignty liberates us from tyranny.

In this regard, the origin of liberty is in the realm of hearts and minds; it is the product of divine inspiration which is an intensely personal thing and is mission critical for being a free agent in the flesh and in the cyber realm. For more about preparing children for the social network go to: A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17


Mark your calendar

B.R.A.V.E. Society is putting on a major conference for the Sacramento Region called, “See Something, Say Something, Do Something”

When: Saturday, Oct. 12 8am to 4pm

Location: Capital Christian Center, Sacramento, CA

Registration: Free. Sign up here.

Joanna will be speaking on:

“Getting a fresh start to confront the bully: What does God have to do with it?”

  • How lack of socialization for proper use of cyber communications contributes to a broken society ruled by the crowd, or group think, attacks the individual, and makes being in community unsafe
  • Faith and Free Society
  • Forgiveness as empowerment
  • Strategies for launching children as free agents into the social network, with the courage to confront the bully mentality and create a peaceful society


2013 September Monthly Round Up


CyberParenting Topic on The Fish 103.9FM

CyberParent Power Topic of the Week

Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner



Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

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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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna (jullien@surewest.net) and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.