You can foster independence and responsibility while you set boundaries.
Do you have an adult child living at home part-time or full-time? Are you considering this kind of arrangement? You might be struggling as you think about how to nurture and honor their adulthood while still being the adult parent in your home. I’ve got essential principles and practical help as you set boundaries with adult children. Let’s begin by examining the adult in the somewhat strange term adult child.
Everyone begins life being cared for by others. And if we live long enough, we each end our lives being cared for by other people. Somewhere in between is the chapter of life we call adulthood.
Adulthood: When you bear the responsibility of taking care of yourself.
If you’re a parent, you’ve brought a child into this world who began life utterly dependent on you. But as any toddler will show you, the desire to be independent is built in. It’s human nature for the toddler to protest and say, No, I’ll do it myself. That’s a healthy predisposition. Remember: The ultimate goal of parenting is to transition a dependent person into an independent person.
Parents raise future adults who do life themselves.
The toddler can’t actually do it themselves, and we don’t expect them to. But when is it reasonable to expect your adult child to be responsible for themselves and no longer dependent on you?
The transition can be tricky. It typically occurs between the late teens and early 20s. How do you know when your child is an adult? Every individual is different. You know where your young adult is from a developmental standpoint. But there are some significant signposts.
18 – Legally accountable. Vote. Enlist in the military. Marry without parental consent.
21 – Can buy tobacco, alcohol, and in many states, cannabis.
25 – Rent a car.
26 – Latest age they can be on most parents’ health insurance.
What do you see when you look at those numbers? From 18 to 26, there’s a window of time where adult freedoms and responsibilities kick in. Hopefully, we prepared our kids for the “training wheels” to come off during their teenage years. At 18, the training wheels are definitely beginning to come off. By the early to mid-20s, the transition is complete.
Your toddler is now an adult peddling through life on their own.
★ If we don’t give our adult children responsibilities, they can’t be independent and reach adulthood. This only extends their childhood and delays their maturity.
There are legitimate circumstances that may cause your adult child to be at home: College, unemployment, experiencing childbirth, illness, even a broken marriage or partnership. Our goal as parents is to promote independence through education, employment, financial stability, and ultimately, living on their own. Moving back home (in most cases) should be a temporary arrangement marked with tangible goals leading to their moving out.
Think of an adult child living at home as more like a housemate and less like a teenager. Your name is on the mortgage or lease. Sure, there should be healthy conversations. But you get the final word.
★ Something(s) To Think About. As parents, we have an impulse to do anything we can for our kids. Know your limits. Understand the healthy freedoms & responsibilities your adult child needs to grow into an independent adult.
Will there be an agreed-upon end date?
What signposts can you put in place to mark educational & occupational goals?
Will you be dealing with a young person who has drug or alcohol issues? Significant mental health issues?
Will your child be bringing a baby with them?
Despite your good intentions, realistically, can you handle this?
Avoid problems before they happen. Address and agree to boundaries before an adult child moves back home (if possible). Put them in writing. Sign them like a rental agreement or contract.
What are sensible, reasonable requirements or conditions you would have for a housemate to reside with you?
1. They’re reasonably easy to live with. They respect you, your property, and your boundaries.
Start here. You and your adult child living at home will occasionally experience friction. That’s reasonable. They’re adult family.
(If it helps, think of your adult child as a stranger who is renting a room at your place. There would undoubtedly be limits.)
Sadly, there are numerous cases of adult children intimidating, manipulating, or even verbally and physically abusing their parents. You wouldn’t put up with that behavior from a renter. You can’t tolerate such behavior from your adult child. Basic respect is a minimum requirement. Understand what abuse is in all of its forms.*
2. They’re a contributor, not just a consumer – a giver, not just a taker.
This arrangement shouldn’t just be a net financial gain for your adult child. It should instill discipline and be instructive. Catch this: The person doing the work is learning and growing. The person sacrificing is the person developing character and life skills. This person must be your adult child.
What resources do they have? Income? What amount can they reasonably contribute? Tough Love Alert: If your adult child is enrolled in school, they can probably work part-time. If your adult child isn’t in school and is unemployed, their job is to find a job.
What about time & energy? Your adult child can help with household cleaning, laundry, yardwork, and meal prep & clean up. Organize these responsibilities with systems and schedules. Focus on clear communication. If you’re providing childcare while your son or daughter is at work or school, factor that into the division of labor. (I know, I know, but this is your grandchild, right? Call up a local daycare or preschool. Understand the value of the service you are providing.)
3. Hopefully, this is a harmonious, temporary situation.
Don’t be surprised if adjustments take some time, it’s difficult, or it isn’t working out. It’s ok to feel bad if your adult child is in a tough spot in their life. It’s understandable to want to help. Maybe you can. Perhaps you shouldn’t. What’s certain is that you can’t be motivated by guilt or a well-intentioned, “I can fix this.” Let that stuff go. Be the parent your adult child needs today. To let them play video games 24/7, “borrow” money constantly, or take advantage of you is to stunt the growth of their adult independent living skills. You love them too much to do that.
4. If you allow your adult child to move in with you, the situation should be right for you both.
Communicate and set boundaries upfront. Agree on how you’ll know the arrangement is working and can continue to an agreed-upon end date. As difficult or uncomfortable as it may be, communicate the signs and consequences that will bring an end to this arrangement.
Remember: Your adult child is becoming the person they will be for the rest of their life.
*Domestic Violence Hotline
Do you feel unsafe? For a free, confidential, and clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here, or contact the Domestic Violence Hotline, 24/7, at 1−800−799−7233.
If you’re a father or a stepfather, I’m going to ask you to do one thing today. One. This one thing is for the little girl in your life. Whether she’s a baby, is “toddlering” around the house, navigating middle school, working on a college degree, or has started a family of her own: It doesn’t matter. She’ll always be your little girl.
You know the saying: A son is a son ‘til he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life.
I recently read something by Mat Johnson that was so profound it froze me in my tracks. I had to sit down and let it sink in. (Full Disclosure: I was already seated. But the rest is absolutely accurate.) Mat is a professor and prize-winning author of fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels. He is also the father of two little girls. Here’s what he said that hit me like a ton of bricks:
A man’s daughter is his heart. Just with feet, walking out in the world.
That’s powerful stuff. I don’t know how much Mat is into family research, but in just 14 words, he encapsulated decades of studies on the impact a father has on his daughter’s life. It’s worth breaking down and looking a little deeper.
A Man’s Daughter Is His Heart…
I’m about to share a bunch o’ findings from a bunch o’ research. (I’ll link to it at the end for your perusal.)
First, understand that you’re always directly or indirectly impacting your daughter. She’s watching, listening, and taking mental notes. (Like, how does Dad treat Mom, me, and other women?) Remember: It’s not about just being around. The goal is to actively engage with your daughter from birth onward.
Daughters who have a dynamic, secure, warm, comfortable, conversational, and loving relationship with their father gain all sorts of advantages they carry throughout their lives. Your life is molding hers.
…Just With Feet, Walking Out In This World.
What dad doesn’t want these things for their daughter?
Actively engaged fathers help their daughters become more:
Intellectually developed – from IQ to better grades in school.
Confident and assertive. (And more likely to feel better about themselves.)
Likely to pursue higher education.
Likely to have higher career achievement & have a higher-paying job.
Likely to experience better emotional & mental health.
Likely to have healthy romantic relationships up to, and including, marriage.
⇨ Your Relationship With (Your Wife) And Daughter Also Provides A Critical Buffer ⇦
Daughters with actively involved fathers are less likely to:
Develop eating disorders and a poor self-image.
Engage in “delinquent” behavior as an adolescent.
Become pregnant as a teenager.
Experience dating violence or be coerced into sex.
Be resilient and navigate obstacles & stressful situations.
How do you get started? According to research, technically, it begins with being present and involved in your daughter’s birth. (You’re probably past that.) Check out these pointers on being a great girl dad for an infant or toddler.
Keep these general principles in mind:
Listen to girls. What are your daughter’s thoughts, beliefs, feelings and dreams? Don’t just focus on how she looks. Make sure she knows she’s beautiful and valuable on the inside, too.
Encourage her strength and celebrate her savvy. Help your daughter learn to recognize, resist and overcome barriers. Help her develop her strengths to achieve her goals.
Respect her uniqueness. Urge her to love her body and discourage dieting. Make sure your daughter knows that you love her for who she is. See her as a whole person capable of doing anything. Treat her and those she loves with respect.
Get physically active with her. Play catch, tag, jump rope, basketball or go for walks. Studies show that physically active girls have fathers who are active with them.
Involve yourself in your daughter’s activities. Volunteer to drive, coach or host.
Talk to other fathers. There’s a lot you can learn from each other.
Help make the world better for girls. One time, while I was walking through the mall with my teenage daughter, I made a point of watching the eyes of the people we passed. It was disturbing. This world holds dangers for our daughters. Overprotection doesn’t work. Make sure your daughter is over-prepared to navigate the world.
So, what’s the one practical thing you’re going to do today to work on bonding and building up your daughter? Even if you don’t live with your daughter, you still make a difference.
Dads, we can’t do it all in one day, but we can do that one thing today, then one other thing tomorrow. Our daughters need us for the rest of their lives.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/7-tips-for-Dads-of-Daughters-e1597273120229.jpg320450John Daumhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJohn Daum2022-03-11 12:00:002022-03-15 10:51:277 Tips for Dads of Daughters
Set your course with these quick, easy and totally practical steps.
Being a dad has been the most incredible adventure of my life. Emphasis on adventure! There’s nothing quite like being a dad (moms are awesome too, but I can’t speak to that experience). I remember when I found out that we were expecting our first child. I was so excited and so freaked out! And I wanted to prepare myself for fatherhood in every way possible.
If you’re preparing for fatherhood, here are some things you can do:
Do your research.
Read as much as you can about becoming a dad and what it takes to be a dad (the tasks and the relational aspect). There are plenty of books, blogs and podcasts about being a dad. Here are a few of my favorites:
Experience is a great teacher! Talk to new dads and those who have years of experience. There is immense value in learning from both groups. Talking to experienced dads can also help you decide the type of father you want to be.
Finish those household projects.
Got unfinished projects that you haven’t had time to finish? Well, now’s the time. No need to have those hanging over your head after the baby arrives.
Make a plan for responsibilities.
Talk with Mom about who will do what. This isn’t a one-time conversation, either. Be open about your expectations of each other and parenthood. You need to discuss this before the baby gets here and you’re both exhausted. The goal is to make sure you both have sufficient baby time and the ability to get sleep when you can.
Talk about parenting with Mom.
There are different types and philosophies of parenting. Whether you’re married or not, discuss how you want to raise your child.
These questions can get you started:
How can I best support the method of feeding you choose?
Where will the baby sleep?
Will both of you return to work? If so, when?
What about childcare? (Childcare is often in short supply, so if you’ll be seeking childcare, start now. Apply everywhere you can and be prepared for long waitlists.)
Start buying those baby supplies.
There’s no time like the present to purchase what you need. Make a list and buy throughout the pregnancy. Decide on a diapering system and stock up. If you’re using disposable diapers, buy different sizes and brands. You never know how the baby will react to certain brands.[Pro tip: Don’t open the diapers and keep receipts. You can always exchange them as long as you know where you got them.]
Take care of yourself physically.
Becoming a parent takes a lot of energy. If you need to make some healthier choices for yourself, do it now. It’s much easier to make life changes before your child is born.
Talk to your employer.
It’s about more than just taking time off after your baby is born. Will you have the flexibility to attend doctor’s appointments? Will your job allow you to occasionally work from home?
Attend doctor appointments.
You need to go to as many prenatal doctor’s appointments as possible now. Your role is significant. Ask all the questions you can think of.
Spend time with your friends and family.
You may have all the time in the world right now, but that’s gonna change when your little one arrives. That’s the life of a new parent. Spend time with your friends now. If they aren’t parents, let them know your time is about to get REAL stretched. If they’re parents, they’ve been there, and they get it.
Don’t stress yourself out.
The only way to know how to be a dad is to BE A DAD. No two kids or experiences are alike, so don’t worry that you won’t be prepared. Learn as much as you can now without putting too much pressure on yourself or Mom. If you’re both first-time parents, it’s a big learning curve. Do the best you can.
Like I said: Being a dad is an adventure. Your role is crucial in the development of your child. They need you, and you have what it takes to be a great dad.
Any parent is susceptible if there’s an imbalance between the stress and their resources.
Have you ever felt like you can’t parent any longer? Like you’ve given everything you’ve got, and there’s nothing left? These feelings are a reality for many parents. They are simply exhausted. And if they don’t address it, exhaustion can lead to burnout.
What is parental burnout?
Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger describes burnout as a severe stress condition. It leads to extreme physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Burnout goes well beyond stress or fatigue, though. With burnout, navigating day-to-day responsibilities can be a challenge.
Burnout is often discussed in professional circles. But parents are at risk, too. Board-certified neurologist, Dr. Puja Aggarwal, defines parental burnout as “the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that one feels from the chronic stress of parenting.”
Continual exposure to stressful situations brings on this state of mental and physical exhaustion. For some parents, burnout is all too real.
All parents are at risk, though. Parenting is tough. And parenting can be stressful, especially during the early stages of child development. But what do we do?
Being aware that parental burnout is real and being mindful of the signs can help you get the help you need.
In recent years, Drs. Isabelle Roskam and Moïra Mikolajczak have extensively researched parental burnout. After surveying more than 900 burned-out parents, they developed a Parental Burnout Assessment (and anyone can use it). They’ve also studied more than 17,000 parents in 45 countries to learn more about what causes burnout.
“Burnout is the result of too much stress and the absence of resources to cope with it,” Roskam said. “You will burn out only if there is an imbalance between stress and resources.”
Here are five signs of burnout according to the Parental Burnout Assessment:
1. Constant exhaustion.
Parenting is tiring; we can all agree on that. But feeling tired or drained all the time is a whole other level. Studies show that parents may experience different types of exhaustion based on their children’s age. Parents of younger kids are often more physically tired. Parents of teens often experience emotional fatigue caused by conflicts with their children.
Frequently, burned-out parents stress over how they will get everything done.
2. Distancing yourself from your child(ren)
Burned-out parents may do this to preserve energy. Have you ever heard a parent say, “I love my children, but I can’t stand being around them anymore”?
3. Loss of fulfillment.
Parents often find they are not the parents they used to be or would like to be. They see a difference in who they are. This can lead to extreme guilt and stress.
4. Suicidal thoughts or ideas of escape.*
With job-related burnout, you can find another job. But leaving is not an option for burned-out parents. Some parents reported feeling trapped and had thoughts of escape or even suicide. These thoughts were more common among parents than in those experiencing job burnout.
5. Being violent or neglectful toward your child(ren).**
Even if a parent opposes being violent or neglectful toward their child, burnout can cause them to be.
Psychologists have also identified other signs of burnout. They include:
Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or self-doubt
Headaches, neck pain, and muscle aches
Loss of motivation
Changes in appetite or sleeping habits
Feeling isolated or alone
It’s essential to know and recognize the signs of parental burnout.
Any parent is susceptible to burnout if there’s an imbalance between the stress and their resources. Burnout is preventable, and help is available, too.
*If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are a number of websites and organizations with excellent resources for you. HelpGuide is a great place to start, along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 988.
**Contact the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) for more resources or to report abuse.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Untitled-20-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2022-03-09 13:05:442022-07-25 13:36:0110 Signs You Have Parental Burnout
I have a confession to make: I’ve been stressed and exhausted many times. I’ve felt burned out and ready to quit, but not from work obligations – from being a parent.
Parenting is tough. It’s demanding. Before our son was born 10 years ago, I recall people telling me everything would change. I don’t remember anyone telling me I’d be taking 2AM walks to stay sane. No one told me there would be days I’d question whether I could continue. The list of things I wish I’d known then is long.
Parental burnout is a real thing, but don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t trade being a dad for anything. Researchers Hubert and Aujoulat found that “parental burnout results from situations where exhaustion occurs as a result of being physically and emotionally overwhelmed by one’s parental role.”
If you’ve been a parent for at least a couple of hours, you know that parenting stress is real. But when it consumes you, burnout sets in. There’s hope, though. You can stop the cycle of parental burnout.
The stress isn’t going anywhere, but there are some healthy ways to lessen the pressure.
Surround yourself with a community.
“It takes a village to raise a child.”
I never quite understood that until we had our first child. But it’s true. Raising a child isn’t easy. Mine didn’t come with a how-to guide.
Surround yourself with people who want what’s best for you. Think about grandparents, other parents, or friends who care about your well-being. You need people in your life to help care for your child when you need it and to help you care for yourself. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or less than. Any person who has raised a child knows the stress involved.
Text one person and invite them over. Ask them to hold you accountable for taking time for yourself.
Take care of yourself.
When you’re responsible for a little one, it’s easy to put all your energy into making sure you meet their needs. When they get all your energy, there’s nothing left for you.
Have you ever been on a plane and heard the safety speech? If the airbags are deployed, put yours on before you try to put on someone else’s. That sounds counterintuitive to parenting, but it’s so true. If you don’t care for yourself, you won’t have anything to give. Being a parent is the best reason I’ve ever had to take good care of myself.
Exercise, eat healthy foods, get rest (when you can), or meditate. Will it be easy? No. Is it important? Extremely!
Put down your phone. Go get a glass of water, and take deep breaths as you drink. Make it your goal to do that three times today.
Give yourself grace.
You won’t be a perfect parent, and that’s ok! We all mess up. I don’t think I could list all the mistakes I’ve made. As my kids have gotten a little older, I ask them for lots of grace, too. I apologize when I make a mistake.
Don’t fall into the social media comparison game, either. You may see someone who looks like the perfect parent – but remember, social media usually shows the best moments. You may not see all the tears it took to get that perfect photo.
Allow yourself to make mistakes. Tell yourself, “My child doesn’t need a perfect parent – they need a present parent.”
Take a break when you need it.
If your child is in childcare or school, take a day off every once in a while to be alone. Enjoy doing what you like to do. Maybe that’s getting outdoors, taking a long bath or chilling with a movie. And don’t feel guilty about it. You have permission to take time for yourself.
Schedule an hour this week to take a break. Right now, ask your support system to help you make this happen.
Boundaries help to protect your time and your relationships. You may have to say no to some good things. As my children have become more independent, I’ve found that I can say yes to more things I want to do.
Prioritize your well-being and relationships when opportunities come your way.
Ask, “What have I said yes to that I don’t have margin for?” Then do your best to take that off your list.
Parenting isn’t easy, but you can do it. If you already feel burned out and have nothing left to give, reach out to a professional, coach or counselor. You don’t have to walk this road alone.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Untitled-2-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2022-03-02 12:47:422022-03-02 14:09:29How to Stop the Cycle of Parental Burnout
Short Answer: Yes, your teen needs screen time limits, but it’s not quite that simple. What screen time limits look like depends on your teen and your relationship with them. The limits you set have much less to do with the screens and much more with the teens.
★ Eyes On The Prize: You’re raising a future adult. You’re working yourself out of a job.
Long Answer: I was waiting for the “On-Air” light on the set of a local talk show. My segment was about technology and families, particularly teens, smartphones, and social media. I was excited because:
I’m passionate about how technology affects families and relationships, so I’ve been following the research for some time.
And I’m parenting a teen, and I talk to other parents about these issues. I’m in this with you. I know it’s hard.
My mind was on my messaging as I waited for that light to come on. What do I tell parents about screens and teens? Easy.
Emphasize parenting principles.
1. There’s no substitute (app, program, setting, filter) for a strong, healthy relationship between a parent and their teen.
2. Talking to teens about screen time and technology is an ongoing thing. It requires talking about many other unrelated things. Things THEY want to talk about when THEY are open to talk. ★ If parents don’t put in genuine relationship work, teens won’t hear their parents talk about screen time (or just about anything else).
3. Stay informed about the technology your teen uses, but, more importantly, stay informed about your teen. Notice their moods, changes in their behavior, and how they spend their time. Is your teen generally responsible and trustworthy? Developing appropriate life skills? Well-rounded and balanced? Have things like pornography, sexting, and cyberbullying already been a part of their screen use?
4. Leading by example is essential when it comes to screen time and technology.
What is your relationship with technology? Are you modeling the behaviors you’d like to see from your teen?
And to my frustration, the host only wanted to talk about kids being abducted because of what they posted online. Wow.Oh.Okay.Um.Yeah. We can talk about all that, I guess. This is the kind of stuff parents are up against when talking to their teens about screens.
What makes it HARDER to talk about screens with teens?
The media feeds parents a steady stream of sensationalized, scary stories.
The research in this area, frankly, is all over the place. (To be fair, we’re talking about relatively new and constantly-evolving technology.) This can confuse and frustrate well-intentioned parents. Examples?
I could link to studies to “prove” all of the following:
Screens keep teens from socializing. No, they help teens socialize.
Screens hinder cognitive development. No, they help cognitive development.
Screens hurt teens’ mental health. No, hurting teens gravitate to screens. Or, screens can help heal teens’ mental health. (I think all three can be true.)
Screens make it harder to keep teens safe. No, they make it easier to keep teens safe.
Screens interrupt teens’ sleep patterns. No, they can help repair those patterns.
Teens quickly point out any hypocrisy between their parent’s message and their parent’s example. And teens are often more tech-savvy than their parents.
These screens on smartphones, tablets, and laptops are already ingrained in your average teen’s life. In positive, practical ways:
Homework and projects.
Virtual college visits.
Work and sports scheduling.
Connecting with family & extended family.
Shopping for stuff they need.
Outlets for creativity & developing new skills & hobbies.
Not getting lost driving.
Calling for help if they need it.
Simply texting that practice has been canceled is a huge help.
A screen is a tool. How is your teen using it? True, it’s a powerful tool, but screens aren’t good or bad. And they are here to stay.
So, let’s get practical.
Here are some adaptable ideas about screen time limits that may (or may not) help your teen.
⇨ I don’t usually make a point about this, but the links in this blog take you to the info you want and need. Click ’em for some deeper practical information for screens and your unique teen!
Screens can isolate. Screen use only in “common areas” of the house. No screens in their bedroom. Or no screens in their bedroom at night.
Screens can distract. (Part 1) Screens get put to “bed” in the kitchen or the parent’s bedroom to charge overnight, so teens can read, think, and even be “bored” before they fall asleep. Teens can use old-fashioned alarm clocks. ☆ Are You Up For It?
Set the example. Everybody’s phone charges overnight outside the bedroom. You might unwind and fall asleep better, too!
Screens can distract. (Part 2) “Notifications” are a phone’s way of saying, “Notice me now!” But notifications can be turned off completely, muted, put in “Do Not Disturb” mode or “Driving Mode.” Help your teen learn to check their phone when they need to, not when their phone wants them to. Here’s notification help.
Screens can demand. Most smartphones come with Screen Use Monitoring weekly reports. These reports show time spent on social media, entertainment, productivity, etc. ☆ Are You Up For It? Offer to compare your report with your teen’s. Make a game out of it. You can both set goals for next week!
Talking To Your Teen About Screens… And Other Things.
It can be challenging to get your teen to talk about anything. Here’s help. And here.
In general, you’re working toward a conversation with your teen, not a confrontation.
Try to have a genuine dialogue. Listen to your teen’s ideas and input. It’s not a weakness to collaborate, negotiate, and have some give and take. Agree to boundaries that leave room for your teen to prove they’re responsible and trustworthy. Being clear about consequences for choices outside those boundaries is essential.
Screens can tempt even the BEST teen into making BAD decisions – it happens. Try responding instead of reacting. Pornography. Sexting. Cyberbullying. Posting things that come back to haunt them when they apply for a job or college.
Try to interact with your teen and their screens. The fancy term is “joint media engagement.” Watch ’em play some video games. Ask them to show you the funny Tik Toks. Ask about posts that confused/frustrated/angered them today? This can start great conversations.
Ask your teen how social media makes them feel about themselves and their life. Then listen and listen. When it comes to social media, encourage your teen to create, not just consume.
★ Eyes On The Prize: You’re raising a future adult, and screens are gonna be part of their life.
One day, you won’t be there to limit their screen time, but you can prepare them now.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Untitled-4-01.png5001200John Daumhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJohn Daum2022-02-09 10:22:102022-02-18 09:44:11Does My Teen Need Screen Time Limits?
These guidelines can set you on a path to better relationships.
Have you paused lately to look around at our technological world? From smart home devices to self-driving cars, it’s a lot to take in. And then, we have to guide our children on how to engage with all this – and talk about screen time. It’s overwhelming to hear all the different voices, from professionals to friends, telling us how our kids should use technology. Our kids are growing up in a world where digital identities are just as real as physical ones. And it’s not like there’s a well-laid out manual for helping your child navigate an ever-changing technological world.
You may be wondering, “What in the world do I do here?”
We can ask a different question, though. It’s this: “How can my family use technology without allowing technology to use us?”
As you make your plan, consider your personal situation. Based on American Academy of Pediatrics research, these general guidelines can help you navigate technology use in your home.
Screen time: the good and the bad.
Screen time isn’t wrong in and of itself. It’s all about how you use it. There are many benefits to co-viewing with younger children and using technology to promote learning and conversation.
Too much screen time can be linked to:
Lower academic performance
Benefits of screen time:
Exposure to new ideas and information
Connection to family and friends who are geographically distant
Co-viewing and co-playing with your child can promote healthy development
Digital tools can promote school readiness or enhance learning
Creating a plan as a family is powerful. Of course, you, as the parent, have to determine how much screen time your child has. But there is power in allowing them to craft how that looks and what other activities they can be involved in to ensure they exercise their physical and creative skills.
Utilize screen time limits on devices.
Most devices have parental controls for screen time usage. Use all the tools at your disposal.
Balance screen time with quality personal time.
Children need parental or caretaker engagement to develop emotionally and socially. Ensure that you’re balancing their screen time with your presence.
Avoid screens at mealtime.
Meals are a fantastic way to connect as a family. Focus the time on discussing what everyone’s day was like or asking questions to spur conversation.
Avoid screens in the bedroom.
A child’s bedroom is a great place to play and rest. At a young age, avoid allowing them to take screens into their room as much as possible.
Turn off all screens during family outings.
Screens can be distracting when the family is engaging in activities together. Turn off screens for all family members (parents included).
Unplug from screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Our brains need time to decompress and rest. Spend this time reading together to prepare everyone for a restful night.
What this means for you.
Your child is going to use screens. It’s how they connect with the world. Do your best to help guide how they use screen time in a healthy way. Sure, you may bend or break the rules at times. You may need to give in to more screen time ‘cause you need a break or have to get something done. That’s ok. Your child will continue to develop and grow. What they need more than strict tech rules is an involved parent. Make sure they are getting outdoors and playing and creating. If you haven’t navigated screens well up to this point, that’s ok. There’s no better time to start than the present.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-14-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2022-01-31 16:12:102022-02-01 11:20:55Your Ultimate Guide to Screen Time