Q: My teen is getting up late for school, not getting homework/chores done because of playing video games and being on their devices all the time. What do we do? We’ve taken the devices away for a period of time, but as soon as we give them back, we’re right back to the same problems.
A: We’ve seen a loss of sense of control with parents over the last couple of decades. Some times, old-fashioned parenting is called for in situations such as these.
If you want to change a behavior and drive home a point, you have to take fairly serious actions. And stand by it no matter how much your kids nag you.
Take the devices away! Not for a few days or a week, but for several weeks. Lock them up or take them to work with you and lock them up there. Do not give them back for at least 60 days.
Forming a habit with kids (or adults for that matter) takes some time. So the questions we would ask you as a parent is: would you rather your kids develop positive habits now or have them struggle as adults? Would you rather be nagged incessantly for a couple of months or see your kid grow into an adult who can’t prioritize?
No kidding, this will take some serious grit! There will be pleas, proclamations of change and outright hateful words that are spewed vehemently. Don’t fall for it or engage with it at all.
The only thing you need to say is: when the behavior changes that we’re looking for and we feel it’s permanent, that’s the day you’ll get them back. This one will change your life! And if you do it right, you’ll help your kid in ways you can’t begin to imagine.
Some discipline weighs more than others in the long run. Let them hate you today or for weeks/months. You’re the adult. This won’t kill them. It can only help them in the future.
We love hearing from you—what do you think? Have you done this with your kids? What happened? Would you be willing to take your kids’ devices away from them, even if it meant having an eruption of attitude?
If you have a question for us, we’d love to answer it! Send us your burning questions and we just may post the answers on our Blog on Q&A Wondering Wednesday’s
Q: I bought my child an iPad to keep him entertained when he was 8 yrs old—he was inquisitive and it was a lot to deal with. Other moms had sworn by them for being their “electronic nanny”. Now he’s almost 13 and we’re experiencing all kinds of issues with him: he needs constant attention if he doesn’t have his devices, he’s moody, even when he’s on them, and is constantly “bored”. Is this typical? Or is this how all kids are in the “technology all the time” age?
A: Unfortunately, yes! This is probably going to be a little tough to hear, but lots of reputable studies over the last several years show that video games cause short attention span, lowered school performance and creates sleep difficulties.
Many therapists/coaches have practices solely dedicated to this issue because it’s become such an epidemic. The top parental complaints brought to professionals related to the child/teen’s behaviors who are video-obsessed are: increased moodiness, withdrawn, explosive and have issues with their sleep.
There’s even research that suggests electronic, screen-based devices interfere with normal brain development.
You’ll hear us say this again and again: just because your kids love something doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Would you let them eat only ice cream for lunch and dinner everyday because they love it and you hate to say “no”? You reason that they get a good breakfast and they’re not eating it ALL day long, so what’s the harm?
Kids need to learn to entertain themselves. It’s good for the long-term development and for their creativity. It’s also good for the world at large. Kids who’s electronic use is limited can think on their feet and take more responsibility than their video obsessed peers.
Teachers often label the same video zombie kids as demanding and difficult. Here’s where things start to unravel. If kids grow up with their every desire catered to or “caved in” to, there’s a sense of huge entitlement.
If you have ever had a co-worker or acquaintance that is difficult, opinionated, hard to get along with, thinks they’re right all the time, or acts as if the world owes them something—you might be teaching your child that exact same behavior. Annoying people aren’t they? Guess how their parents treated them?
Parenting isn’t for the faint-hearted. Hopefully you got moxie! It won’t be easy backing your kid off the “stuff”. But what future do you want for them? It’s way easier to influence the type of person you want them to be now…because later may be way too late.
We love hearing from you—what do you think? Have you let your kids get addicted to their video games, phone or tablet? What do you do? What issues have you had with your kids and their devices?
If you have a question for us, we’d love to answer it! Send us your burning questions and we just may post the answers on our Blog on Q&A Wondering Wednesday’s!