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Family Counseling: Managing Screen Time
How Family Counseling Can Help You Set Tech Boundaries with Your Kids
A common reason families come to family counseling is to find a way to reconnect and communicate effectively. You might be searching for the same. But, in today’s Digital Age, you have probably noticed how creating and maintaining that healthy connection can be a real challenge! (Related article: Reconnecting with Yourself in The Digital Age).
Today, you will learn about how to navigate tech boundaries as a family, and how family counseling principles can help.
The New Normal
You can probably remember a time before technology really became a daily (well, basically hourly) thing. You may have had a phone in your family growing up, but it wasn’t personal, the family shared it. Or you may have also had a computer. It was probably a shared device that couldn’t disconnect from the computer room wall, much less fit in your pocket! (Related: Looking for Parenting Advice? Maybe There’s a Different Way).
Advancing technology has opened many doors and opportunities that would have otherwise not been available for so many. However, advancing technology also presents some unique problems and challenges when it comes to setting good boundaries and making real, lasting connections in “the real world”. Technology won’t be going away anytime soon. But how do you adjust to this “new normal”? Especially when it comes to setting a good example for your kids?
Here’s the good news about kids and tech- you can use your experiences to know better and do better. I once heard someone say that “a fish in water only knows water”. Your kids are the fishes, here. They will be born into a world of tech, smart phones, computers, social media, and on-demand streaming. (Related article: Family Counseling- Parenting Teens). It is almost impossible to remove the technology from their radar. So, what do you do?
You have the unique advantage of remembering the world before “the water”. You remember life before you had a computer in your pocket. That is a huge opportunity! You can use that experience to help your kids learn how to be more self-aware and how to have good internet etiquette and hygiene. That doesn’t mean using this as an opening to lecture or be overly strict and demanding. Instead, it can be a great time to set the example and then invite your kids to join in.
Following Your Lead
Setting a good example for your kids can be very simple, and a lot of the hard part is developing your own self-awareness. Take time to notice if you are engrossing yourself in your tech. Are you staring at your phone or computer to avoid stress? Are you using this as a way to cope? The convenience of your phone can make it the
first place you go to fulfill your needs, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best place. It’s just the most convenient. (Related article: Coping with Challenging Emotions). Practicing just noticing when you are becoming absorbed in your tech can give you a chance to vocalize that and teach your kids how they can do the same.
This can also give you a great chance to spend quality time with your kids. When you notice you are getting trapped in the phone or computer, you can see that as an opening to set your phone down and invite your child to do something with you. Maybe you can go on a walk, try out an activity together, read a book. The options are endless, but the important thing is to find ways to positively encourage kids to take breaks from tech. (Related article: Family Counseling- Family Meeting Tips). These opportunities can set the stage for practicing good communication skills and making a real connection to your kids.
Family Counseling Can Help You Reconnect
The digital age is still relatively new, so understanding how to use your tech in a healthy way will be a life-long learning experience. You will have wins and losses along the way, especially when it comes to teaching your kids. If you are looking for extra support, tools, and guidance, family counseling can be a great resource that can give you the skills you need to navigate the technological frontier as a family. Ready to get started? Start family counseling today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written by Lauren Adkins