Positive Parenting: Electronics: Do We Practice What We Preach?

“I swear, if I have to tell her one more time to put her cell phone away… She is on it all the time.”
“Who are all these people that she has to text?”
“Why does everything have to be “Googled”? Can’t we just sit together and have our own ideas and a real conversation?”
“Candy Crush? Are you kidding me? So annoying!”

Sounds familiar, right? But these quotes aren’t from parents. They’re from their children.

Most of us parents worry that our kids spend too much time staring at screens.

But do we practice what we preach? At home, do we check work e-mails, text friends and go online to get the latest ball scores?

If so, our children are watching… and learning.

A family where each member stares at his own screen could be a disconnected family.

The negative consequences of the use of electronics are becoming clearer and clearer.

You need no more evidence before you act.

So, this is a call to arms! Unless adults are willing to take a stand with their own electronic use and place limits on their own behavior, they will fight a losing battle with their children.

I talked with a dad who puts his cell phone in a basket when he gets home from work, and he doesn’t take it out again until after his children are in bed.

He wants his family to know that he is fully present and engaged in their shared life.

Take Facebook, e-mail and Solitaire off your phone. It forces you to restrict your use to times that you consciously choose.

Or you could go retro and get a flip phone, but the remedy need not be that extreme.

After all, staying connected with family is one of the good things about having a smart phone.

To help wean family members off their smart phones, declare electronic-free times and electronic-free zones, and be the first one to put your cell phone away.

I find having it out of sight helps keep it out of mind much better.

And remember, you are modeling a healthier relationship with electronics for your children.

They will follow your lead much better than follow your words. So don’t Google the latest scores when the kids are around. Wait. Or better yet, just wonder. Y


Lesley Iwinski MD is a Lexington mother of three grown children, a family physician and the founding director of Growing Peaceful Families. She offers classes, workshops and seminars based on the work of Kathryn Kvols, author of Redirecting Children’s Behavior. 

Info for Lesley: (859) 333-3053 or www.GrowingPeacefulFamilies.com. E-mail questions for Lesley to john@lexingtonfamily.com or encourage1another@twc.com.