Are your electronic devices getting in the way of your interactions with your children? Does email, Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter seem to be more enticing than interacting with your kids? Time magazine recently published a study highlighting some of the potential correlations between parents’ distractions with electronic devices and the level of connectedness and/or frustration their children experience toward them. According to their findings it appears as though parents who somewhat ignore their children while they’re sucked into their devices become less connected to their children and, overall, encourage a greater sense of agitation in their children.
Think about it, have you ever been irritated by a family member, friend, colleague or significant other whose attention is clearly consumed into whatever is more fascinating in their little device than what you are trying to say to them?
Undoubtedly, our children feel very much the same way when we ignore them to “play” on our devices. It’s sobering to be reminded that as parents we are the primary role models for our children. Our children are constantly watching us. Because their minds are like sponges they soak up so much of what they see in us, not just what we tell them. We teach them how to interact with people in their lives by the ways we interact with them.
Most of us enjoy playing on our devices for some reason or another, but here are a few ideas to help offset the propensity of damaging your relationship with your children:
- Put your devices down when you’re talking to your kids and give them your undivided attention
- Enforce similar, if not the same restrictions on yourself as you expect from your children – an hour a day, 15 minutes every couple of hours or so, etc.
- Designate specific times of day where devices are off limits – meals, bed time routines, prayer times, sports & extracurricular activities
Nick Hersey, LAMFT, LAPC
nhersey @ growcounseling.com
Photo Cred: the velvet foxes