Parents, Listen Up!

Everyone knows about the problems resulting from misuse of social media, especially by kids.

If you’re a concerned parent, you may find this article useful. It presents an idea that could help your youngster feel stronger and happier.

To start with, consider one question. What keeps kids from making smart decisions, rather than preferring instant gratification? I suggest that it is the inability to think forward. That is, to anticipate the consequences of their choices. That includes positive as well as negative consequences.

Give your child repeated experiences of how it works. What they need is are powerful real life feelings that go with consequences. Not lectures. Not comparisons with other kids. Real life experience that will train them to think and imagine what happens after they make a choice.

Take this example. It’s almost dinner time. Your child asks for a cookie. You say simply, “You can have one after dinner.” If the child keeps pressing, eventually the child is told to go to the time-out corner, and you tell him that if he does not wait patiently in time out, he will get no cookie this evening. Then, it is essential that you follow through.

Another example. Your child is not doing well in one school subject. You offer an incentive: If you raise your math grade from D to C, we will take you to your favorite amusement park for a full day.

They key is to start this training as early as possible, even with toilet training. 

Once the child has learned firmly that she has a voice in her future, she feels more confident and competent. Down the road, she will be more likely to believe you when you tell her about the dangers of misuse of social media and technology. She will be more likely to anticipate negative consequences. She will trust you, and be less vulnerable to peer pressure.

On the contrary a child who does not learn to think forward is more likely to develop the ‘bullet-proof’ mentality. They don’t believe that anything bad will happen, because they’ve never experienced the consequences of their actions. They have been deprived of the ability to think forward.

It is absolutely essential that both parents treat the child the same way, regarding this issue. One of the worst scenarios is the one in which one parent lays down a rule, and the other one ‘rescues’ the child – for example, sneaking a cookie to the child after he was told he cannot have one. This is a sure way to train a child to disrespect authority and to believe he can work the system.

There are lots of resources to help parents train their children properly. While I do not specialize in therapy for children individually, I have wide experience working with troubled kids and their families. I can help with these problems. If you’d like to know more, please call 219-309-3928. It would be a privilege to be of help.

For more info click Parents vs. Kids

Thanks for reading!