Informed by his scientific inquiry, Logan offers a very practical view of soul care for parents. This perspective is essential to connect with youth who are often more informed about worldly things in their social networks than their parents can imagine. In this way, their souls are ignited and steeped in adult issues (think sexting, internet porn, bullying and addictions). “Parents don’t need new systems,” he said. “They are looking for someone to tell them that what they are dealing with is normal.” Parents need to know they are not alone in this struggle and they have what it takes to get through it with confidence.
Logan encourages parents to shift perspective from managing behavior to reassessing the situation making it hard to correct behavior and resolve tension in the home. How do you deal with behavior issues when what you are doing is not working? When children continue patterns of behavior that inspire anxiety, parents can become anxious which does not help the child behave better. Eventually, anxiety and tension in the home becomes the norm.
DID YOU KNOW? Eudaimonic parenting focuses on leading a virtuous life – doing what is worth doing because it promotes a sense of welfare, especially when you are having a negative experience. While hedonic parenting is focused only on having pleasant or positive experiences. Which perspective do you think improves parent-child communication and builds resilience? (Jer. 31:16-17)
Logan encourages folks to find another way to view parenting challenges associated with raising tech-savvy youth: to reappraise your circumstances by looking ahead – taking the bigger picture view of your child’s life journey in the moments of uncertainty, discord and dissent. It helps for parents to consider the “why” of parenting and think less about “how”. The closer you focus on what is not right in these challenging moments, the more you will give it energy and receive more of the same.
Below are six ways parents engage youth to communicate discipline as a transformational experience for the parent and child that I gleaned from Logan’s presentation:
- Consistency. When you are consistent, i.e. responding according to your values and beliefs, then the children can feel a sense of security. Unpredictability with parent reactions to life’s events is very stressful for the child.
- Decrease parental polarization. An overly permissive parent co-parenting with an authoritarian parent make it difficult for a child to feel at peace in the home because there will be divergent responses to discipline decisions. This polarization may also inspire rebellion to play one parent off of another. The best thing parents can do is to recognize a common set of values, and agree to meet in the middle on discipline matters. The aim is to give a child experience with discipline in ways that model mutual trust and respect in relationships.
- Prioritize enhancing the relationship over compliance. Compliance is not the same thing as choosing to change your ways as person seeking to become a better version of him/herself. Often when parents insist on compliance, the child is “going along to get along” and they experience love as a “conditional” experience and they have not necessarily learned how to take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. One way of enhancing the relationship involves sharing openly what is happening in life and holding one another accountable in response to mistakes and consequences from poor choices with a clean slate (forgiveness) expressing confidence that we can do better the next time.
- Emphasize parents learning how to play. Parents running are on a treadmill of household responsibilities, and we forgot how to play. Learning to play with your children is so important, and primes your relationship by offering another way to foster mutual respect and trust in age-appropriate ways. Get interested in what interests your child and make it a priority to play with them.
- Emphasize parents’ regulation of anger. Feelings and facts can be easily confused – especially in a cyber-powered world. There is a greater need for parents to take charge of their own emotion. The parent is the alpha in this regard, and sets the tone to contribute to or disturb the peace. Checking your own anger is essential.
- Acknowledge child differences. It is important to recognize how your child is different from you so that you can help him/her realize their potential and avoid discounting their strengths as flaws.
In these ways above Logan encourages parents to think about parenting with purpose and meaning. When we recognize that our children have much to teach us about our own humanity and our own capacity to love one another fearlessly with forgiveness and grace, it is possible to form a relationship with your child that engages and prospers the soul.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your donations are greatly appreciated. (Donations are payable to Banana Moments Foundation).
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.