Now more than ever parents need to reassess how their children experience love in the home. Today’s youth are swimming in a sea of judgment. It is easy to believe things that are not true (i.e., I am not worthy of acceptance) and focus on things that don’t really matter (i.e., how many likes and friends are in my social network). Social networks amplify very intense emotions associated with the insecurity of the meaning and purpose of life.
The best thing parents can do for tech-savvy youth is to teach them about love as a civics lesson. Children experience love and acceptance at home when parents take charge of their family culture in order to build trustworthy relationships.
Creating experiences that educate youth about their inherent capacity to be trustworthy requires radical changes to how you perceive your own role in your child’s life, because the kids know when you are faking it. Below are three radical ways to become authentic:
- Put your child in the decision chair for his life. Stop advocating for your dreams for your child’s future, and put your child in the driver’s seat. As soon as your child realizes that you are for them as a person, not as your protégé or achievement, they will begin to take responsibility for their own choices and start to realize that their own dreams have value and are worth pursuing. By that I mean, write down all of your expectations that have to do with where to go to college, grades, careers, social status, and tear them up. Those are decisions that belong to the child. Rather, simply encourage them to do their personal best.
- Stop praising your child for their achievements. At first this thought is counter-intuitive. But, yes, stop praising them for their achievements. Congratulate them on their accomplishments and praise them for their good character. Otherwise your child is at risk of feeling like your love for them as a person is conditional.
Example on responding to making the team: “Wow! You worked hard for that. I am happy for you. Congratulations!”
Example on responding to their character: “I am very proud of you for being a good brother. Even though you were tired, you helped him with his math assignment last night and were very patient with him.”
- Encourage respectful dissent. Does your child feel safe to express him or herself at home? Most children believe that expressing yourself online is acceptable, but what about expressing yourself at home? Have you trained your child to go along in order to get along? To snuff their voice at home for fear of not being accepted or meeting disapproval? Home is a great place to give children some experience offering feedback and expressing dissent in ways that are respectful.
If you are a parent who seeks to strengthen your role in your tech-savvy child’s life so that your child will choose to seek your guidance, then consider spending some time with Joanna.
Two 90-minute sessions with Joanna empowers parents to connect with tech-savvy youth, instill discipline essential to fostering relationships based upon mutual respect, transparency and trust, and then regulate the use of technology as a united front.
Contact Joanna to learn more (be sure to include your email address).
Also check out these resources:
- Fresh Start manual to shows parents the things they can control to engage tech-savvy youth
- This guide The Role of a Parent in Healing a Suffering Child, helps parents to respond with confidence to the things they cannot control in their child’s world.
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.
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