How to Rein in Screen Time
Many parents tell me they want to make changes to screen time use. If you’ve attended a Your Tween & You workshop, you learned that collaborating with your child is the one strategy that eliminates power struggles and pushback. Adolescents like it because they have a say in their lives and feel in control. We like it because we create a win-win agreement.
Collaborating is shared decision making. It begins with an invitation to identify and solve a problem together. That is followed by brainstorming, agreeing upon a solution, setting specific responsibilities, and maintaining it. Yes, it takes time, but it is worth it.
Formulating your offer to solve the problem is very important. At a neutral time, engage your child using well planned words like these:
- I feel that you and I are spending less time together. I miss you. We are buried in our phone much of the time. I’d like to know how you feel about this. And how we can talk more and be on our phones less.
- Do you feel that I am on your case a lot about you being on your phone/playing video games/etc.? I hear myself getting on to you. I’m demanding. I see your frustration. I’m sorry I am harsh. I don’t want it to be this way for us. I’d like us to talk about it.
- We never talked about phone usage when you got your phone. I wish we had, because we would have had fewer arguments. I know how much you like it. I don’t want to us to keep fighting about it. Let’s talk about different ways to handle it.
Once you’ve agreed that a problem exists and to work together, follow the steps. Be patient with yourselves and your child as you move through the sequence. You’ll love the increase in trust and respect that you two will have for each other.
Let me know how it works for you. I’m always here if you need more help.