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Saturday
May282016

Cyber Parenting

The ever changing technology in our children’s lives can make keeping the balance in parenting tough. Technology is all around our kids, from entertainment to homework assignments to social interaction. 

Most of us parents didn’t grow up with this kind of technology and it can be hard to understand how reliant young people are on their digital world.

 

I’ve caught myself saying ridiculous things like:

“Unplug and and go see your mates!” (no, my kids are not cyborgs!?!).

And then the ever popular:

“Stop playing computer games and do your homework!”

Only to hear “I am doing my homework, it’s online!”

 

As parents we do need to face the fact that we WILL NOT get it right. We will mess up. And our kids will tell us so at some time in the future. Try as we might, a 100% perfection in parenting is unlikely.

So, how do we parent in this strange new world? Do the basic principle still apply? I believe so.

I constantly remind myself of two pieces of valuable advice given to me upon the birth of my first child. I find they remind me of what to aim for. I apply them as often as possible, regardless of the technology aspect. 

 

“Treat your child as you would like to be treated.”

 If you don’t like being nagged at, yelled at, talked down to, constantly criticised (even if you think it’s feedback), don’t dish it out! I know easier said than done. As often as possible, consider how you communicate and aim to keep respect and nurture in your style. Our children learn from us, we need to lead by example.

If you don’t attend five evening classes a week, don’t expect your child to do it. Kids don’t need to be kept busy all the time. Just like us, they need to chill out at home too.  Skills can be learned at anytime in life, they does not need to get crammed into their first 16 years.

 

“You are training them to leave home”

Our kids may not know it, but they are counting on us to teach them how to be adults. As a parent it’s vital we teach our kids how to survive and thrive as adults. These skills need to be developed and nurtured through childhood. 

If your child can confidently leave home between the years 18 and 21 then you did it! They need to enter adulthood with confidence, skills to look after themselves and be able to make decision about their lives. That’s everything from getting dressed to cooking their meals; doing their laundry to driving; to being strong in themselves and being able to participate healthily in their community.

 

As parents, we’re constantly trying to find balance to allow our kids to do digital homework, stay socially connected and current with technology, while also making sure they’re not overusing it.

Technology or no technology, parenting is about raising kids into reasonable well functioning adults.

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