Hello, dear conscious parent 💟!
After 15+ months of isolation, online schooling and digital media exposure, our children are facing serious dangers of developing unhealthy digital behaviors. For example, many parents “complain” that their kids play video games at the expense of real human connection and physical health.
Here are my 3 big ideas on you can help your child if they are struggling with video gaming, social media and digital self-isolation:
1. START WITH ACCEPTANCE AND GRIEVING WORK:
This situation is the result of a mix of factors: the isolation during the pandemic, parents working from home, schooling from home, multiple children with no help and no support system- which is also a massive failure of our modern society.
Acknowledge your guilt and shame, instead of denying or suppressing it. You must do the work of emotional grieving: the loss of a more balanced life for your children and yourself.
Start practicing Self-Compassion daily- for exercises and specific meditations, click here.
2. BECOME SKILLED AT SETTING LIMITS IN A CONNECTING WAY:
Children need limits to feel safe in the world. The limits we want to set are not the problem- the way we do it is the problem! Limits must be LOVING and FIRM at the same time! This is how we set limits in a connecting way:
We use “I” sentences: I can’t let you watch your Ipad any more. I’ll sit here with you until you feel better. As the child is throwing a tantrum, you must LISTEN.
Do not leave your child alone in this pain. Do not punish. HIS/ HERE NERVOUS SYSTEM NEEDS TO OFFLOAD ACCUMULATED EMOTIONS.
Parents damage children’s mental health in the long run when they invalidate feelings (this creates confusion and lack of self-trust in a child), OR- when parents force a child to suppress their feelings (Stop crying! Don’t be a cry baby! In this house we don’t allow angry boys / angry girls. Angry kids are bad kids. etc.)
Reminder : The 3 S’s of secure attachment are: Safe, Seen and Soothed- this is what we need to do after we set a limit (very uncomfortable for most parents).
3. KIDS LEARN BY MODELLING AND NOTHING ELSE:
Watch your own phone & social media habits, especially when you are with your kids.
Don’t expect an overnight change as you start doing this work; consistency is more important than speed.
Model to them and involve them in playing sports, gardening, cooking, walking, reading, and free play.
I invite you to watch the first episode from The Warrior Parent: Jiu Jitsu & Psychology – a summer series in collaboration with American Top Team Davie, my favourite martial arts school. In this episode, I talk about digital media dependency. click here
Please, share it with your network!