Technology & Family Culture

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

Episode 139

This week we welcome Angie Seedorf! She is a dear family friend and a mighty woman of God. She has 4 boys and a heart for discipleship.  

One of her earliest memories of the Mannings is with our oldest daughter, Mollie. Angie stepped in and lead a 9th grade women’s table that Mollie was in. Mollie was the first Manning Angie met and the first person who told her about MYSPACE!  

We are continuing our series on technology. Angie has 4 boys. They are 10, 12, 13, and 17! They have all grown up in this technology age and love all things technology!  

Can You relate? Boys? Teens? Kids Who Love Technology?

Parents, things are coming at us really fast and Angie is here to help us build a healthy culture around technology and family.  

How has technology evolved during your parenting journey?  

Angie remembers growing up with a TV (with no remote) and a landline phone connected to the wall. Now, her kids unlock things on her phone and she has no idea how they did it.  

She sometimes misses the simpler times of her childhood but the reality is, technology encompasses a lot of our life.  

Our phones for example are not just a way to communicate. They are our GPS, camera, flashlight, alarm clock, music, entertainment, and so much more!  

How have you charted the waters when it comes to technology & family?  

Trial and error: We’ve learned a lot through the different seasons of parenting 

Age 12 (6th grade) was when we started to need a way to communicate with them. Coaches, church involvement, late practices, etc… when it became a need is when we decided to give them a phone.

Parameters: they are different for a 17-year-old then for a 12-year-old.  

We don’t have a lot of hard and fast rules and we go by the truth that fair is not always equal.  

Remember parents, the goal is to help our kids to create their own parameters and choose to protect their hearts.  

Parents, there is a difference between self-restraint and parental restraint. Independence is the fruit of connecting with your kid, knowing your kid, and having conversations about this topic with your kids.

How has technology affected your family culture?  

We have different rhythms in each season:  

School year: Monday-Thursday we are not going to do anything drawing you away from responsibilities.  

  • Exceptions if they didn’t have homework or finished everything  
  •  Choose to find something else to do (ride bike, play bball with bros)  

Meal Time: We decided not to do screens at meal times because it’s so easy to focus on the screen and not the person in front of you.

  • Turn TV off during dinner
  • Turn phones off
  • Choose to focus on person in front of you
Culture of… “no screens, let’s actually have a conversation.”

Parents, Catch This!

  • Rule in place because the need surfaced 
  • Need dictated by the “Why”  
  • Rule is flexible 
  • Rule is only there is to do what is best for us  
  • Be willing to make exceptions  
  • Use the word “norm” instead of rule  
  • Our default but it can change 
  • Language builds family culture  

When kids spend too much time on technology, they can become emotional and moody. It’s best when they can self-identify their response to too much technology.

Help your kids see when they are not acting like themselves and how it can be connected to technology.  

Ask Questions Like:

  • Hey, this isn’t normal for you, can you see how technology is affecting you?  
  • This isn’t who you are. What is going on?  
  • Are you aware of your emotions? We need to draw attention to this response because it is not your norm.  

Parents, we invite you to not be fearful of technology! We encourage you to press in and use it as an insight to your kid’s character. Looking for coachable moments in your home and outside your home.  

What to do when kid’s say…

“Everybody else is doing it…” what they are really saying is, “I want to be accepted and do what they are doing.”

Parents, know what is behind their words and use this as a chance to love them and help build their character.  

Ask Questions like:   

  • Why is that important to you?  
  • Why do you think they are doing it?  
  • Why do you want to do it?  
  • What can we do instead of that?  
  • Do you want your life to look like the people doing this? 
  • How can we do this in alignment with our family culture? 

Parents, we have to remember acceptance is not a new thing for young people. Everyone wants to be included and as parents we get to help our kids navigate, they “why” behind technology use. Often times our kids want to use technology just to be included and get rid of that fear of missing out.  

FOMO! Fear of missing out is a great way to stop, ask questions, and remind our kids of the truth. We have to remember it’s more about inclusion and identity than the actual activity of media.

The whole goal is to create open, safe conversations about what is good and healthy. As parents, we get to start the conversation about healthy technology guardrails. Stop. Evaluate the situation. Ask your kids for input. You may be surprised when they want do the right thing.  

Parents, don’t assume your kids will make the wrong choice. It is a chance for their flesh to be silenced and their spirit to rise up and make the holy choice. Open conversations like this helps our kids come into alignment with God’s voice and His will.  

We get to clear out the noise and FOMO so our kids can see God’s way which is the best way. We have to remember not to become a part of the noise.

Wrap Up

When our kids come to us and say “I want to do this…” our first response is usually, “here is what I think…” but the bigger win is “What does Jesus say and have you talked to Him?” Next time your kids come to you with something they want access to, ask them what Jesus says first. 

Then talk about it and process the choice. When God gets to speak into their desires first, it connects them to the why and gives them (kid and God) a chance to wrestle through the decision. It will be stick longer than our “hard and fast rule.”    

The whole goal is to connect our kid’s heart to Jesus. Use technology and find moments to strengthen your kid’s relationship to Jesus.

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How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].

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