We are wrapping up the technology series by sharing 5 Key Truths from a book called Screens and Teens,by Kathy Koch PhD. She shares so many amazing insights and ideas throughout her book. We highly recommend reading it!
We wanted to end this series talking about culture and showing you how parental control is not as powerful as teaching our kids self-regulation. So often we see parents attempting to parent from the outside in. Here at CCF, we believe in inside out parenting. We want to give you “5 essential insights” to help you understand your teen’s beliefs, choices, and behaviors about technology.
What if your kids believed the same things you did about technology. What if technology strengthened your relational lines instead of strained it?
We are going to take the 5 Key truths Kathy talks about and show you how to create inside out parenting strategies!
# 1 Teen’s Relationships Are What Builds Their Beliefs
This makes sense if you think about social media and this generation’s obsession with screens. Teens are looking for what to believe and someone to tell them what to think!
Adults are different and eventually there is a switch. Adults build relationships around people who believe the same thing they do.
As Mannings, we had a lot of influence on who our kids were. We picked families to hang out whose beliefs were aligned with ours. We had discussions with our kids about why they wanted to hang out with certain friends. Asking questions helps the teenager see how the relationship may not be beneficial.
Knowing the relationships build their beliefs, we did the best we could to help surround our kids with people who share our biblical beliefs.
Hear us, different beliefs are okay but radical differences can push our kids into believing things that are not aligned with God’s heart.
#2 Teen’s Want to Improve the World
We will admit it, we are not young parents anymore. We remember reading the paper (yes, the newspaper) to help us learn about what is going on around the world. Our kids use social media to do the same. They learn about world causes and began feeling passionate about the things they learn.
When our kids have a purpose beyond themselves, it is a great thing! Remember, the underlying desire is to help improve the world. As a teen, they start looking around and want to know how they can make an impact.
Technology is a way to encourage the world but that is not the avenue we taught our kids. It’s not the only way!
We chose to give our kids chances to serve. This was our family’s way to help our world.
Here are a few different ways we served:
Yard work or painting fences
#3 Teens are Creative, Innovative, and Entrepreneurial
Teens need a creative outlet and often times it will not come through their education or school. Parents, how are we going to meet this need?
We did it through sports. It requires cooperation, teamwork, competitiveness, learning how to win, lose, skills, fitness, and so much more.
We realized early on how video games are an outlet for creativity too. Minecraft is an amazing example. The kids used so much patience and creativity to create whole worlds.
Look to create projects where they can succeed or fail
Give them chances to try and for you to not control
Help them become an expert in something
Find ways to help cultivate your kid’s creativity and give them chances to succeed!
#4 Teen’s Security is in Technology
God designed security to rest in family. Sadly, home and family are not always the safest place for our kids to process life. When home is not a Safe Haven, they will turn to their technology.
We worked hard to be a place of security for our children. We were safe, available, and extended grace and mercy when they messed up. We put ourselves in this role so we could eventually transfer that security to Jesus who is most assuredly available, and extended grace and mercy.
Remember, our kids will mess up and this is a great time to do it! It is a chance is to help point them to Jesus and help them find security in God as a beloved child.
“1 in 4 Americans who begin using any addictive substance before they are 18 are prone to become heavily addicted; compared to people who start using at 25. They are not as easily addicted.” – Kathy Koch
Are your kids tech addicted? If you said yes, don’t be discouraged!
It’s not the end of the world. Choose hope over fear.
We created real world experiences for our kids. Family dinners, game nights, parties with family friends, vacations, Church events, bible studies, sporting events, projects, and playdates. Virtual worlds created lies that create these things we did not want in our family culture. It wasn’t an authentic way to live.
Real world experiences created real data/information which gave our kids accurate information about themselves and relationships.
We encourage you to stop saying, “video games are bad!” and start giving them something better. What is the better thing? Relationships, family, and real-life connection! Remember, your kids are wired to choose life, have fun, and laugh. They are wired for relationships. They want relationship with you (even when it doesn’t feel like it).
If you change anything in your life create real life experiences with them! Do real life things instead of virtual things.
We desire for you to be healthy and have a healthy family. We love technology and struggle with good family norms in our own way. One thing, as a family, we value is relationship. We have taught our kids to value relationships. It can feel like a struggle but trust us, push for a culture change in your family and you will see breakthrough.
Start one the inside. Release control of the outside things and focus on building relationships. Start with their heart and see how self-regulation will flow from relationships.
What are you going to do to start building a “real life” for your kids instead of a “virtual one”?
The question is not how to control technology, the question is what is going to work best for your family to meet their relational, spiritual, emotional, technological needs of each child in this season of life?
Look us up on YouTube!! This episode will be one of the the kick off videos of our YouTube Channel! Just search “Crazy Cool Family”
Join Basecamp today! It’s free and will give you so many resources to become a Crazy Cool Family!