Posts Tagged: Parenting

My Plugged-In Family

I have a serious love/hate relationship with technology in our home.

It started with Nintendo Wii. The big sell was that we’d be active, play together and have fun belting out tunes with Rock Band.  It was the gateway to Play Station 2, then X-Box, then Netflix and binge watching, not to mention computers, cell phones and iPods! AHHHH! Our kids tease my husband and I about being on our laptops in the same room playing Scrabble (sometimes with each other).  Sometimes it hits me how disconnected from each other this technology is making us and I try to figure out how to get us all to step back.

But, it’s not all bad. Here are some of the positive things:

1)      Texting – A lot of our texts to our teens look the same “I’m here!” “Leaving in 5 minutes!” “Dinner!” (We live in a tall skinny house, so it reduces the yelling and stair climbing). But there are the “Love you” and “Just thinking about you” texts too. The more diplomatic check-ins like “Hey, how’s your day going?” instead of asking “Um, where are you?” It leads to the inevitable autocorrect fails, like when I texted “Good luck, homey!” to my daughter instead of “honey” when wishing her luck on her Geography exam. Or when I texted the shopping list to my husband asking him to get “geese” instead of “cheese”. These texts usually result in at least a smile (and sometimes revised dinner plans).

2)      Facebook – I was a late Facebook adopter. What would I even write? Do I really want to post photos? Turns out that it really does help me connect with family and friends I don’t get to see all the time. I send messages to my niece to get her perspective on things that pertain to my daughters since she’s a few years older. I request a Scrabble game with another niece and use the chat window to laugh about how crazy our board looks as we play diagonally on only half of it. I resist the urge to “stalk” my kids on Facebook but every now and then we talk about privacy, boundaries and over-sharing.

3)      Twitter – When I first started on Twitter, I mostly followed parenting experts and found it a great way to reach out to them directly for advice. My tweets quickly evolved into finding the humour in typical day-to-day parenting situations rather than being frustrated or upset. My whole frame of mind changed and I took things less seriously. I embraced the chaos!

4)      Blogs – There is so much information out there and communities full of like-minded people to get involved with and learn from. It can be comforting to realize you’re not alone when dealing with parenting issues.  They spark thought and conversation and as often as some posts end up in heated debates, they also provide a place for compassion and understanding as we all navigate this parenting thing together.

But still, I really do need to find a way to balance the screens. Do you have any tips on managing all the technology?  What are your pros and cons of being plugged-in?

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

 

Move YOU, Not Them

Lots of parents rely on “time-outs” as a discipline technique.   I don’t mind time-outs, if they are applied the Adlerian way.  However, I want to offer up an alternate solution. You can add this one to your parenting toolbox for times when time-outs are not working:  MOVE YOU INSTEAD.

I don’t mean “Mommy is going to put herself in a time out to calm down before she acts badly.”  I am referring to impacting the dynamics by excusing yourself from being the audience of your child’s disturbances.  If you have a child who is a powerhouse, you’ll only make matters worse if you try to remove them from the dinner table for a time out when they start acting up.

Try this instead:  “I’d love to stay and have dinner with you, can you calm yourself or do I need to find another place to eat?”  If they continue on, simply say. “When things are calm I will join you again.”  Take your plate and calmly move yourself to eat in another room.

The idea is that you can’t MAKE them use table manners and be calm, but the benefit of using our society rules for meal-sharing is that people enjoy eating with you.  Because children are social creatures, they do want your company and will be intrinsically motivated to adopt our table customs because they benefit from your company.

Remember, when things are calm and you return to the table, it’s bygones! Don’t discuss their behavior; just get on with engaging positively.

Cooperative table behaviors – everyone stays together.  Disturbing table behaviors – mommy goes.   They’ll figure it out quickly, sans fights and lectures.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

Can’t Ignore the Sibling Fighting? Put Them in the Same Boat.


I recently posted a parenting tip for handling sibling fighting that recommended you walk away and refuse to get involved in the conflict. I know for some of you, the worry is that your children are either too physical or too young, and still need your involvement.

That’s completely fine. If ignoring is not going to be a viable tool for you, then let me offer up another method called: “Putting Them in the Same Boot.”

This tool ensures that both children involved in the conflict perceive that you are not siding with one over the other. This method makes sure there is no accidental favoritism that can erode the sibling relationship.  It honors the fact that in any conflict, both parties are able to influence the outcome.  Since fighting requires both children to keep the situation hostile and unresolved, both should experience the same discipline for their disruptive antics, regardless of who started it, who had it first, or who owns it.  None of that matters!  If fighting erupts and doesn’t resolve itself, and you feel you must step in, try one of these lines:

“Looks like you two are having trouble being together at the moment. You can both go to your rooms and cool down for 5 minutes.”

“I guess I will have to put away the riding truck until you two can figure out how to share it without fighting.  When you have a plan worked out, come get me and I’ll give it back.”

“If you can’t agree on how to take turns on the family computer without fighting, the computer will be turned off for this evening. You can both try again tomorrow.”

“I am having a hard time enjoying my dinner when you’re at each other like this.  I’m going to take my plate to the kitchen.  Call me when table is peaceful again and I’ll come back.”

With both children being put in the same boat, they are now interested in getting their brother or sister to be cooperative with them rather than sustaining the conflict. With this new method, they are invested in not upsetting the other.

Give it a try and let me know it goes for you.  If you’ve already had success with this method, share your stories! Nothing is more motivating than someone else’s success story.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

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