No matter the amount of technology that’s developed to filter devices in order to keep children from viewing objectionable material, the mental, physical and spiritual risks of digital devices facing children have never been greater.
Note: In this article I’m using the word “phone” liberally to mean all digital devices that are in regular use in the lives of our children.
Parents commonly share with me the concerns they have about their child’s cell phone usage and how they feel they’re constantly talking about phone usage. They mention children sneaking phones when they shouldn’t have them; not giving the phones up to the parent when they are supposed to; overusing the phone during alone time, in classroom settings, and in social situations; and missing sleep because of phone usage. It doesn’t have to be this way. Parents don’t have to battle these digital devices to reach the hearts and minds of their children.
Smart phones have the ability to develop strong relationships with our children and take their hearts captive. The heart of a child is supposed to be attached to his/her parents. Since digital devices aren’t going away anytime soon, parents must understand relationships and how to capture the heart of their child.
As with any meaningful change, parents have to start their own heart change first in order to influence a change of heart in their child.
2 Things Parents Can Do to Capture the Heart of Their Child
A self-governed person is in a constant state of self-assessment. Likewise, a self-governed family must also be assessing how they’re functioning as a family in relation to what kind of family they’re planning on becoming. Digital devices impact the functionality of the family and can disrupt the family vision for their future.
Here are two key things parents can do to help change their hearts and the hearts of their children.
The first thing parents can do to eliminate negative impact from digital devices is to proactively create a thriving family foundation for happiness in life. The family foundation serves as a solid, unwavering guide family members use to know what to say, study, do, watch and listen to. It also provides guidance on how they interact with each other and the outside world.
I commonly find that many families that struggle with keeping digital devices in their place have unknowingly changed their family foundation. It usually comes out that at one point the family made their foundational principles clear. They thought the principles were still understood, but when the child is talked to it’s clear she hasn’t bought into the family's foundation. The child has been allowed to instead adopt the social/global/digital foundations that are presented in society and online.
Relationships are built upon the family foundation.
The second thing parents can do to capture the hearts of their children is to strengthen their relationship through good, calm communication.
Calmness and truth pierce the heart of the child. Some parents try elevated voice tones, forcefulness, and emotional disconnection to manipulate their child into increased investment in the family foundation. This approach does not capture — but instead alienates — the heart of the child.
Calmness and truth in communication are vital to conquering the digital takeover of family relationships and distraction from the family foundation. That’s why parents need more understanding about what they’re really facing, and what skills and principles must be used to get their children’s heart back to the family foundation.
Many parents say they wish their children came with manuals because trouble-shooting is time consuming for parents. Well, smart phones do come with manuals. Unfortunately, these manuals don’t do us any good because they don’t address the largest concern and most frustrating issue of phones most families face: how to make sure the device gets used in moderation and according to the family foundation.
I’ve taken my years of hands-on tackling of digital problems question by question, little by little, family by family, and created an event that will give all parents a deeper understanding of technology ideologies and unforeseen risks. We’ll also talk in depth, in an appropriate manner, about the global impact the sex culture is having on our families and how to combat it — while preparing your children for self-government in all things.
This online conference is April 20, 2018. Register to attend live, or register to receive the recording afterward, here: Parenting in a Tech/Sexual World.