A recent article about parenting by Leona O’Neill in the Irish News caught my attention. It was about a father smashing his son’s game console and then sharing the ‘victory’ on social media to the horror and sometimes approval of other parents
One concern I hear voiced by parents about this type of situation is that constant social media and gaming is bad for their children and they should be spending time in active pursuits or helping around the house. Another concern, is that many parents feel that they are losing their connection with the child.
I agree children can get lost in such pursuits but I think it is for a variety of reasons. In a positive way, they get absorbed in the skills they are developing. It also helps them unwind from the school day and they enjoy the conversations and shared challenges with other children. But it does take them away from the world around them and fixes their attention on the game in hand.
There are two relevant questions here. Firstly, why is it annoying you? And secondly, if you perceive your children are addicted to this activity, what have they lost touch with and what are they reluctant to come back to in their surroundings?
At the end of a busy day in your own home it is hard to get a perspective on this issue. The first step is to get an understanding of your own annoyance and take a cool look at what is going on. You have a vested interest and the insider knowledge to understand the situation. And let’s face it, if there is a problem to be solved, you are the best person for the job whether you feel up to it or not!
Of course, like some parenting jobs, if you act on this you know there will be upheaval and it may take time, neither of which appeals in a busy life. Re-connecting with your child can look like yet another task but ongoing arguments and disconnection are exhausting too!
Dealing with these issues will require sureness of purpose, will be time consuming and may mean learning new listening skills. Really hearing a child’s point of view, assessing your own, setting a limit on a behaviour if needs be and staying close while the child blows off steam, is emotionallyexhausting. You will need more patience than you ever thought you had but it will be worth it!
If you’re thinking of taking on this or similar issues that drive you mad about a child’s behaviour you can anticipate tears and strops and answering back and even anger but I can reassure you that this is a natural reaction. If you get in touch with me I can help you think it through. Children are very smart and want to be tucked into the heart of family life. Isolation and confrontations are hard on them too, although they do not always know how to articulate it.
Building on the strengths of your family experiences, we will come up with a tailor made strategy, just right for you. I can support you on that journey. And there is no better reward than having a confident, connected child again who can self-limit or respond to limits and engage in a broader range of family activities!
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