How do you adapt your family technology guidelines as your children grow older? As a parent of five children, ranging from a teenager down to a preschooler, I was struggling to know how to give the older children more freedom, without giving them free reign.
With this in mind, I recently attended a local workshop for parents called Mindful Parenting in the Digital Age led by Kathy Keller Jones. Kathy is a developmental psychologist and licensed school counselor, and now that she is retired, she is using her expertise to help parents learn the skills necessary to do their job well.
As you might imagine, Kathy spends a lot of time helping parents know how to handle technology with their kids.
There were parents with kids of all different ages at the workshop. We met together and talked about our hopes for our children.
What qualities did we want our children to have by the time they are in their 20s? This question is significant because it give us the opportunity to start with the end in mind. If we want our children to be responsible adults, then what needs to happen right now?
Putting like-minded parents together in a room is powerful. All of the parents in attendance were different, but one thing was the same—we were all concerned about our kids and were determined to help them learn how to navigate today’s technology.
Our combined list of what we hope our children become as they mature into adulthood helped me to realize that other parents hope for many of the same things I do.
Many of us would like to be able to hug our children goodbye as they head out into the world at age 18 and know that they have a handle on the technology in their pocket. If that is the case, then our role as parents is to allow our kids to make mistakes while they are with us. We have an opportunity to model and teach proper screen time use for years before that day comes.
In this audio recording, Kathy shares some incredible ideas from her workshop and uses Kim John Payne’s book, The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance- From Toddlers to Teens, as a framework to help us adapt our technology rules as our children mature. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
I highly recommend this book. Payne shares three stages of parenting: Governor, Gardener, and Guide. As our children grow, we move through these stages (and sometimes even back a stage!). Our goal is to give the right kind of guidance and direction to our kids at the right time. We are learning and growing with our kids—and this concept is especially applicable to technology use.
If you’re struggling with knowing how to adjust your family technology guidelines as your children grow, then this recording is for you.
Everyone’s situation is different and each of our kids is different, so our approach may not look the same. However, we can use the tools and ideas Kathy shares to experiment and find solutions that work for each child as they progress through each stage of childhood.
*This entire conversation was just over an hour long. We broke this up into three sections, (Governor, Gardner, and Guide), where there are natural breaks. You can download these MP3s so you can listen during your commute, while doing the dishes, or going for a run. After you listen, we’d love to hear your greatest takeaway! Leave a comment or connect with us on Facebook or Instagram.
Part I – The Governor
Part II – The Gardener
Part III – The Guide
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Bio: Kathy Keller Jones, MA, is a developmental psychologist and former kindergarten through eighth grade school counselor. For over 25 years, Kathy supported elementary and middle schools by teaching social-emotional skills to students, conducting group and individual therapy, consulting with staff, and creating school-community connections. Currently, Kathy teaches parenting classes and consults with parents on the many challenges of doing their job well. In addition to working with children and families, Kathy has worked as a writer and a research psychologist. Books she has co-authored include Raising Our Daughters, Raising Our Sons, and Face to Face: Cultivating Kids’ Social Lives in Today’s Digital World. With a particular interest in the individual’s search for meaning and the importance of one’s connection to nature, Kathy has done post-graduate training in Jungian/archetypal psychology and play therapy. She and her husband live in rural Washington and share the joys of nature with their adult children, their partners, and their five grandchildren.