Getting Your Teen to Unplug: What Works and What Doesn’t
Parents commonly respond by yelling or punish their child for not paying attention to the world around them. But they quickly find that punishment is not the route to go. Even so, parents can prevent tech-savvy teens from becoming troubled teens. The solution is simpler than you probably ever imagined.
Be a Role Model
You may not realize it, but your teen might have picked up their habit of technology infatuation from you. If you ask your teen to put down the smartphone and go outside while you are working on your fifth consecutive hour of television watching, then your message goes unheard.
If you want your teen to find other interests beyond technology, then you need to serve as an appropriate role model. Practice what you preach and get off the couch to do some yard work or just go outside and read a book.
Ask Your Teen to Become More Involved
The relationship between teens and social media can quickly escalate into a counterproductive problem from a parent’s point of view. Parents might avoid asking their teens to become involved in family activities because they are afraid their teens will turn the invitation into an argument. However, teens are much more interested in doing things with their parents than parents realize.
The next time dad plans on working on the car in the garage, he should invite his son or daughter to help him. However, involving your teen in other activities is only the first step. Once you do involve your teen in helping with the car or planning the lawn landscaping project, you need to supportive his efforts and leave the yelling out of it. When parents ask their teens for help and offer positive feedback, teens tend to put down the technology and listen.
Try Something New
Sometimes, teens need new stimulus to take their minds off the Internet. If your family has never tried camping, then maybe it is time to rent a cabin and see how it works out. One of the issues that parents sometimes have with adolescent children is they mistakenly think that children are done growing and experiencing new things when they reach their teens. Nothing could be further from the truth. Introducing your teen to something new might be exactly what they need so that they put down the technology. Working together on a project or even taking a walk provides the added benefit of strengthening your relationship with them.
Yelling at your teen about using too much technology and punishing them usually backfires. Your teen thinks that technology keeps them connected to their peers. They are growing up, and you need to reach out to them on a different level if you want them to put away the smartphone and start engaging with you again.