Screen Time Agreements & Contracts with your ADHD Child or Teen – Part 1

Screen-Time-Agreements-with-yourI spent some time last week listening to the Screen Time Telesummithosted by Cynthia Crossley at Better Family Habits.  Better Family Habits is based in the UK, so just listening to the host, Cynthia was worth tuning into the webinars.  However, even without Cynthia’s English accent, the material offered was absolutely fabulous!  For $77.00 you can purchase unlimited access to listen to the webinars OR you can just read about them right here on my blog!  I love sharing anything I learn that may help others doing life with an ADHD/ADDer. The first webinar was “Engaging Your Child in Screen Time Agreements and Contracts” by Bonnie Harris of Connective Parenting.  I’d like to share several golden nuggets or take aways from Bonnie’s interview. Golden Nugget #1 :  FEAR.  That’s right, fear.  Fear seemed to come up in several of the webinars.  Let me explain.  As parents, when we see our children constantly connected to some form of technology or screen, we tend to react in fear.  For me, she was spot on!  Here are some thoughts/questions that run through my head when I see Carlton attached to the  computer or Xbox.  “Why doesn’t he go outside and play?”  “Isn’t there something else he could be doing that would actually get him somewhere in life?”  “Life, oh.my.gosh…what is his future going to be like if this is ALL he does?”  “Why can’t he just get off when I tell him to!”  “I bet none of his friends play video games this long.”   Sound familiar?  Can you hear the fear? Golden Nugget #2:  A child’s behavior is symptomatic of the problem.  Their behavior is what we see.  The majority of children don’t intend to behave badly, make their parents mad, and get in trouble.  As parents we need to use our child’s behavior to clue us into something deeper that might be going on inside.  Switch our view from “My child is being a problem to my child is having a problem.”  Bonnie stressed learning WHO are kids are and working WITH them not AGAINST them.  As parent’s our behavior will shift from anger to compassion.  Anger comes from a place of fear.  (There’s that word again!)
  • For example, an ADHD/ADDer who struggles at school (which most of them do) can feel like a failure at school, but a genius at video games.  When a video game is one of the only places our child feels safe, of course they want to stay on it!”  I remember my oldest son, who just turned 26, (he has ADHD) tell me, years after he had moved out of the house, “Video games was the only thing I felt like I was good at, and you and Dad were constantly taking them away from me.”  Ouch!
Golden Nugget #3:  Sit down and play with our kids.  Find out why they like a certain game.  Let them teach you.  They are the expert.  How awesome would it make your son or daughter feel if they were able to teach you something.  (My son is way smarter than me, so he teaches me stuff all the time – LOL!) Golden Nugget #4:  Model good behavior to your child.  When we are open, honest and respectful to our children, it not only builds trust, but it teaches them how they should behave.  If our child doesn’t trust us, they will become secretive and grab for stuff that we disapprove of.   Golden Nugget #5:  Three Rules for Families – 1) Respect Others 2) Respect Yourself and 3) Respect Property Are you wondering when in the world I’m going to get to the actual making of the screen time agreement with your child?  Well, I’ll leave you with one more golden nugget and you’ll have to read tomorrows blog post to find out about getting the agreement. Golden Nugget #6:  The best time to create boundaries and agreements around screen time is when a new game or device is introduced. So tune into Part 2 tomorrow!  Until then…

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