Updated: Jun 11
What do you do?
This topic seems to be a challenge for a lot of parents and their children.
Have you experienced your child watching something and it wasn’t appropriate for their age?
I believe there is a loving and respectful way to deal with every challenge.
Your child has a natural curiosity about life.
I think it is really healthy, particularly when it comes to questions about sex.
Parents whom I have shared this journey with from when our children were very young, have all answered questions open and honestly when it came to how babies were made.
It became more challenging in recent years when my daughter met other friends whose parents didn’t agree with my approach.
When children talk about topics amongst themselves we rather not have them discuss, we are left out of control because we have no right to dictate what other children say.
I have found that telling the truth pays off in the long-run.
That’s why I answer all my children’s questions in an age appropriate way.
Have you got other parents in your life who would not answer questions about life’s big topics?
My suggestion is to offer your child a safe way of exploring what they will either find out from friends or ask Siri about anyway.
I will also admit that children are steps ahead when it comes to technology and Siri is probably and outdated way of going about things.
So rather than teaching our children to trick us, have open conversations with them.
You could ask something like:
How can you safely search for information online when it comes to questions you have about sex?
If you find your child on a device and react by punishing them and removing privileges for being curious, it will backfire.
We were all teenagers and are familiar with the concept that when we are punished by grounding or threatened, often a teenagers’ reaction is “I will show you”.
My own son asks me lots of questions about why adults are so obsessed with their phones these days?
We are their role models and safe and limited phone usage is one tool we need to add to our parenting toolbox.
What is the right amount for parents to be on their phone while children are present?
What does this have to do with inappropriate screen usage?
I believe our children have a sense of whether we are just trying to escape reality and hide behind a screen or whether we are utilising the phone for online banking, for example.
I tend to say why I am zoning out in front of a screen.
Sometimes, I will also admit to my children that I need to numb myself with a screen for a little while.
The difference is that I am not hiding what I am doing and my children respect me more for it.
We all have a right to switch off every now and then and don’t have to be perfect all the time.
Unfortunately, our young children observe everything we do and may come to the conclusion that we love our screens more than them.
Their interpretation of a situation is completely unrelated to what may actually be happening.
This was one of the most profound insights I got from the Adlerian approach to parenting.
If we are to shift the traditional paradigm, we need to have an interest in what our child’s belief systems are.
You are probably wondering what I mean by that?
It is best explained through an example:
Your child is observing everything around them and you may have been amazed after coming home from a party and they knew what type of socks another child was wearing.
Then they make decisions based on what they think and feel and their actions are the result of that.
So if a child has seen another child’s sock with a lion on them, it may decide that they need these same socks so that they can feel powerful like a lion.
Next time you are in a shop and your child spots the lion socks, they may be so determined for you to buy them that they will kick and scream until you give in.
If somebody whispered in your ear what your child’s belief was, you would be able to approach this same situation in a much more loving way.
You could ask your child with empathy in your voice:
“Why do you need these socks so much?”
Only when you know what motivates your child, are you able to redirect their action.
You may not have time nor money to buy these socks so you could co-operate with your child by asking them:
“What else would make you feel powerful like a lion?”
They may say to roar out loud.
Then you suggest:
“Would you like to leave the shop and we roar together like a lion in the car or would you like to roar at home?”
You will succeed at calming your child if you are interested in their point of view.
If you are triggered by your child’s behaviour (like I often am), then it could be that your own childhood beliefs of not being heard or seen get in the way.
Come and work with me by having a brief free call exploring which of my services would suit you:
Back to our phone challenge:
What would you say if you practised over the coming days to age approximately explain to your child what you are doing when you reach for your screen?
My suspicion is that our screen addiction will be deemed as harmful to our health (and relationships) as smoking was back in the day.
At first so hyped up and not questioned and then demonised.
What happened to everything in moderation?
You are a powerful creator of your own reality and you can become the calm parent you want to be.