Recently, I wrote about Why Are Your Kids Texting Not Talking? In this post, I’d like to look at some important steps you can take to improve communication between you and your child or grandchild and get beyond texting to actual talking and relationship building.
Improve communication between you and your child or grandchild and get beyond texting to actual talking and relationship building.
Set the Scene
Sit down with your child and gently help them to understand why this issue is going to be addressed.
- Review the reasons listed in my previous post mentioned above, and ask your children which, if any, are true of them. Speak candidly, but kindly, about those struggles.
- Be willing to recognize that you may struggle with some of the very same issues.
- Discuss together what some of the long-term consequences might be for all of you: poor communication skills, shallow relationships, an inability to function in jobs or community, and fractured family relationships now and in the future.
Discuss as a family what your values and priorities are and how they will impact your decisions, guidelines, and limitations.
- Do this as a team. Let your family know that the guidelines you’re looking to create are to be developed and shared by everyone in the family, not just the kids. Talk with, not at, your kids and give them some say in the process.
- Discuss how your family values working on relationships with family, friends, and people all around you face-to-face, not just through technology.
- Develop a statement that expresses your family’s commitment to following your established guidelines in a certain way (e.g. respected, heard, and loved, etc.).
Decide the ways you’ll use and not use technology in your home.
- Establish rules regarding the usage of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online activities.
- Make specific times or areas of your house tech-free zones. Agree on whether or not to have phones in the bedroom, at the dinner table or other areas of the home. For example, phones are allowed at the dinner table during meals and internet access is not allowed in the bedrooms.
- Create a space for isolating smartphones and tablets, etc. Have a basket to hold electronics during tech-free times or when entering tech-free zones. For example, place one by the dining room table during mealtimes.
No matter what procedures your family agrees on, remember to do so with patience and grace.