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Challenges Facing Modern Families

Families today face unique challenges that were not on the spectrum before computers and smart phones took over the world. Families spend less quality time together, and when they are together that quality time is usurped by our 24/7 access to media, internet and social networking sites.

Quality time means more than just being in the same place…

Parents are spending time with their kids but are not giving them their full attention. The parents themselves are constantly checking their phones, taking incoming calls and then wondering why their kids are acting out. Parents should try and lead by example. We hear many parents complaining that they cannot get their kids off their cell phones, only to see the parents exhibiting the exact same behavior.

Initiate “no cell phone” time for everyone, parents included!

Some families have seen success initiating family time that means no cell phones allowed for anyone, parents included. Gather the family together and go to a local park, the beach or an activity that you all enjoy – and leave the cell phones behind. Connect with your kids on a meaningful level by showing them that they have YOUR undivided attention.

Higher rates of depression and anxiety in children…

Mental health professionals are reporting higher rates of depression and anxiety in children. Childhood depression is a recognized disorder, as is childhood anxiety. Children feel isolated and alone due to a lack of real connection with those closest to them. They face huge pressure at school and then come home to parents who are not hearing them. They seek refuge in their cell phones. We see children as young as 4 years of age with smart phones. By the time they are 12 they have seen and done almost everything.

Suggestions for parents…

  1. Set daily times where the family sits together without interruption or distraction from phones, TV or computers. Talk about your day, your thoughts and reflections. Show you children that they have your full attention.
  2. Schedule weekly or monthly family outings that appeal to your kids – whatever their interests might be. Make a pact to leave phones in the car. One phone can be brought along for emergency use only.
  3. Parents, try not to check your phones constantly while your kids are talking to you. This sends the message that they are not worthy of your full attention.

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