How exactly do you go about raising relational kids in today’s screen driven world?
Growing Up Social, a joint effort release, by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane, is full of thought-provoking wisdom and helpful ideas for anyone raising kids today. I honestly could envision my name being listed as the third contributor of this book, as I am on exactly the same page as the authors.
If you question the screen usage in your family and home, than Growing Up Social is a must-have! In general, I love reading books that give me new ideas on parenting and others that motivate me to continue on exactly the path that I am called to already. Growing Up Social helped empower and encourage me as well as gave me new tools to teach healthy life skills to my children.
I wrote an article recently for Seattle’s ParentMap Magazine about Why Our Teens Don’t Have Cell Phones. We are purposeful about limiting screen use in our family. It can be difficult sometimes for sure, but it is a crucial part of our job as parents nowadays. Those tech devices you see surrounding the book there, are all mine. I rarely use the iPad, now that I have my Macbook, but my family gave it to me as a gift awhile back and it serves as a good backup. I have never had my emails stream to any of these devices. I can absolutely grab my emails off of any of them when I decide I want them, but nothing comes through automatically.
The same is true with my Social Media channels. The Apps are there, but nothing dings to tell me anyone has liked my status or that something awaits me. I can choose when I want to go in and browse around. I have missed some last-minute emails for our kid’s sports teams choosing this route for sure, but I want to do my best to be mindful of not always having a device in hand and I think it’s good to model this for our children as well. So many people are on social media and everywhere you look, there is someone staring down at their phones. I do understand that this device is made to be taken everywhere, but some people find it hard to put it down and focus on the real world. The stats on sites like broadbandsearch.net will show how social media usage has increased over the years and with the rise of platforms like Instagram and Twitter, it makes sense. I just don’t want my kids to be addicted to this growing up.
We used credit card points to get all of the kids IPads with this trip in mind. We do want our kids to be able to start navigating Instagram, texting and the web and find it much easier to be on top of this with them using a big Ipad. They’ve even started playing Minecraft on the IPads. They’re constantly going into one another’s worlds and seeing what each other is up to. I love that about them, it gives the kids something to bond over. We’ve even considered using ggservers so that the whole family can play. The Ipad never leaves this RV, unless there is a specific reason and usage is pretty limited. The Ipad isn’t something that they can easily carry around with them at all times, like a smartphone. Screen time is limited just by this fact alone.
I also loved in chapter two of Growing Up Social, where Arlene talked about her kids just saying with ease, “Just buy it on Amazon.” Can’t we all relate to this? Boy, do I love me some Amazon, because it is true. You can find anything and everything on that site! We experience our kids saying this exact thing all of the time on this trip. Cole found a book series that he really wants to start reading, but we can’t find Book One anywhere… yet. We went on Amazon and sure enough, it is there and could easily be ordered and shipped to us free in two days with my Prime Membership. But, real-life doesn’t work this way and we need to be mindful of teaching our kids the art of patience! Cole and I have run into many a bookstore with the slim chance of finding this book and it would be much easier to just order the thing already. Much easier. Like the authors in the book say, “Advances in technology allow us all to get what we want when we want it. It is no longer necessary to make sacrifices.” I want our kids to know that it’s ok to wait for something. Maybe even healthy.
We cannot always take the easy route if we are looking out for our children and trying to teach them life lessons along the way. If he hasn’t found his book by the time we get home to Arizona, I will absolutely let him use his money and order it off of Amazon. He will have had the chance to learn to wait for something he really wants, instead of instantly ordering it online just because he can.
Now to the Author Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages series. I hope you already know all about them, but just in case… I am a huge fan of the books and have loved learning to parent my kids according to their love language, of which they all differ. It is so helpful to use in your marriage as well. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you now have two books to buy.. Growing Up Social and The Five Love Languages! I own all three of these titles above and have given them as gifts many times!