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5 Ways to Curb Your Child’s Chronic Texting

2014-10-28 09:20

Compulsive Texting

 

“You know, you don’t have to respond,” I told my daughter as I watched her angrily compose a text to a conversation that had suddenly gone south.

“Yes I do, she’s waiting for me to reply!” she offered up a half-laughed as if I had just suggested she not bathe for a week.

“So.” I said.

“So I have to.”

“No. Really, you don’t,” I calmly stated. “Leave your phone here and let’s go for a walk. You need time to chill so you can respond well.”

“I know exactly how to respond,” she said as she launched her thoughts into cyberspace, her  fingers now fully engulfed in flames.

I gently put my hand between her phone and the flames (always a risky move) and said, “I’m serious. You need to take a break. Now.”

What happened next was a fun exercise in self-control as I tried not to laugh at her near-mortified facial expression that silently screamed, “Help! Someone call 911! I can’t feel my fingers and everything is going black. I think it’s a social media heart attack!”

Sure enough. Her fingers began to seize. Her forehead formed a dozen rivers of distress. And her mouth, well, it just kind of flipped open like a mailbox and stayed that way for at least ten seconds.

“But mom . . .”

“Nope.”

“But . . .”

“Let’s walk.”

I am happy to report that my daughter lived through the night. Indeed, the 12-hour no-texting block allowed her to rest, think, and better handle the situation the next day—in person. This lesson in self-restraint also helped beef up her self-control and gave her confidence that she had choices, was in control, and in actuality, was NOT tethered to the demands (real or imagined) of her friend or her phone.

Waiting. Thinking. Being still. These are all disciplines we’ve forfeited or allowed technology to dilute. However, each tool is crucial to our children’s mental health and the health of their relationships. So we’ve got to get intentional about bringing back the lost art of basic, respectful, relational communication.

As parents of digital kids, it’s okay, to break into the daily blur of digital traffic and simply say, “stop!” And, it’s okay, to not be liked for doing it.

Helping your kids curb their urge to text:

  1. Opt for face-to-face. Encourage your child to be the one to say, “Let’s not do this over text. Let’s talk face to face.” Yes—it can be easier  to fight with your fingers rather than look the other person in the eye but it’s also the easy way out. Don’t let easy become the standard. Teach your child to not fear the tough route. Challenge or dare them to travel the narrow road.
  2. Talk out your text first. Before allowing your child to text, ask her to put her phone face down. Have her practice saying out loud what she plans to text so that you can discuss any emotionally charged statements.
  3. Practice. Like anything worth doing, practice improves your child’s chance for success. Require your child to count 100 and to only reply to texts once every hour. Practicing delayed gratification will build your child’s self-control muscle and give a crooked perspective time to straighten out.
  4. Disarm. Questions such as, “I’ve heard your side, how do you think we should solve this?” or  “What’s your suggestion for working through this?” are great for slowing a chronic, potentially hurtful text pattern down. Also, sometimes just a picture of a penguin or some kind of random statement will do the trick (especially with teens).
  5. Repeat rules and perspective. If your child isn’t able to voluntarily refrain from compulsive texting, you will have to do it for them with rules until delayed gratification becomes a habit. In the course of implementing rules, always give your child the “why” behind the rule. Go over the reason we strive to honor, respect, and speak honestly with friends—or people in general.How do you help your kids curb their compulsive texting?

 

ToniBirdsong_HeadshotToni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist to McAfee. You can find her on Twitter @SafeEyes. (Disclosures).

The post 5 Ways to Curb Your Child’s Chronic Texting appeared first on McAfee.


Source: gnitxet-cinorhc-sdlihc-bruc-syaw-5/remusnoc/moc.eefacm.sgolb

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