“We don’t need to pay this much money for a coach to tell us how to parent our kid on how to not use his phone. Take the phone and smash it in two! That’s all we need to do!”
A mom I recently worked with shared with me her husband’s frustration about her working with a coach to help her navigate her son’s media/screen over-usage.
I told her I totally understood his mindset and frustration. That seems like a pretty simple, albeit harsh, answer to a situation in their home that feels overwhelming, daunting and unmanageable at the moment. It certainly would take care of the problem. Temporarily, anyway.
I get it, I really do. The real temptation to just put your foot down and end the problem, end of sentence, period, amen! In this case, smash the phone. I reminded her of the reasons she initially reached out to me. The reason she committed to this plan to help change this really difficult situation her family is in, that her son is in. I replayed her innate, heartfelt desire to approach this challenge as gently as possible in hopes to set a new, clear boundary around technology/phone usage, not only help him re-learn how to be comfortable without his phone/screens, but to reconnect and relate with him on a personal level once again.
Is it easy to do? No, it isn’t.
Does it take time? Yes, it does.
Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.
While smashing the phone may work, temporarily, what isn’t temporary is the message to the teenager about how to handle things when things get tough. More importantly, what isn’t temporary is the very clear message the teenager receives about when things get messy, more specifically, when they themselves get messy, what will they be met with when they might need help.
Let me ask you this:
Can you recall a time you did something wrong or perhaps you were having a hard time figuring out the right thing to do and were not doing whatever it was correctly, over and over and you got admonished, punished or even put down? Maybe it was a teacher, or your boss, a friend or even your spouse or partner.
Did it make you feel like you wanted to cozy on up and share even more of what’s going on and ask them for help? Or did it make you retreat a bit, perhaps both literally and figuratively, and look elsewhere for help or not at all?
This is the same for your child. What they see and feel from you over time can create short term gains, getting the results you want right now, or long lasting connection, choosing the relationship and taking the time. Where do you want them to go when they need help?
Here’s the thing:
Relationships take time, effort and intentionality along with a healthy dose of patience to grow and develop.
It’s NOT always easy but it IS always worth it.
Keep choosing the Relationship.