It’s funny about parenting. I’ve read a lot of really great books, talked to very knowledgeable parents who’ve been at this a lot longer than I have and shared stories with moms of all walks. But, it’s always funny to me when I am reminded about things in the most unusual places. In this case Pokemon Go reminded me of 5 important things that I hope to apply as a parent. These things are really essential for all of us as we navigate a world full of increased technology, gaming and social media.
- Technology, gaming and social media are growing REALLY FAST. They will keep growing. They are not going to magically go away. Chances are my kids are always going to be into something I don’t quite understand. Here is the thing…I have a really important choice as a parent. I can either go there with them. Or I can stay behind. What does each choice say to my child? If I’m not there with them, who is? So, if your kids are playing Pokemon, brush up on your terminology and get in the game, mom.
- At the end of the day, I’m still the parent. It is essential we are having relevant conversations with our kids about the good, the bad and the ugly of technology, gaming and social media. We need to have honest conversations. Guess what? If I’m not doing #1 right I don’t think I’ll be able to do #2 right. I’ll lose my relevancy pretty quickly.
- Just because the world is doing it doesn’t mean we have to do it, but it won’t be easy if you say no. If you are staying relevant with your child and having those honest conversations it will be easier for you and your child to agree together on what the right choices are. And, know this, you might want to stand your ground on something, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Prepare yourself for that. Every child is different and you will know them best. Stay strong and informed. The decisions our children are making are much different with the addition of social media, understand that.
- I don’t get to protect my children forever. (I know, I’m shocked by this too!) They will go out in the world exploring, adventuring, following and leading. Who are they looking to as they make their choices? They are going to experience things in a much different world than I did. I can resist this and go about kicking and screaming, which I will likely do some of, or I can take a deep breath and let them go. There is a voice in my head screaming right now, NOOOOOO. But, mom, yes. It’s inevitable and hard and really it’s the goal of this whole parenting gig, right?
- Chances are sometimes our kids are going to mess up bigtime. What do I do if my child does make a bad choice? How do I react? Consequences and grace. Grace and consequences. We are living in a world that doesn’t want to have any consequences, but they are so important. We learn and grow from them. Resist the urge to just make it all go away.
These are good things, right? I was part of a women’s safety session once and the presenter said that if you allow your children to be into online games, social media, etc…you better be there too or have another trusted adult who is. It is part of our job as a parent. This stuff adds another level to parenting, doesn’t it?I am challenged and convicted to make sure that even when I don’t understand, don’t really care and generally just don’t want to get involved it is more important than ever that I do it anyway. Our kids need us, whether they realize it or not.
What’s the hardest part for you as social media and technology grow? Do you find it hard to stay relevant with your kids? Let us know! We will be launching a social media series and would love to hear from you.