Written by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services
More and more families are finding that screens have become both a source of conflict and of disconnection. If you’re wondering what to do about screen time, whether you should limit it, and whether screens have a role in families feeling somehow less connected just know you are not alone. Counseling is a place to discuss how your family wants to manage screen time – and also a place to explore how to be more connected so that screens don’t seem to be harming those connections quite as much.
As an example, it is not unusual for a parent to feel alone in the house because the children and perhaps their partner are all on screens somewhere – streaming their own videos, immersed in video games, or just scrolling through social media. And when a parent or caregiver tries to enforce a limit and have those screens turned off in favor of dinner together or a family outing, they often encounter yelling, tears, and hostility – adding to the feeling of disconnection. Yet so many families worry that they can not find their way back from this.
I believe in balance. Screens of all kinds are everywhere and play a necessary role in our lives at the moment. And it’s also fine to enjoy them to watch a movie, play a game (preferably together) or just take a break. The question so many households are facing is how to manage that balance. This is where I believe an investment in counseling – whether it is individual, couples or family counseling – for a few sessions to discuss these issues with a professional can be worthwhile in the longterm.
In counseling we can talk about:
– what are the rules in your house around screens, and what would you like them to be?- what behavior is expected when screens are to be turned off, and how can people learn to behave in those ways?
– how can parents actually bond with their children or teens in a way that includes screens?- are you concerned about who your child or teen meets online, and how can you monitor them and encourage safety?
– do you feel like your own personal use of screens is interfering with your quality of life, but yet you can not seem to stop streaming/stop playing video games/stop social media use?- Is there content that you or someone in your house is accessing online that is causing problems in your relationships?- what are some simple daily rituals of connection and affection that your family can practice, to balance out those times of disconnection?
– should screens be used as consequences/incentives for your child or teen and, if so, what is the best way to use them?- are you experiencing a lot of conflict at home around the computer-based education and grading systems your child or teen is expected to use, and do you feel like there has to be a better way to work with these systems?
– is someone in your household participating in or experiencing cyber bullying?
We are in a brave new world when it comes to screens and our families. The technology available to us has tremendous potential for communication, innovation, education, and creativity – but like any tool, we need to use it wisely and consistently go back to our basic understandings of good manners and kindness in using screens.
Call or email me if you would like to talk more about the how screens are affecting your family and your life. I’d also love to hear from you if you are interested in learning more about simple, low-cost daily rituals that can strengthen your family or couple bond.
If you would like to know more about family counseling or talk to me about your specific situation, please feel free to call or email. Phone consultations are free, and I will offer a 50% discount for the first two sessions scheduled as a result of this promotion.
Article was written and sponsored by Resident in Counseling Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services