How to Create a Family Technology Plan Part I

“Technology and parenting? I’ve got it all figured out!” —said no parent ever.

photo-1421757381940-5d269570b21c 

Guest blogger Kelli O’Dell joins us again today: 

“74% of parents say they don’t have the time or energy to keep up with their children online.” —iparent.tv

No Judging Here

Judge not the parents of that statistic, for we are they. Or at least 74% of us are. But what about the 26% surveyed who presumably “keep up”? Are they parenting off-the-grid?  I.T. professionals? Whole-foods-enriched super-parents? Wait. What if they’re just normal people…with a plan?

“What’s Your Plan?”

My friend John asks that question when someone goes on too long about anything. And by “someone” I mean me and by “anything” I mean my problems. Money and kid woes, usually.

Tired of John’s question and my own complaining, I decide to go back to college.

At eight weeks long, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is my kind of college. Granted, The Dave can rile and polarize evangelicals almost worser than The Donald, but his “Baby Steps” plan is working for us. Emboldened by budget-keeping and real live cash-using, we wonder:

“Should we go whole-hog anti-American, and consider budgeting other areas of chronic over-extension…like our tech time? We decide yes. Best to swallow both late-bloomer pills in one dose while morale is high.

Gulp.

If We Can Do It, Anyone Can!

  • We will get the ball rolling by talking through some Tech Plan Starters
  • We will decide together how to fill in the blanks of this plan
  • We will come back and tell you how it’s going!

What’s helping your family use tech in a balanced way? Let’s share resources and ideas!

Kids & Failure

The prevailing pressure that parents feel is to prevent kids from experiencing failure. At all costs. And, for the rare time that it does slip through….to fix it asap.

But there is growing evidence that the inability to tolerate failure multiplies anxiety.

In this 50-second video, Brene´ Brown takes the pressure off parents, and therefore, off our kids:

Parents can:

  •   Teach kids how to feel it
  •   How to be curious about it
  •   How to name it
  •   How to ask for what they need

Here’s a fun video that you might want to watch with your children, pausing it and trying to guess who the person was that “failed” and what they eventually went on to accomplish:

 

Three Pillars of Adulthood

The path to adult status is highly individual now and therefore, demands custom parenting. Most college and post-college students seem able to build one or two pillars but it’s a rare kid who can secure all three before age 30.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 7.38.12 AM

Independence – Defined as the “final” time kids move out, need zero financial assistance and begin to flourish

Marriage – Those few who are able to navigate the bizarre dating scene and resist the flow of culture

Career – The challenge of aligning gifts, education and compensation in a satisfying niche.

If you have four children, statistics predict that only one will complete the pillars in their twenties. Parenting late adolescents therefore, takes on more significance than ever before. Most of us feel confused and trapped in constant tension- that place between what it was like when we grew up and what it is now.

You’re not alone.

Here’s a question I challenge you with:

When the future we’d envisioned for our kids doesn’t play out “correctly,” what happens to our faith?

This is where the tables turn. Where it becomes more about us than about….the kids. It’s a call to enter the deep mystery of God. Uncomfortable. Scary. Confusing. But only for a time….as long as it takes God to convert our focus from “kid drama” to Himself.

You’ll recognize parents who’ve been through this. They’re humble and okay with mystery, steady and persevering, quiet with no easy answers.

Check out Hagar- the Egyptian servant of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 16 and 21. She’s desperate and without hope and now she has a child. At the point of utter desolation, she discovers two things about God:

God sees me….

God hears my child crying….