Q: Our 13-year-old daughter takes advanced classes and makes straight A’s. She’s also very talented musically. We think, however, that she has become a media addict. She spends too much time in her room on her computer, mostly using social media, or on her phone texting her friends. We’ve asked her to limit her use, but our words are falling on deaf ears. What approach would you recommend short of cutting off the Internet and taking away her phone? She needs a computer to do her school work.
If she’s addicted to electronic media, then I don’t think there’s any approach that’s going to work short of restricting her use of the Internet and taking away her phone.
Move her computer to a family area so you’re able to monitor her use, which you can restrict to school purposes. No child her age should have a private password, by the way, but you can’t do much about that if the computer is in her room.
At age 13, she doesn’t need her own cellphone. You can give her a cellphone on select occasions, such as a camping trip, where no other type of phone is available.
You’ve asked her to limit her use? Who is running your household? I suspect that like many of today’s parents, you’re reluctant to do anything that might cause your daughter inconvenience, much less distress. That’s known as enabling, and that’s how problems go from bad to worse.
Young kids need chores
Q: I know you think children as young as 3 should do chores. Can you recommend age-appropriate chores I can try with my 3 1/2-year-old daughter?
Chores are an exercise in good citizenship, which begins in the home. They teach children teamwork, responsibility to others, and the service ethic.
By the time I was your daughter’s age, my mother had me washing floors. She began in a small area of the house. In no time, I was washing large areas like the kitchen. Oh, did I mention that chores also endow children with a feeling of competence and contribution?
One thing at a time, teach your daughter how to wash floors, dust furniture, and help you clean up after a meal.