A Guide for Parents: Teenagers and Technology

      In the fast moving world of digital technology, parents are frantically searching for the latest information and how to keep their children safe online. Trying to keep up with all the latest trends can feel like a maze, and leave parents feeling dizzy.  In their dizziness, they may tend to go to extreme measures trying to do away with technology or lack concrete boundaries – just hoping for the best. While the tendency to resort to either of these options is tempting, we have compiled a list of our most commonly asked questions to help parents find a moderate answer to the challenges of technology with their teen or pre-teen. We hope these questions and answers help guide parents towards designing limits for technology that are appropriate for their unique families.

How do I protect my children when they are outside the home (e.g. someone else’s house)?

 

•       Let your kids know the expectations up front and remind them when they leave home.

•       Inform the other parents of your wishes and ask for their support

•       Have a rule that devices do not go to other families’ homes

•       Be prepared to follow through with consequences if the rules are not followed.

 

Increased Intimacy Through Couples Therapy

When we talk about intimacy most people think about sex, but that’s only one part of intimacy. Couples who say they want to know each other better are also seeking intimacy. True intimacy is achieved when you are able to see and be seen by another. I’ve often heard it said that the phrase “into me you see” is a great way to remember the concept of intimacy. In my work as both a couples and sex addiction therapist, I have helped many couples improve their connection and move into deeper intimacy.  Many couples report wanting to feel closer; this is true for couples who are just starting out, and event those who have been in a relationship for a long time.  They want to know each other’s dreams and desires  - all of which is part of intimacy. By using a technique that helps couples focus on identifying and communicating their emotions, I guide them in becoming more in tune with each other. When couples feel as though they are seen and heard in a relationship, then they are more likely to share their hopes, dreams, and desires. Couples that are early in their relationship can often save themselves some heartache. And after years together, many couples develop a new depth of knowledge of each other. If you love your partner dearly, but often wish you were closer, then couples therapy focused on intimacy building could be the next step to take to get you there. Wouldn’t it be nice to share the desires of your heart with your life partner?

Children Are Not Little Adults

After attending a host of holiday gatherings over the past few months, I started reflecting on a pattern I noticed of a lack of attention that being paid towards young children at some of these events. What I noticed was not that children were being overtly neglected, but that there seemed to be some odd expectation that they would behave like little adults while the actual adults got on with more important and mature matters.

This observation inspired my thinking process, and thus this blog post, about reasonable expectations for children.  The old saying that “children should be seen and not heard” is long since a thing of the past, and we have plenty of research to show that quite the opposite is true in terms of promoting their healthy development.

  • Children are meant to play. In this process, they are meant to explore, make messes, and be spontaneous. This means that they will jump from one thing to the next without thinking, and yes, without cleaning up. This process is critical to their development. Their brains are not developed enough to complete one task at a time, clean it up, and then neatly move on to another one. (Let’s be honest, some adults can’t even do this).

How to Have Less Technology and More Engagement This Year

A common complaint among parents these days is that their kids spend too much time on technology. In fact, it’s the reason why many families call our office. Parents often notice that their child seems disengaged and less interested in other social activities, and thus prefers the tablet or video games. After arguing with their child (and sometimes even their spouse) for days and months on end, they often seek therapy out of frustration. Here are a couple of strategies we offer to help families strike a balance with technology use and family time.






1.     Avoid discounting technology all together. Taking extreme measures like banning all technology does not help teach balance. Of course there are sometimes when restricting privileges is appropriate, but those should be on a case-by-case basis.






Ashley Madison – Does Your Marriage Need a “CDC”?

“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.”

- Robert Gary Lee

The Ashley Madison data breach has caused quite the stir in our offices.  For marriages impacted by sex addiction and compulsivity, it’s a trigger which sparks pain and trauma to those already in treatment with us.  For others it is an initial awakening to the world of relationships impacted by the Internet. 

Ashley Madison is a website created by Canadian Internet Entrepreneur, and now former CEO, Noel Biderman.  The sole purpose was to create a “dating site” for married individuals to find partners to have extramarital sex or affairs.  The company’s by-line is “Life’s Short, Have an Affair”. 

We Are Awesome Parents

"Nothing is worse than active ignorance."

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Have you seen the recent commercial of the family who just got the new iPhone 6s for their teenage daughter? The commercial is advertising new usage plans aimed at families who consume high volumes of data use. The family highlighted in the commercial is driving down the road with dad at the wheel, mom as passenger, and the daughter in the back seat, completely engaged in all the functions her newly acquired multi media device has to offer.  The daughter is talking to her friend when the dad asks, “Is that an extra expense”?  The mom assures dad “it’s in the plan”.  Dad proclaims, “We are awesome parents”.

Next the daughter is taking a selfie capturing the momentous moment and texting it to her friend.  Dad worriedly asks mom “Is that included in the package or an extra expense?”  Mom confidently confirms, “It’s covered”.  Dad replies, “We are awesome parents”. 

Lastly, the adolescent daughter is seen wearing headphones and rhythmically bobbing and swaying with exuberance to which her father sternly quips, “What is going on back there?”  She replies in a loud voice, “I am streaming my music, this is so awesome!”  Dad begins to question mom when she interrupts with quiet assurance “its in the plan”.  And dad repeats one final time “We, are awesome parents”.