I read an article that was featured on Yahoo that had the over-view of social networking, teen’s reactions to social networking and an “experts” advice on your child and social networking.
The “expert” that they were using was a professor and his advice just hit me as the most insane advice I have ever heard, as an adult and as a parent. He said that children should be eating 3-4 meals a week as a family, that seems like a small number, but I was still in agreement with him, until he came to the “rules” of the family dinner. He stated that you should give your child a five minute warning to check any and all devices before dinner, and then expect them to sit for 45 minutes without any devices. HOWEVER, he said that you should give your child a one minute “message-check” break every 15 minutes where they can check their messages.
I am sorry, but that is crazy. As a parent, I should be allowed to expect my child to sit for a family dinner, tech-free without breaks for 45 minutes. Who is the parent and who is the child? I feel like parents are stripped of all their leverage and power by these “experts” who say that we need to give breaks and warnings to 15 year olds. These are the same tricks that we use as preschool teachers to transition them from free play to circle time, shouldn’t we be allowed to expect more out of our teenagers?!
I would like to see an expert come out and say, “You know what? You are the parent and they are the child and if you want to have a family moment and eat dinner together without technical gadgets, then set those rules and have consequences that are equal to the punishment picked out. Because you are the adult and they are the child and they wouldn’t have those devices unless you allowed your children to own them.”
But these experts won’t say those things, instead they give you advice on how to coddle your child and baby-step through the parenting process. I just wish that as parents we would have more support than our children do!