Productivity Arata! So… do your children spend too much time on the Internet? Are they not taking proper care of their studies, family activities and other responsibilities? How do you, as a parent who is concerned for your children’s good education ensure a balanced, healthy and productive life and avoid the Internet’s temptations and its overuse?
Recently a letter went viral on social media. It went like this:
“Catarina, dear daughter,
From today, every day I will change the password of the home WiFi. To receive today’s password, you need to tidy your room and wash the dishes.
From the dad who loves you,
When I look at this example, my focus is not on “clean up the room and wash the dishes.” It could be anything else related to the boundaries, the conditions for good relationships inside that family. The most important point of this video is the ability to develop limits to improve communication, respect, discipline and maturity.
Maturing is the key word when we are dealing with teenagers. Adolescence is the time when we are maturing by finding new opportunities, new challenges and therefore we need new limits.
And it is up to parents to establish some important limits in this development. Healthy boundaries will reduce conflicts, reduce uncertainty, improve communication and build trust in the relationship with their children.
In the example of the letter we read, the limit is established clearly and in advance. There are no surprises later. The limits give a sense of security for all, and this is better than arbitrarily making things up on the fly.
There is clarity about what is not allowed. There are rules and consequences of not obeying the rules.
You may be wondering “Ah, but what if the daughter uses the neighbour’s WiFi network? And what if she uses the Internet connection on her phone?” If so, you have missed the most important message of the video. The key for you is to control your children’s Internet use or any of their other behaviours—it is not about specifically changing the router password or some other technical aspect. This is all about setting boundaries between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
For this, you always need to understand the unique characteristics of your child, remembering that each person is different. When you are defining the limits, you need to be consistent. If you are constantly creating exceptions or changing the rules, you will only create confusion and lack of respect for the limits.
You also need to establish the consequences of violated limits. When a rule is broken, what will be the consequence? The result should be something proportional to the boundary that was violated. If you overdo it and set an unreasonably disproportionate punishment, it can generate a sense of injustice and indignation. If the result is negligible, you can be sure your child will violate the rule.
For the limits and the consequences to be effective, you need to have a dialogue with your children, listen to what they have to say. This does not mean that you are required to do everything they ask or change the rules because of what they say. Be firm and sweet. Active listening and empathy are things you can always offer. Again, it does not mean you have to do everything their way. If you find it difficult to have this kind of honest conversation about establishing boundaries—genuine, open, and respectful—I recommend that you enroll in the course How to Say No, a course by Arata Academy. Visit this link here.