Monday, August 19, 2013

Managing Screen Time

Dear Huldah, 
I am a single mom, and I am having a tough time with my 14 year old son. He will not pull himself away from the computer to help here at home. The grass grows long unless I mow it. I need help with dinner some nights because I get home late from work. He even seems to be getting angrier whenever I try talking to him about it. I've tried rewarding, but it's not helping. I'm really not sure what else to try. I don't want to come off looking mean, but I am just overwhelmed sometimes. Any advice?

Frazzled Mom


Dear Frazzled,

Looking past the immediate needs in the home, it may be time to ask yourself some questions.

What kind of man would I like to see my son turn out to be?

What kind of career do I see him in?

How hard is he going to work at that career if he continues on this path at home?

Will he get passed over as a candidate for jobs or promotions because he's too involved in "fun things"?

What kind of provider would he be for his family if he is addicted to the internet?

Raising boys into real, hard working, self-sacrificing men is a lost art in our country, and desperately needed. We have one shot at parenting, just one, and God is going to hold us accountable for what we do with that child or children.

Proverbs 13:24 says;

He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently. 
First, I would be diligent in monitoring what he is doing on the computer. Anger and refusing to cooperate could be the first sign that he is getting into something you might not approve of.

Next, setting limits is appropriate. Perhaps allowing him computer time in the evening after he has earned it by meeting your expectations.

If all your efforts to set limits fail, then removal may be necessary. Yes, that does sound extreme to some parents, however, not nearly as extreme as losing our kids minds to cyberspace, tuning out family day after day, unable to retrieve the time missed with them again. If he needs to work on the computer for school, perhaps you can go to the library together.

Lastly, I'd like you to consider what we did with our children. When they were younger, we bought Life Application Bibles with footnotes, to help explain scripture. We started our day reading and learning together over breakfast. Perhaps dinner or before bed would work in your situation. What I can say is this, that is the absolute, single best thing we ever did for our family. Our children grew up knowing right from wrong, and how to respect us as parents. The Lord gave them this insight far more than my husband and I ever could have.

Hope this helps you.

Maidservant Huldah

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