The biggest impediment to connecting with our children is….gadgets

How do gadgets impact our connection with our children? Watch what Dr. Laura Markham, parenting expert and author, has to say.

By Team ParentCircle

Imagine this:
You are at home, you are washing dishes and your children are playing. Suddenly you get on your phone and in a few minutes, your children are fighting with each other.

Now why is that? Listen closely…. What you’re about to watch has the potential to change the way you use gadgets in your home. The idea that nurturing your connection with your child can transform your life is revolutionary! No wonder Dr. Laura Markham calls her work ‘Aha! Parenting’.

Laura Markham endorses #GadgetFreeHour. Watch the video.

Dr. Laura Markham is a clinical psychologist, creator of AhaParenting.com, and author of bestselling books Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life. Her relationship-based parenting model, which she calls Peaceful Parenting, has helped thousands of families across the world find compassionate, common-sense solutions to everyday parenting dilemmas and issues.

ParentCircle interacted with Dr. Markham to understand how gadgets impact our connection with our children. Here’s what she said: “The genetics of young children are still from the stone-age. When adults who are supposed to be responsible for them are not available, children sense it and start worrying. Gadgets are designed to make you stay immersed in them for longer – your children can sense it when you are not available for them. So, your child doesn’t feel safe and he acts out.”

What can you do?

  1. Acknowledge: Understand that gadgets can get addictive. When you get a text or email notification, you get a little dopamine rush. So, your neurotransmitters interact with the phone, the same way any other addiction does.
  2. Keep away: When you get back home, switch off your phone or put it on silent. For some people, when your phone is at a visible distance, you tend to feel the need to check on it. So, if that’s the case with you, just put in a drawer until your children are asleep. Use that time to connect, play, and interact with your child.
  3. Unplug: When you use a gadget to keep your child busy, you are setting your child for early gadget addiction. It’s okay to use it sometimes – when you are on an aircraft and let your child watch a movie – that’s fine. But if your child is on the phone every other day, it’s an addiction. Your child doesn’t actually need a gadget until he is older, when he probably may not have a responsible adult around him. But until then, keep the device for special occasions only. That means you’ll have to say No a lot. You will have a lot of crying and whining. But research shows screens make us anxious. If you say No to screen-time, you are lowering your child’s anxiety levels. Also, when children spend time with their gadgets more, they are less creative, less original, and less capable of playing independently by themselves. If you want them to play by themselves, do not give them the screen. 

Interviewed by Team ParentCircle on 22 October 2019; reviewed on 15 November 2019.

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