No, this isn’t some quirky post where I twist the title around… I really mean that no parent in their right mind should allow the following five activities. The stakes are just too great.
- Violent Video Games. At. All. (Applies more to boys.) The effects of these games are just too great. They are linked to violence in real life and predict criminal activity in the future. They actually develop part of the brain that creates aggression and rewards distractibility and risk-taking behavior. And thanks to this supreme court ruling, kids can buy all video games rated “M” for mature.
- Be On Social Media. (Applies more to girls.) Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and whatever newest thing to come along will only cause anxiety in teens. FOMO (fear of missing out) creates major stress if their post does not get enough “likes.” They obsess. They hatch plans, post, and check back. It’s just not healthy. If you ban all social media, your teen will NOT be ostracized; they’ll just be known as the, “kid with the weird parent.” And all other teens will secretly wish their parent cared that much to remove that pressure from their lives. Think you’ve taken care of that by installing spyware or some other app on their phone? Think again. There are sites like this one that kids can look up.
- Take Their Phone To Bed. I’ve already written about this here, but it bears repeating. If your child takes their phone to bed, they will NOT be sleeping; they’ll be responding to texts. Make them give it to you when they go to bed… at a reasonable time.
- Eat/Drink Anything With HFCS. High fructose corn syrup is just plain evil. It is not recognized by the body as food, spikes blood sugar levels- casing crashes, and leads to health complications like diabetes and obesity. If kids are drinking soda, eating processed snacks or downing PB&J, they are going to be functioning on a roller-coaster in their body. Go through your pantry and fridge; read the labels; purge. Then start putting only healthy items in your cart at the grocery store.
- Be Unattended With Kids’ Parents You Don’t Know. This includes things like sleepovers, parties, and going to the mall. There’s just no way to monitor what the OTHER kids are doing because you have no idea… like violating all five of the above rules, for example… One way to still let them have fun is to be the host and carefully screen the list of invites and reach out to parents of those kids.
So how to enforce these rules? Tell your kids that you love them and want what’s best for them. Let them get upset- especially if these rules are coming from out of the blue. They may pitch a fit, whine, cry, “hate you,” roll their eyes, or give you the silent treatment… or a combination. Don’t cave in. Ride the storm. Eventually, they will calm down.
Consider giving them something they’ve been wanting for a long time that’s a healthy alternative to soften the blow- take them to that place they’ve been wanting to go or get them that overpriced clothing item for being such a good sport.
And just remind them that there’s a difference between a “NEED” and a “WANT.”
You’re the parent; only YOU can be their protector. Make the #153Promise to be the responsible one!!!
*Thank you to Dr. Leonard Sax for his talk last Sunday for emphasizing the importance of some of these issues!