Discussing Internet Use/Social Media With The Kids

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Tech Stuff, Texting

Talking with our kids about the dangers of the internet and social media use can be tough, but needs to happen.

Discussing the Internet and Social Media

(excerpt taken from our Parenting Techies workshop)

What are the chances that our children will grow up to become adults without seeing an explicit image?  It’s just a matter of time.  If you don’t talk with them openly and regularly and prepare them, they won’t be equipped to handle it correctly.  IT WILL HAPPEN!  Most probably on accident, but if you think you can wait until they are 15, you’ve waited too long.

The most important thing is their heart.  If you don’t have their heart, you have little influence.
Love.
Relationship.
Connecting.
Being engaged.
Spending time with them.

What’s the best way to show them your love and care?  Be engaged.  Give them your time.  Nothing speaks louder to them than when you spend time with them.  In the role of parenting, you cannot underestimate the power of quantity time.  Quality is essential, but quantity cannot be neglected.  If your kids are spending more time with friends who may not share your convictions and values about life and God, you may not have the impact you think you have.  Quality time without quantity of time leads to kids whose hearts are still far from us.

WARNING: When they share something that makes you want to erupt or flip out; you must remain calm.  Don’t raise your voice, over react or start hyperventilating.  You obviously know what this will do to any future conversations.  Yup.

Remain calm.  Talk.  Ask questions.  Get to know them: what they are thinking; what they’ve done; what their friends think.  You get the picture.  Pretend like you are talking with your boss or close parent.  Show respect. Listen.  Ask more questions.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”  James 1:19

The Bible is full of wisdom.  Do this and you will find that you will have some great conversations with your kids.  They will trust you.  They are smart.  If you ask the right questions, you can lead them to the right answers.  Another result is that you will know them.  In fact, you will know them better than anyone else.  Just a reminder, our kids don’t have many people, if any, that they can open up with and be completely transparent.  And…If you think they are open with friends, do you really want another 14 year old giving them advice on faith and life?

Guide them to God’s Word for advice.  Show them what God’s Word says.  BUT…

Know when to tell them what to do.  Know when to let them choose.  Know when to let them fail.  (Let them fail a little at home while you are still close by to help. (Pssss… That time is coming.)

Tips for talking about internet use with younger kids:

  • Ask them why they like the video games they play. Play their games with them, so you know what games they are playing (and you should be approving every game and app first).
  • Talk about balance. What are the pros and cons about playing video games vs. playing outside?  (Don’t forget to set time limits with them.)
  • Tell them what pornography is: pictures of people without clothes on OR people with only their birthday suit on.
  • Why do you think God wants you to wait until your married to see another boy or girl in their birthday suit? (He wants it to be special; something for you to experience with the person you will marry. He wants you to save your eyes too.)
  • If a person without clothes on flashes on the screen, I’d like you to turn your eyes and I want you to tell me. Will you do that?
  • What could you say to a friend that shows you a picture like that?

Ask questions: (We can learn so much from our children if we just ask questions):

  • What age is a good age to join social networks? Why do you think most of them set the age to 13?
  • What kinds of things should not be shared online?
  • Do you realize many people can read what you write, but may not know the context (if you are being sarcastic, etc.)
  • Have you seen any of your friends post something that made them look foolish?

For teens: You will want to stay engaged:

  • Ask them what apps are popular right now and why are their friends using them?
  • Show them online articles or newspaper clippings (if you still use one of those things) that reveal the terrible things that can happen. Not to scare them, but to show them the reality.  Expose them a little to reality and let it teach them.  It also gives you another voice, another advocate for your case.
  • When you see something online, ask them what they think about it. It could be a risqué picture or a comment about something or someone.  Ask: What does this say about that person?  Do you think they value who they are?   What is really important: inside beauty or outside?  Do you struggle with this?

Don’t shy away from tough questions.

It’s part of being a guardian!

For a pdf of this, click here: Discussion questions for kids and social media.

 

Celebrate Your Family: The easiest way to get pictures printed.

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Encouragement, Grandparents, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas

2016-04-07 13.00.20If you are like most of us, we take all those pictures in a snap with our smart phone and then we never see them again.  They are lost within our digital devices.   When do we ever look at them?  I found an extremely easy way of getting those photos printed, so we can enjoy seeing them around the house.

I have filled two collages and randomly taped pictures up around the house.  It’s a joy to see our kids share family memories with guests.  It reminds our children (and us 🙂 ) that we enjoy each other and that we want to remember the great family times we’ve had in the past, knowing we are making more memories as we continue to do life together.  Another benefit is that it continues to connect them with extended family that we only see once or twice a year.  Celebrate your family by printing those digital memories (and don’t forget to update them a few times a year.)

You have probably sent pictures from your computer to get printed somewhere in the past, but with the Wal-Mart app, it is so convenient to upload them through your phone and pick them up the next time you go.  I’ve actually been in the store, uploaded my photos and picked them up on my way out.  Walgreens has a similar app.  Whatever method works for you, celebrate your family by getting those digitally captured memories in print.

 

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2016-04-07 13.00.56 2016-04-06 13.28.29

Using Texts To Connect With Your Kids

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Dads, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas, Tech Stuff, Texting

How many of us have shouted orders to our kids via a text? Something like…

  • “Don’t FORGET your homework!!!”
  • “When you get home: let out the dog, have a snack, clean your room, because I can’t see the floor! Love you.
  • “NO friends over!”
  • “Be home by 9!”
  • “BE QUIET and go to sleep! (Sent from your bed; they are across the house in theirs.)”

Me too.  Guilty.

I have made it a priority to connect with my daughter with at least one encouraging text a day.

Can you imagine if every time our kids receive a text from us, their first thought was, “I wonder what encouraging thing my dad is going to say now?”  What if they looked forward to receiving our texts?

Let’s send at least one encouraging, uplifting, inspiring, funny text every day.  There just isn’t a reason not to use this tool to connect with our kids.

As a reminder, put it in your calendar to repeat every day. (Yes. I do this. Don’t tell my daughter.)

Text them stuff like:

  • “You did great at…!”
  • “Hope you do fantastic on your exam. Praying for you!”
  • “Hang in there. The day is almost over.”
  • An inspirational scripture verse. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13.24 (Just kidding.)
  • “I thought I would encourage you with a reminder that you have the best dad in the whole world! Love ya.”  (With crazy selfie.)
  • “Can’t wait to hear about your day. Love you.”
  • “Excited to spend time with you this weekend.”
  • “Is this a good weekend to wash my car?”

I ran across a picture of my daughter on my pc yesterday and I had this idea.  I brought the picture up on the screen.  Then I wrote adjectives that describe her on post-it notes and put them around the picture and texted it to her.  It only took a few minutes and it meant a lot to her.

2015-03-24 15.16.54

Our kids need our affirmation.  They don’t get a lot of praise for who they are outside our home, so let’s make sure they get it from those who love them the most.

Leave a comment below. I’d love your feedback.

Jonathan

The Best and Worst  25 Minutes of My Day

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Encouragement, Heart Connections With Your Kids

Two days ago Josh, our 9 year old son, wanted me to chase and catch him.  It often involved a little tackling, grabbing, the stretching of clothing.  For 25 minutes, I ran.  Honestly, I kept him on the ground often just so I could catch my breath.
Just he and I.  Running.  Catching him (sometimes).  Rolling on the ground. Laughing. Talking smack. Grass stains. Sweat.He loved it. Complete uninterrupted time with dad. No siblings.  No phone.

Grandparents With Impact

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Grandparents, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas, leaving a legacy

Many novels have been written about the mysteries and treasures surrounding Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Whether it is in the attic or a long dark hallway with beckoning rooms, there is something special about the visits to the grandparents.  The food tastes better, the smells are sweeter, and the conversations more endearing.  On one visit to my grandparents, my sister and I found a closet at the end of the hall which aroused our curiosity.  The musty smell, the delicately stitched doilies, and the old treasures were a delight to explore.  In one box, I found a little green Bible with gold engraved letters.  It was just my size and it was my favorite color.  Grandmother gave it to me and I carried it with me everywhere I went.  God’s seed was sown.

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