One of the most annoying and insulting things to me is when I’m speaking with another adult, whose time and attention I’m giving, and they’re constantly on their cell phone. The crazy thing is that they aren’t doing anything constructive like responding to an urgent message, but rather scrolling through social media! Don’t you hate that? I know I do. I’m pretty secure in myself, yet when I’m spending my time with someone who is more interested in their timeline than person-to-person contact I’m almost ready to write that person off and quite frankly they’re a bore. Maybe they think I’m the bore!
Obviously if I feel this way, how do my children feel when I treat them the same? Since I hate being treated in such a dishonorable manner, then why would I practice and teach this behavior to my children?
Jesus says in Matthew 7:12,
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
We have to treat our children the way we want (and need) to be treated. Jesus said in everything! He lays that accountability on thick because it’s the will of God. Because it’s the will of God, we know our sinful nature and the enemy work in opposition, especially against our parenting if we aren’t careful.
Here are 5 challenges overusing our cell phones might create between parents and children:
1. Dishonor. It’s possibly teaching children to exalt a device over the value of human presence and interaction. There’s no honor in such a practice. I would be upset if my children ignored me to use their phones or other devices. Don’t destroy the value and lessons that human interaction teaches, especially in the midst of a growing tech-driven society.
2. Steals productive time between parent and child. How much time passes by before you’ve realized you didn’t help your child study? What activities did you miss out on because you didn’t realize how much time you lost scrolling through your phone?
3. It’s a safety hazard because your attention is away from the children, and there are predators looking to steal and harm them who likely look for unsuspecting and distracted parents. Turn off your cell phones when out with your children. Don’t allow the enemy to use your cell phone over-usage or addiction as the perfect distraction for harm coming to your child. Also, it’s not wise to operate your phone while driving, especially with your children in the vehicle.
4. Lack of relevance and confidence. It’s important to show children how they’re an essential asset in the household. Being attentive to them teaches them how to grow into their own voice in a healthy and confident manner while feeling supported by their parents.
5. Losing access. Pairing up with your phone all the time instead of pairing up with your child could mean pushing them away. It could also lead to them pairing up with a device and Internet sites they shouldn’t be accessing. If you’re always on your device, then how can you fully monitor who’s gaining access to your child? Our children are like sitting ducks when they get on the Internet. You can’t count on Internet settings to take the place of good ole fashioned parent filtering!
Maybe you feel you don’t have much in common with your children and that they haven’t the adult interest you have. Maybe you are bored with “kid stuff” in this ADHD culture. But our various interests are meant to connect parent with child through responsibility, patience and love. In that connection there’s more love, joy and security being cultivated which are three things our children will always need.
Our children are blessings and legacies in Christ. They’re our investments into our world’s future. In my Randy Watson voice I hear the lyrics to Greatest Love Of All saying,
I believe the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride.
Make it easier.
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be…
As parents, we can’t allow something as trivial as our cellphone [over]usage get in the way of doing this. We should never make our children feel like they have to compete with our cellphones for our love and full attention. Our children can tell when we’re all in or not and they will eventually respond accordingly. Let’s not allow phone addiction to create such unnecessary challenges in our lives.