What can a parent do to stay focused on their children and not on the demands of this culture?
A parent is often pulled in a hundred directions at once; staying present while in the presence of your teen can be challenging.
Malachi 4:5-6 sends a strong message –
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
As parents, how can we turn our hearts toward our children and guide them effectively each day? Here are 5 online distractions that will take us off course from spending quality time with our kids:
Nine-to-five workdays seem to be a thing of the past. More and more parents are being lured into a virtual workplace where they can’t leave their work behind. Checking emails on their computers or smartphones is a huge distraction for parents that keep them from focused quality time with their teens.
What you can do: Set a time limit using a timer if necessary for “work from home” activities and then shut off your phone and computer until the kids head to bed.
Over 62% of parents of teens now have a Facebook account. Though it might appear like parents are keeping in touch and letting the rest of the world know how great family life is, the truth is that it is taking a huge chunk out of time spent face-to-face with their family members.
What you can do: Have your teen show you 1 or 2 of their friend updates on their favorite social media and then have a face to face discussion about them. This is a great way to keep up on their friend’s news and spend time talking with your teen.
The immediate reaction might be to assign this temptation to moms, but the reality is that all parents are targets of online marketing. Keep the shopping to a minimum – great for the finances, too!
What you can do: Shop after hours and with a budget! Online stores are open 24/7. If you need to shop, do it when the kids are at school or in bed. Look at the last 3 bank statements and see where your money is going online. If presents to yourself is taking away from presence with your kids, time for an adjustment!
Ok, we all like the cat videos and babies laughing but missing time with your kids because you need to see the latest viral video is not “turning your heart towards your children.” Dads, are sports videos and online gaming stealing time from your kids? Parents can create amazing memories of their own when they step away from the distractions that are not eternal.
What you can do: Invite your teen to share their favorite videos or games with you – get into their world or invite them into yours. Think of online videos as a team sport, not a solo activity.
Sharing your story.
Parents love to talk about their kids and share stories. Blogging has become a favorite pastime and often a waste of time. Reading about how other parents spend their time with their kids keeps you from spending time with your own. As your kids get older, you will discover more parents dropping out of the blogging world. Why? Hopefully, because they have learned to go to God for parenting instruction instead of the blogging community!
What you can do: Start a prayer journal for each of your kids. When you are tempted to read or write online, pick up your Bible and pen and tell God your story instead!
It’s so easy to lose track of time when we are raising our children. Make the most of every opportunity and guard your time with them. Take a walk or just at home with them – it’s biblical!
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Got teens? Here is another article on teen relationships that parents have found helpful…
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