Being a parent of a child in this generation means you are parenting a deviceKid – whether they use a device or not. Your child is a part of this generation and will be affected by the proliferation of devices all around them.
Does being a teenager today come with new levels of insidious situations for them to encounter? Are their experiences different? Do they need different characteristics to navigate their way through a world with different opportunities – and different pressures?
YES! There is no doubt that this explosion of technology with all of its capabilities (not entirely understood by parents) is raising parenting alarm bells. The uncertainty and confusion that we hear regarding raising deviceKids is unprecedented!
What is clear: despite the literature, research, warnings, school and government advice things don’t seem to be getting better. The prevalence of device usage of children is growing rapidly, whilst the impact – although plentiful – has yet to be fully understood. “Ouch!”
Like everything in life, it’s the way we approach a situation or challenge that will inevitably determine the outcome of it. Parenting deviceKids is no different!
So here’s your choice. Let’s think about options of two parenting styles.
People who view the word ‘parent’ to be a noun
i.e. “I am a parent because I have children”.
People who view the word ‘parent’ to be a verb
i.e. “I am raising children and actively parent them”.
Seeing your role as a parent as being an active coach, guide, teacher and leader puts you into the category of parenting as a verb. You are a parent who leads – and this requires a leadership mind-set. We call this parentship.
parentship | verb
– The action of purposefully guiding, directing and influencing one’s dependents
The top 10 differences between parents as a noun and parentship as a verb!
1. “I don’t have time” VERSUS … “I make time”
If we had a dollar for every time we heard a parent say “I don’t have time!” we would be so rich we would give Donald Trump a run for his money!
Time is about management. We all have the same amount of hours in every day and it’s how you manage those hours that will determine how much you can squeeze in.
An attitude of parentship understands that anything good comes out of an investment of time, including their child’s potential! Making time to nurture your child’s individual ability and enjoying them … because they are the person you are moulding is never time regretted.
2. “My child didn’t come with a handbook” VERSUS … “We are writing the handbook for our child”
Your child is totally unique … they have never been a child before, and you’ve never had that child before … so yeah … it’s a tough ask to request a handbook!
You are the author of your child’s handbook and like every good author you should research, look through the history books, seek advice so that your book is the best it can be.
An attitude of parentship is open to feedback from others’ experiences of children and raising children because a parentship attitude knows the ultimate decision is up to them – “feedback is free and I can do with it what I want in light of my child and my family values”.
3. “I make excuses not to act” VERSUS … “I find reasons to act”
“I don’t have time, we can’t afford it, it’s too hard, it will take too long, I don’t know how to, it’s easier not to, what are you supposed to do, I couldn’t be bothered, I work so hard I deserve it, I’m so tired, yeah I know, I know … I don’t know… ”. These are classic excuses we hear from parents. All the reasons that they justify to themselves why they ‘didn’t do something’.
Sometimes when parenting gets tough, parents “opt out!”. This separates parent from parentship.
A parentship approach is resilient and never opts out. It’s in these tough moments where those with an attitude of parentship don’t make excuses. They are driven to do something, they ask questions and they act …without delay … there is no time like the present to be present. No excuses!
“It’s my job to prepare”
No longer is setting parental controls on your kid’s device enough. With an attitude of parentship it is time to prepare your child for the challenges in life. This means that when they fall down have you taught them how to get up? When they make a mistake have you equipped them with the resourcefulness to figure out the right way? Do they have the inbuilt discipline to understand right from wrong? They have to be told ‘no’ to learn to appreciate the ‘yes’ because in life you don’t always get what you want.
It’s the ability for children to handle the mishaps, spills, misses and problems, that adds to their tools, increases capability and build the grit they require to succeed in life.
5. “I react” VERSUS … “I listen”
Kids have told us that sometimes when they try to express themselves to parents mum blows up with things like “what do you expect?” and dad is often distracted.
Listening is a decision based on internal control, parentship states that “regardless of what is happening, I can choose to listen”.
Children can be tough and teenagers are even harder. But overreacting to your child expressing themselves can scare kids away and reduce a situation down to what a parent is feeling instead of the feelings of the child. When parents react emotionally it can make a kid feel like everything is their fault … because you did that, I reacted. When a parent reacts with over talking it deprives the child of expressing their own feelings.
If kids cannot speak and be heard, they will act-up. So if your kid is acting up – stop and listen because if you listen, you will hear what is really going on.
The parentship attribute of listening, allows you to check-in and know where your kid is currently ‘at’.
6. “I give in” VERSUS … “I never give up”
Who said children are easy? A child will always push and push and push that boundary because that is how they learn. Many parents get worn out and say “… I knowwwww, but what are you meant to doooo?!”.
An attitude of parentship on-the-other-hand rises to the challenge because they firstly know and are fixed on the purpose of the boundary. They understand that by persisting and not giving up in the moment means that the child will benefit positively and learn the lesson being taught.
7. “I take things personally” VERSUS … “I take things for what they are”
Kids react and can say mean things. If a child doesn’t scream, “I hate you!” at some time or another it means you’re doing something wrong! They refuse to hug you and even don’t want to be seen with you sometimes … and it feels horrible and can break you down.
It’s easy to take these comments (or behaviours) personally, as a personal failure or shortcoming. It’s a common desire for parents to ‘like to be liked’ and sometimes this can mean giving your children the world for that return of “oh I love you, you’re the best” … it’s tempting.
A parentship attitude sees through the words that kids use when they are trying to get what they want or even better … get out of what they don’t want! True parentship doesn’t care either way because “I know I am the adult and I know what is right for my children”.
Some might even say “if my kids don’t like me from time to time, then I know I am showing parentship!”.
8. “I fix the symptom” VERSUS … “I fix the cause”
Kids often can’t tell you how they really feel or don’t have the confidence to tell you that something is wrong. We often hear this in the case of cyberbullying. It’s really easy to continually allow your child to leave school early or stay home sick, to avoid participating in something or cater to constant excuses and emotion. By doing this you are dealing with the symptoms and not the cause.
A parentship attitude, firstly sees if they are presented with symptoms such as irregular behaviour or speech, and always looks for patterns. They understand and search for the reason as to why these symptoms are presenting in the first place, seeking to resolve or change the cause. “This is the right thing to fix because then the symptoms will look after themselves”.
9. “I encourage them” VERSUS … “I motivate them”
Encouragement is excellent – all kids need it! It helps having a cheerleader in life, a guiding voice that steers you and helps you continue.
Now let’s take it a step further. What happens when you aren’t around to encourage them? Will they follow through? Kids need to be able to motivate and act themselves.
Parentship skills actively motivate their children and instill a purpose in everything they do. Parentship attitudes understand the influence of inspiration and that an inspired kid sees possibility. It is this notion that can catapult a kid (who once needed constant encouragement to fulfill or follow through), to being a kid who is self-motivated and willing to push themselves for themselves.
Self-motivation is the key that unlocks the door to their success. If you show motivation and are ‘up for it’ the chances are – so will they!
10. “I keep telling them what to do” VERSUS … “I’ve coached them how to do it”
The bad news is that kids are not born all knowing. The good news is that they have an amazing predisposition to understand concepts such as respect, gratitude, and humility plus, the capability to learn to complete complex tasks like washing the dishes, cooking, painting, mowing lawns, feeding pets and helping in general.
They just need to be shown and coached on how. Telling a child to do something is futile if they are not trained on how to do it.
Those with an attitude of parentship are excellent at creating teaching moments to actively coach their children on physical and social attributes (like having manners) and teaching new skills (like changing a tyre). Even though your child may never change a tyre when they start driving, do not underestimate the confidence they draw from being capable and learning how to resolve a multitude of problems.
Parentship understands that the purpose of coaching kids to be capable is because it fundamentally builds their self-esteem and confidence.
Parent versus parentship … you decide.
We are yet to meet parents that don’t express the challenge and overwhelm of raising children when they are time poor and in the daily grind.
With the added dimension of the digital age and raising deviceKids, many parents are swamped with doubt on what they should do versus what not to do, what will affect their children or have them left behind in the device age … and they are not finding any resolve in the information they are given from schools and cyber agencies.
Unfortunately, there is a gap between what parents ‘think’ they know about social media and devices and what they ‘actually’ know. It is in this gap where children are finding themselves.
Do you know what your kids and their friends are doing online? Do you know why? Do you know what they are feeling inside?
“Help I’m a parent of a deviceKid!”
is a step-by-step 5-week leadership program that closes the knowledge gap between those who were born digital and those who are not. This program has been made accessible for any adult who has any influence over children. There’s so much to learn – get started today