My Kids Called Me Out for Being a Hypocrite and Here’s What I Plan to do About it!
If there is one thing that parenting has taught me, it is that when it comes to my children, I can often exhibit behaviour that is – let’s not beat around the bush – hypocritical. It’s not a personality trait that I would associate with myself under normal circumstances. Nobody wants to be a hypocrite, right? But, in those fleeting moments of mindfulness amidst the hustle and bustle of routine family life, I’ve caught myself saying one thing and doing another, and I’d wager (or at least hope) that I’m not alone.
How many of us have told our child that they had to share something, but then told them not to play with something that belongs to us, because ‘that’s mine!’ Have you told your child to stop doing something and expected them to comply immediately, but then expected them to wait while you finished an important task? Without realising it, we often send our children mixed messages. I’m going to hold my hand up and admit that when it comes to the issue of managing screen time, I recently realised, I am not modelling the best behaviour.
I’d like to say that this realisation was the result of some amazing level of self-awareness, but to be truthful, it’s hard to miss the irony of yelling at your child (for the fourth time) to put down their device and get ready for school when you are scrolling mindlessly through Instagram waiting for the kettle to boil! Glancing up to see three pairs of incredulous eyeballs staring back at you really nails home the point. That’s the thing about kids. They can sniff out BS a mile off, and when they get to a certain age, let me tell you, they aren’t afraid to call you on it. It’s humbling…and really,really annoying!
So, I’ve made some changes starting with my own technology usage, and now refrain from picking up my phone until the children have gone to school in the morning, and unless I’m following a recipe, checking the weather report to plan for the next day, or taking a photo of someone, I don’t use my phone between the time they come home and go to bed either.
But, of course, that’s just one piece of the puzzle.
I have plans to take it further, and tackle the tricky issue of balancing screen time in a way that relies less on me imposing strict limits and barking orders at my kids when they fail to comply, and more on a connected, respectful relationship. Sounds great right, but how?
Some of you may remember earlier this year a group of parents from the Mums Lounge community trialled a new parenting app called ourValues® that aims to teach children family values and how to manage their screen time. At the time I was a little envious to say the least, because it was only available to Android users, which counted me out. But, it’s since been released on the Appstore, and with the long summer school holidays looming ever closer, I’m keen to dive in and give it a go and see if it really does live up to all the hype.
How the ourValues® App Works
Unlike the method that I currently use that allows me to limit my children’s screen time and simply lock them out of their device at a set time without warning, the ourValues® app aims to create an environment where parents guide their child’s use of technology. Parents can choose how much time they want to allow their child to use their device per day but can also set responsibilities and expected behaviours for the child in order to earn that allotted time. This reward system helps to motivate children to collaborate with parents and complete daily tasks and behave in a way that reflects their family’s values.
Developed by S.A. enterprise 3 Chiefs, the ourValues® app has been installed on tens of thousands of devices since its soft launch a few months ago, and parents are raving about it.
The apps founders came up with the concept in December 2016 in response to the growing issue of technology addiction.
“We thought, ‘how could we do this in a way that is not just about managing screen time, but is also about teaching our kids that if they’re spending too much time on this, they’re going to miss out on all the other things that are important to them as they’re growing up and learning to socialise?’
‘Technology is here to stay. We cannot take away devices from kids, because it’s how they socialise, it’s how they learn, but we need to manage it smartly.”
“A lot of the apps really just focus on screen time, whereas ourValues® is much more than that,” explains Gabby Piantedosi, one of the app’s co-founders. “ourValues® helps teach children personal responsibility through the completion of activities and behaviours that are directly linked to their screen time allowances. We’re happy for the child to have some screen time. It’s then up to the child to decide how they will use their allowance more wisely throughout course of the day. This is another learning in itself!”
For the monthly subscription price of $5 (the price of a coffee) and the ability to control unlimited devices from my own device, I figure it’s well worth the small investment for what could make a huge impact on my family. Anyone else keen to jump on board?
I’ll keep you updated on my progress!