“What can we do to help limit our son’s screen time peacefully?”

Hello, welcome to Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, licensed marriage and family therapist,
coming to you live every Wednesday at noon to join you for lunch to answer your parenting questions
that you email us every week, which we love. Thanks for sending them in. Here is this week's question.
Our 16 -year -old son is addicted to his computer and phone. Two weeks ago, my husband and I decided
we needed to do something. We limited his computer and phone use to two hours per night on the
weekdays which we think is pretty generous anyways he's been putting up a fight we constantly
find him on for longer than the allowed time and every single night has been a battle to get him
off I really don't know how to get through this even though we know it's best for him what can we
do to help limit his screen time peacefully so this is a really common problem a lot of parents
going through this a lot of parents are seeing that their kids are getting obsessed with their
phone with their Xbox

PlayStation their iPad it is designed to do that it is designed to to access all the pleasure
centers of your brain to make you keep wanting to play more or go on social media to find out where
your friends are what's going on and a lot of teenagers feel that you know the screens are their
access to their friends it gives them that illusion of connection because if they're on fortnight
or they're on snapchat they feel they're connecting they're watching what people are doing
they're seeing what other people are doing they're able to get high scores so it gets it's this
sense of um of affirmation you know a a validation that's what i'm looking for is the sense of
validation that they're maybe not getting in the real world or at least the illusion of validation
so it's really hard for them to give this up it's hard for adults to give up their screens um how
right now you're on the screen right now watching me i don't suggest you you turn off right now
because I have really important information

but do you limit yourself and so with this family right now you know they're limiting this this
kid to two hours a night are you also limiting yourself to the same two hours because if you're
limiting him two hours but then you're there on your iPad that's hypocrisy and he'll see through
it and it will drive his fight further and further now one of you may saying I'm an adult I can handle
it and you may be right but it's still you need to walk the walk if you're gonna talk the talk If
you want him to limit two hours, then you've got to set the same same standard for yourself. Otherwise,
so it'll never fly so Another thing on this is you don't want to get in the tug -of -war where you've
got the phone He's got the phone you guys are pulling the phone because that just creates a lot
of problems What I'd recommend is getting software Like Disney Circle or our pact Those are
two of many others where you can put an app on your phone or your iPad where you can virtually turn
off parts of his

phone that you don't want him to use so if he's on past two hours you can just shut it off that way
you're not in the tug -of -war or you can go through your Wi -Fi and shut off the Wi -Fi or go through
your phone company there are a lot of options but again you don't want to get in the position where
you're you know in a physical tug -of -war because that can just get blown out of hand and it's
not good for anybody and in those times when his screen time is off and he has no screen time is
it possible that he's never learned how to to fill his time without a screen. Has he had a screen
in his hand since he was two years old, or four years old, or seven years old? And so now that he's
16, he has no what to do without a screen. So that means you need to step in and help him. And he's
gonna resist this at first. But find things to do, you know, go shoot hoops in the front yard,
take the dog for a walk, do a puzzle, play a board game, bake cookies. Doesn't matter what you
do, it's that you

do. And again, he will resist this at first. But after a while, anecdotally what I find is when
kids are off screens more and more they relax when they know they can't be on it's this burden
off their shoulders they don't have to be there to get that high score they don't have to know
what their friends are doing they don't have to check in it's it's a lot of times it's a relief
but it just it's a marathon so you just have to wait it out and keep meeting your child with compassion
and empathy but still set clear boundaries if you get in a place of judgment and criticism and
blame then you're just the bad guy you know you have to set you have to walk this high road that
your kids not able to walk and eventually he might be able to start meeting you there closer and
closer nothing about this is easy but I encourage you to not give up I think boundaries for kids
with screens is important because it can get in the way of so many things it gets in the way of some
reflection it gets in the way

of the ability to understand who you are and what you want to be it can create a lot of anxiety so
you know set boundaries whatever you think are the boundaries that you feel are appropriate
and that you can enforce don't set boundaries that you can't enforce it just makes things worse
anyways we could talk for hours about this is a really deep topic but I want to make sure you go
back to your lunch and enjoy your your salad anyways if you have more questions please email
us at tips on teens at teen therapy center comm or you can message us right here on Facebook or
Twitter or Instagram any other the wonderful social media outlets that you have and then I have
too and if you have more questions you can always call me here at teen therapy center we'd love
to hear from you thanks again and I'll see you next week at 12 o 'clock bye bye

Many parents have to set rules with their kids in order to limit screen time, and we know that is not an easy task. This week on Tips on Teens, Kent answers a question from a mother who needs help enforcing these limitations in a peaceful manner. Here’s the question:

“Our 16 year old son is addicted to his computer and phone. Two weeks ago, my husband and I decided we needed to do something. We limited his computer and phone use to 2 hours per night on the weekdays (which we think is pretty generous…). Anyways, he’s been putting up a fight. We constantly find him on for longer than the allowed time and every single night has been a battle to get him off. I really don’t know how to get through this even though we know it’s best for him. What can we do to help limit his screen time peacefully?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.