It’s the anomaly that hits every parent. One day your sweet, lovely child is there. The next, they’re replaced with a sullen, screen-sucking teenager who refuses to look up from their phone and acknowledge your presence.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get responses like “school was fine”, “I’ve done my homework” — and on the rare occasion — “Thanks, Mum (or Dad)”.
But, more often than not you won’t get a response because they’re immersed in their screen-dependent bubble.
So, how can you break through to your screen-sucking teenager?
Here are a few parenting wins parents have used to get their screen-sucking teenager sitting up to attention.
Unplug the internet
Wait for it….3, 2, 1 and *poof*, like magic your kids will appear in front of you. No doubt they will be lamenting about the lack of internet, but you’ll have their attention. This is the prime opportunity to discuss important topics with them. Once they realise you won’t turn on the internet until they start taking the conversation seriously, they’ll start listening to what they have to say.
“Yeah, but they still have 3G/4G!” Not to worry, with smarter parental controls like Habyts, you can pause the internet when they are on WiFi, 3G/4G or even offline.
Take away their chargers
Whether you are disciplining your kids or you just want them to not use their devices ALL THE TIME, taking away their chargers is a great tactic! When they realise they only have a limited amount of time (hello screen time limits) thanks to the battery, they’ll be more inclined to make it last by doing other things. Like participating in family activities.
The more they participate in family activities, the more open they are to conversations and engaging with everyone in the family. It’s a win-win for you as a parent!
Copy their selfies on social media
We all know that puberty sucks. But team it up with screens and social media and you have a recipe for disaster. Yes, it’s great for connecting friends and providing us with rapid breaking news updates.
But for teenagers?
It’s a place where perfect lives are thrown in their faces all the time, knocking their self-esteem. It’s a place where lack of likes equates to lack of friendship. And it means that bullying can continue even when they are safe in their own home.
We can tell teenagers this until the cows come home. The chances of them receiving and understanding the message are…0.01%. Let’s not kid ourselves. However, when we remove the importance of social media from their lives, they start to listen.
The best tactic we have seen of this to date is the 17 Parents Who Epically Re-Created Their Kids’ Selfies And Are Now Basically Legends. It’s been voted the second most effective way to embarrass teenagers by Hpester, and we know as parents — embarrassing teens gets their attention.
The more we can show them that social media shouldn’t be taken so seriously, the less importance they will place on it. As a result, they’ll become more balanced, making them willing to listen to reason and socialise beyond the realm of social media.
There you have it. Our top 3 ways to get teenagers out of their screen-sucking funk, actually start listening to your advice and engaging with the family again.
RELATED: Want to start becoming more involved in your kids' screen time?
Can you think of any great parenting tactics we missed? Tell us!