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I recently had the chance to sit with my friend Lauren Muriello of Well Being Therapy Center, a great therapist who works primarily with teenage girls. Lauren worked with me at camp for many years before leaving to start a family and a successful business.
I talked with Lauren about several topics regarding teenagers and parents. One of Lauren’s areas of expertise is technology and social media as it relates to teenagers.
In this video, Lauren points out how addicting technology, social media, and video games can be. She discusses neuroscience research, which shows that the same areas of the brain that get stimulated from drugs and alcohol get stimulated when we are on social media.
What I found most important and interesting was when Lauren talks about the importance for parents to put down their phone when their child is talking to them and to look them in the eyes.
We often talk about how teenagers can’t put their phones down, and while it’s true, many parents have the same difficulty. Our kids are watching us and imitating what we do, regardless of what we say.
I once heard the poet David Whyte say …
I think of his words often when my daughter wants to talk or play with me and I just want to finish some work on my computer. We all know how it feels to try to talk with someone who is staring at their phone or texting — not very good. I think Lauren’s advice to parents on their own cell phone usage is spot on.
The thing that teens want more than anything else is to be heard and respected. Make sure you let your children know that they come first, ahead of whatever is on your device.
Put your phone down when they are talking to you. Look them in the eye. If you can genuinely care about your child’s perspective and what they have to say, it will go a long way towards earning their respect, and when you have their respect, it is much easier to help them develop healthy habits around things like cell phone usage.
I do hope you get a chance to watch the video above and opt in for the whole series. I think there are some good takeaways sprinkled throughout. If you missed the opt-in form at the end of the video, here it is again.
Enter your email to see the entire 9-part video series with Lauren Muriello, LPC
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A Non-Profit Overnight Summer Camp For Teens Ages 13-18Located in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.