One thing that becomes very clear when listening to Lauren Muriello, LPC of Well Being Therapy Center talk about the use of technology, is the importance for parents to be very clear with their teens about their rules for cell phone use.

There is no vagueness in what she has to say. You set rules for your child before you give them a phone and then if your teen breaks those rules there are reasonable consequences.

It makes sense, but I imagine plenty of parents are not completely clear with their child about exactly what they expect from them before they give them a phone. This makes it more difficult to take it away when your child does something irresponsible.

Consequences need to be short. We need to give our teenagers the understanding that they did something wrong and the behavior needs to improve, but then we need to give them a chance to do it right. -Lauren Murriello Click To Tweet

How long should you take your child’s phone away as a consequence?

Teenagers may think they can’t live without their cell phones, but I can tell you from experience that they can not only live without them, but that there are plenty of benefits from them being away from their  phones for a while, including the chance to focus on schoolwork, talk to the people next to them, and even relax in ways they may not have in a long time.

Lauren says we should not take away a teen’s phone for months. She thinks that would be excessive. The goal of taking away your teen’s phone, for a day or two is to give them a chance to do it right, to be responsible.

Consequences versus punishment

I think this is the real takeaway. The end game is to teach, but we need to give our kids the space to get it right, to do it again and make better decisions.

This is how we can help build self esteem and closer relationships through disciplining our kids. The discipline is not punitive. The consequences are logical and they are reasonable.

When we lay down consequences as parents, we need to keep site of the higher intention, which is to teach our kids, not only to respect the rules, but that they have the power to get it right. This is very different than a punishment made out of anger.

If you’re interested learning more about the difference between punishment and consequences, you might find this article helpful on empoweringparents.com

“Parenting and Digital Technology” Video Series

I do hope you get a chance to watch the video above and opt-in for the whole series. I think there are some some good takeaways sprinkled throughout. If you missed the opt-in form at the end of the video, here it is again.

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