My 16 year old daughter is obsessed with social media. She posts at least 15 selfies on Instagram or Facebook a day. She is so intelligent but her grades are starting to slip and she is losing her interest in extracurricular activities. How do I get her to unplug without hating me?
I hate to say this but WOW MOM, are you kidding? It’s time to stop worrying about whether you tick, little Miss Social Media off and immediately start playing the parent card! Your daughter is falling down the internet black hole which can be dark, dangerous and disturbing, and you are allowing it.
Lisa, a 16 year old teen does not have the brain maturity for judgment, decision-making, long-range planning and impulse control. The prefrontal cortex part of the brain that handles those behaviors doesn’t mature or develop until between the ages of 25 and 30 according to the Child Psychiatry Branch of the National institute of Mental Health, hence the need for parenting. By not helping her control her Social Media obsession, worrying about her reaction to direction and fearing her “hating you” you are leaving your daughter out in dangerous shark-infested water, alone and she doesn’t know how to swim.
Come on Lisa, throw your child a life vest here by stepping up to the plate and parenting. SET usage rules and regulations with rewards for good behavior, chores completed, grades maintained, school and extracurricular activity involvement and consequences for poor behavior, loss of use. Monitor her social accounts and her use of exorbitant selfies and posts. No more hours of surfing, posting and socializing through a wired device. Tell her she must get up, get out and get involved. If she can’t do it alone then you must do it with her. Together you can join a gym, dance class, martial arts, photography classes or whatever you can do together to keep her mentally stimulated and physically involved with actual people. As parents, we must try to teach and lead by example, not with the old mindset of, do as I say and not as I do. Whatever you do Lisa break the habit now before it becomes more of a losing dangerous battle.
This sleek, sparkly, shiny object that puts many teens in a trace: the internet, is very, very enticing don’t let it control her because it will. It’s time for you to make the proper corrections now, while you still can.
Good Luck and Huge Muther Hugs,
One Tough Muther