How do we parent in the age of technology?
That’s one of the questions Jana Boyd, an MFT over at the Christian Counseling Service, is asked most frequently. It’s also the question driving a new series in Thursday night’s Parents Class.
“Nobody’s had to parent under these circumstances and it seems like we’re all kind of feeling our way without a lot of examples,” Jana said.
A friend recommended a book to Jana called “Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World” by Arlene Pellicane and Dr. Gary Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages.”
What struck her is its focus on teaching kids to be more relational, rather than just trying to get kids to spend less time using media.
“A lot of times we blame technology for the frustrations we’re having as parents when, really, we have to take responsibility as parents for what we’re modeling,” Jana said. “Are we teaching our kids to be good social people?”
On Thursday, Feb. 5, Jana started off the series which will continue through May. Each week the group will read two chapters from “Growing Up Social” and then come to class to discuss the contents. Jana will facilitate the first Thursday of the month, Kari Hidalgo an MFT intern at CCS will facilitate the third Thursday, and Bill Roozeboom a pastoral counselor at CCS will facilitate the fourth.
So far people in the class have connected well with the topic as most have wrestled to some degree with how much of a role technology should play in their family. Jana hopes parents will get some clarity on what boundaries to set and how technology may be uniquely affecting their children.
“I have three kids and technology is more of a problem for one of my kids just because of their personalities,” Jana said. “There’s not one blanket rule for everybody; you have to be attuned to each child.”
Jana emphasizes that it’s not necessarily about telling kids to stop using electronics, but it’s about teaching them how to use electronics in a smart way where it’s not consuming their life.
“We want to provide an opportunity for parents to decide for themselves what will work for their family,” Jana said.
Having worked with First Baptist parents before, Jana is eager to journey with them again and hear what insights they have to offer. To join in on the discussion, come to the Parents Class every Thursday at 6:45 p.m. in David’s Corner.
-words by Amanda Warner, printed in the March 2015 issue of the Tapestry.