I spend a lot of time talking about phones with my clients, especially my younger ones. We’re either discussing the nuances of phone culture – sexting, Snapping, Finsta rules, cyber-bullying, ghosting…..or they show me pictures of their pets, their rooms, their squad members, their vacations or something funny they want me to see. An inevitable phone-related conversation or activity comes up one way or another during our hour.
In my summer sessions, my teens have all, independently of each other, made one interesting statement. Although the following statistic is not verified, I’d venture to say that 99.9% of my teen/tween clients have all said the same thing in relation to their parents and phones.
“I wish my Mom/Dad/Guardian would stop being on their phone so much.”
This mom is guilty as charged. And I mean, G-U-I-L-T-Y. Even more so since I started my private practice. I’m constantly on my phone, checking emails and voicemails, texting clients, posting on my business social media accounts, researching this or that, and on and on.
And here’s the thing. I am always telling my kids and spouse to get off their phones.
I need to keep my head up more. Way, way more.
The beauty of what I do for a living, and what I always tell my clients, is that I learn just as much from them….if not more…than they do from me. So heads up, parents – and I mean it literally. We’ve gotta keep our heads up and off our phones. Our kids don’t know how to ask us. They want our attention and whatever it is we are doing or looking at…it most certainly can wait.
Phones are such a dominant part of our lives, more so now than ever. Walk into any restaurant, and just about everyone is either on their phone, heads down, or the phones are out on the table. As a couples therapist, nothing makes me sadder than seeing a couple, at dinner, heads-down in their respective phones.
Make a heads-up rule in your house. Set aside times where phones are off-limits, and engaged, shared activities and conversation happen instead. Make all meals no-phone zones.
Communicate with each other more, and phone less. Our relationships….all of them…will benefit.