In the importance of truly “seeing” kids as they are, where they are, and supporting their unique exploration of what they want in life and in themselves.
That failure is necessary to learn and anxiety signals opportunity.
That parents are here to provide love, fun, strength, and honesty. Protection is not shielding and scaring, but gently informing and inviting empowerment. Authoritative vigilance, yes, but not stifling shame.
That screens are an essential part of childhood now. Kids have embraced it, so parents need to get braver and accept tech with agreeable curiosity rather than frightened resistance.
Parents. Because we all fear we are ruining our kids by letting them play on their screens. I've learned how to help families let go of the fear and connect with each other AND play on screens. You will find no parent shaming here. I'm a mom, I've felt it. I know my kids aren't broken; they love me me AND they're digitally literate. So awesome! ❤︎ My clients get to "feel" that perfect connection with their screen-hungry kids too. It started five years ago. I was happy and busy taking care of kids, seeing clients in private practice, and teaching. Then my dad died, my stepmom got cancer, and my mom was overcome with dementia, and I was in charge of all of it drowned in grief. I was in danger of losing it and letting screens parent my kids. I was so afraid, because i was seeing the families in my practice falling apart from poorly managed screen time. Then GetKidsInternetSafe found me. It's THAT important.
Kids by teaching parents how to love and protect them, but more importantly, “see them.” I was raised by a mom who fiercely loved me but did not love herself. Because I truly "saw" her in the everyday, I believe she learned to hate me for it. I felt invisible. The one person I felt "saw" me, my dad, lived 1000 miles away. I longed for his unconditional love throughout my adolescence. Now my dad is gone, and I’m trying to love and protect my mom in ways she didn’t for me. Even more importantly, I’m learning to love myself so my kids truly feel seen and will grow up loving themselves.
Students who thirst for understanding and knowledge. Psychology is particularly fun to teach at California State University Channel Islands, because it requires students to learn about themselves and others in all facets of what's important. Teaching addiction studies, parenting, and psychology courses has helped me heal as I tell stories, like my mom's devastating descent into alcoholism. Each lecture requires me to convey my deep understanding and compassion for those suffering. My twenty-three plus years of clinical practice with kids, teens, and adults provide a deep well of experience for writing and teaching. My directed studies interns allow me the privilege of mentorship and the magic of team learning and support.
What I don’t want you to know about me is…
My kids are going to be discovered acting terribly online, and I’ll lose all credibility. The truth is they probably will act terribly online, and that’s them being teens. Parenting is a never-ending process. I’m not the perfect mother, and they’re not perfect kids.
I’m a single mom. My 21-year marriage ended, because we could not speak each other's love language despite giving it everything we had. The marriage was 16 years of happiness and 5 years of, once again, feeling invisible. Before my divorce I was devastated when my dad and stepmother died and my mom succumbed to dementia in one year. It became crystal clear that life is short; invisible is not how I want to live it.
I’m on Facebook too often for convenient connection even though I know it is a cheap alternative to soaking in the bliss of solitude or the electric fun and comfort of being with the people I love.
When people ask, “How are you?” I too often say, “Too busy.” This is because as a little girl I thought my worth was through productivity. I know better now, but I still love productivity.
My love laughs at me all of the time, because I am always claiming everything and everyone “is my FAVORITE.” I can’t stop doing that, and secretly don’t want to.
I'm an expert at choosing incredible friends. I’m sensitive and have a dark and inappropriate sense of humor. I require safety, love, and devotion from those I choose to reveal myself to, so I choose my besties wisely. Being open online, on stage, and in front of the camera takes a lot of courage for me. At 50, it feels great to be courageous.
I’m not quite where I want to be … and I hope I never am. The journey of discovery is exquisite.
I have so much to share with you about being more in love with your kids, and helping them be more in love with you! But first, we have to face the fact that screens are too compelling. We are on them too much...and our kids are too. Whether you have a toddler or teens (or both), this information applies.
Even if you choose to just check out the facts, you've made a big step toward a closer relationship because of less conflict and more effective, justifiable parenting strategies. But I suspect, as my GKISsers tell me, that you'll naturally glide into better parenting just by learning about the risks and benefits of screen time. Plus you'll have interesting factoids and stats to share at barbecues. You won't believe what some people are up to online. I guarantee you'll learn something. I love knowing more than my teens do about online content, sometimes. They're slick for sure, but I give them a run for their money. Plus, since they know I'm interested, they love to teach me things. Once the conversation starts, it's effortlessly ongoing. You learn while you deepen your cooperation and connection. It's amazing, really.
P.S. If you're looking for a screen-free parenting guide, this isn't it. As a mom of teens and an educator, I believe that our digital natives are picking up genius skills necessary to thrive in today's world. In our house, we love each other and we use our screens. Deprivation isn't necessary ... but balance is. Get your copy today, and please let me know how you like it by leaving an Amazon review.
I'm the mom psychologist who helps you GetKidsInternetSafe.
Onward to more awesome parenting,