My 18-year-old daughter has “checked out” of life. She quit school in the tenth grade and is continuing her schooling via online courses. She does not have friends and shows no interest in making any. She sleeps most of the day and stays up late reading Internet blogs.
Her father and I were divorced 10 years ago, and she blames most everything on the divorce. I am remarried and have a second child who is 5 years old. My older daughter will have nothing to do with her half-sister and is rude to her.
I have suggested counseling, but she has declined. I have tried to help her get a job, make friends and sign up for more schooling. She lacks social skills and refuses to help around the house. I am afraid for her future.
Your daughter’s online schooling is an unnatural social setting for a teen. Without interaction with her peers, she is missing out on the discussions that teens share about preparing for their future and transitioning into the next phase of life.
At 18, your daughter would typically have a job, be making plans for college, maybe considering entering the military or receiving training to enter the workforce.
She needs responsibilities and chores around the house. Put her in charge of preparing the family’s evening meal once a week. Make the Internet and other electronic communication off-limits for the entire family at a certain time of the day. Help her become more adapted to normal work and school schedules. Have her explore viable job options. Insist that she get this vital experience while you are still supporting her. She cannot wait until she is out on her own and financially responsible for herself.
Your daughter can decline counseling if she can prove that she does not need it. So, let her know what she is required to do to prove her normalcy and if she does not comply, ensure that she attend counseling sessions. This is not optional.
What are some of the pros and cons of Internet access on a child’s phone? My 11-year-old wants to have this access on her phone.
You daughter is at the age where you most likely closely monitor her interactions with others to be sure she is using her interpersonal skills appropriately. You would correct her if she was rude to an adult or unkind to a friend and then teach her more appropriate ways to act. This is necessary for our children to be socially successful throughout their lives.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of children are losing opportunities to practice and enhance these skills due to electronics such as cell phones and iPads. These devices allow them to text and “chat” rather than hold face-to-face conversations with other individuals.
Typically, we recommend that parents who have younger children only consider cell phones if it’s to resolve a safety concern, such as walking home from school alone or remaining at home alone for an extended amount of time. If your daughter needs a cell phone for safety reasons, then a basic phone satisfies this need. The ability to dial and call someone in case of an emergency is all that is necessary. Everything else is a bonus.
Having a cell phone is a huge privilege and is one that is earned through positive behaviors. It is not something that is easily given or just happens at a certain age. If these larger privileges are earned too early or not earned at all, you as a parent are setting the bar low for the next privilege to be asked for. You don’t want her to have nothing left to ask for before she is of driving age.
The Internet can be a very scary place for children. If not monitored carefully, they can access all sorts of inappropriate information and “meet” inappropriate people as well. Even teens should have their Internet access limited. Parents act as filters for outside influences from the media and society for their children. Monitor what she watches on TV, what she reads and what websites she surfs on the Internet.
Your daughter’s age is a consideration when determining whether or not to give her Internet access on her phone. So are the reasons why she wants the Internet. Does she want it for homework purposes? Or does she want it for entertainment or because other kids have it? Is she trustworthy? There is a lot of valuable information on the Web, but there is also a lot of inappropriate information. Consider these points when determining if your daughter is the right age and personality for such a big privilege at this time.
My son is addicted to online educational sites. He will not touch his textbooks because he says everything is available online. How can I convince him that textbook reading is also important?
This is a timely issue. While you may not be able to convince your son that he should read textbooks, you can be aware of a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. It revealed that the more time children spend in front of a screen, the more unhappy they are.
You hopefully have rules and guidelines for the amount of electronic use that occurs in your home. Kids who have free reign with electronics typically overuse them and become less social within their families.
Electronics aside, the fact is that some people like to read books more than others. Some prefer magazines and newspapers and seldom read a book cover to cover. Perhaps your son is one of these people. Limit his screen time and encourage reading printed materials such as a magazine that pertains to his interests.
What is the best filter for the Internet to prevent access to porn? Are any of them free?
You will find some excellent information on the Archdiocese of Omaha’s website at www.archomaha.org. Go to the tab for Safe Environments. The drop-down will show a selection for anti-pornography.