On the 2nd podcast during our tech themed convos month, I coach Mastermind mom, Anne, on her concerns about her 8-year old son’s video gaming. She felt guilty about the hours he was spending on his game because it was a convenient way to keep him occupied while she got her work done…I think many of us can relate to feeling guilty that we’ve used screens at one time or another as an electronic babysitter for our kids. I know I can.
We talk about guilt and why we tend to put our heads in the sand and not deal when we feel like we’re being lazy parents. I role play with her the productive conversation around establishing boundaries and consequences to regain technology balance in her home. I think you guys will find the episode extremely practical and relatable. Enjoy!
As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!
About Randi Rubenstein
Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.
She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.
At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.
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My name’s Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast at Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them.
They’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode one 46. Well, hi guys, how have you been this month? I’m on the second podcast episode of our Tech themed conversation month. I’m going to coach Mastermind, Mom, Annie. I talked about this a little bit on the last episode, but this is just a clip of me coaching her. And it was really around, she had some concerns about her eight year old son’s video gaming. And so he turned out that she felt guilty about the hours he was spending on his game, because really she was like, you know, she was like, you know, I’m not really keeping track of it.
1 (1m 0s):
And it’s kind of turning into longer than I know it should be. And we have sort of fallen into some bad habits and I’m, and she was feeling guilty because she felt like she was like, she was willing to be really honest. And she said, you know, what’s a convenient way to keep them occupied while I get my work done. And so sometimes I have a afternoon meeting and, you know, I try to, for the most part be done by the afternoon to be with the kids. But sometimes I have a, a hell of a company meeting that I have to attend and I’m working from home. So it’s just an easy way that I know. I mean, look, we know when I was playing a video game and the other is watching a show, you know, they’re not going to fight, you know, it’s not going to, there’s not going to be background noise.
1 (1m 47s):
It’s going to make you feel self-conscious or unprofessional. And I think many of us can relate to feeling guilty that maybe we’ve used screens at one time or another as an electronic babysitter for our kids. I mean, I know I can. I know I can. And it was a shame source for me. Like, I, I literally just recently started admitting it to my daughter when she asks me like, you know, such and such a movie. We watched that a million times when I was little and I’m like, no, I didn’t. She was like, how did you never see that movie? It’s so good. How did she never see it? We watched so many times. I’m like, because that’s what I was using as my babysitter, when y’all were watching it, I was taken time for me.
1 (2m 31s):
And she was like, Oh, like, it didn’t even occur to her, but I was, you know, I, I, it was hard for me to even say that out loud. And it’s funny. It is true that once you talk about something that is a shame source, it’s like Renee Brown says, shame can only survive where they’re secrecy. And so even sometimes just saying things out loud and just owning it, like, yeah, you know, this like, like not proud of it. I’m a, I’m an imperfect human, here’s the deal. Even just speaking it out loud, it’s amazing how that shame just sort of dissipates and it gets easier and easier. So in this episode, me and Annie, we talk about guilt and why we tend to put our heads in the sand and not deal.
1 (3m 16s):
When we feel like we’re being lazy. Parents are something that we feel guilty about. And I then role play with her, the PRODUCTIVE conversation around, you know, establishing boundaries and consequences to Regaine technology balance in her home. And that really is my, you know, it’s like we can fall off the horse. Like we don’t have to be perfect all the time. It sort of like I was listening to a podcast recently with, with Kelly Slater. Who’s like the greatest surfer of all time. He’s amazing. He’s 48 years old and still competing against 22 years old, 22 year olds.
1 (3m 58s):
And like, he’s, I he’s, he’s just This, I dunno, this model for how to age in a way that, like, you don’t have to be a decrepit invalid. And so many of us that are middle-age, we like to listen to podcast like this because we want to, it’s sort of like the fountain of youth, like what’s Kelly Slater doing I’ll have what he’s having. And even he admitted that, like, he was like, I don’t love working out. Like I will fall off the wagon. He was like, I just started training again because I had like two months of not exercising much or not training much. And I’m in the Podcast. The interviewer was like, well, tell me what it looks like when you get back on.
1 (4m 39s):
And he was like, well, it looks like I start to, to do my training and I’m sore his shit. And I have to take the time to get a ton of sleep. And I have to do these long baths with Epsom salts and detox and, you know, and it was interesting to hear about it. But the bottom line is, is even Kelly Slater, this like super human athlete. Like he falls off the wagon and then it gets back on and he leans into the hard, and he gets his body back in tip top shape. Well, it’s the same thing. Like we may have rules and parameters in place around something like technology. And then we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic and all the different issues that ha keep popping up.
1 (5m 24s):
It’s like one thing after another, and it’s over, it’s a long period of time and we’re just sort of trying to make it through. And so we had, you know, like Annie, she had the technology thing dialed in pretty well. And now she finds herself like kind of falling off the wagon and she was feeling guilty. Like, I know better. I know this is because I’m being lazy because it’s convenient to let him play video games and I can finish my Workday, you know? So when we feel guilty, we put our head in the sand and then we know it was just like not dealing. And so we were, you know, I said, you know, look that guilt, like, can we just have some grace for yourself here?
1 (6m 8s):
And, and let’s talk about what the PRODUCTIVE conversation is going to look like when, when an, if you’re ready to go, you know, reign this in. So I think you guys are going to find this episode extremely practical and relatable, and I hope you get some great, great tips from it. So Enjoy,
2 (6m 27s):
I’m having a trouble with a Hunter and fortnight, which, you know, we’ve sent the things in place for doing all the things that I’m really bad about. I feel like working and then, you know, implementing the consequences because it’s convenient for me that he’s occupied. Like I know of a problem. I just don’t know that I want to fix it because it creates a different problem, but that’s something that I’m struggling with. All the staff that, okay,
1 (6m 58s):
That’s a good, I mean, it’s so funny because I, I had secret guilt for years of age. I don’t think I was present enough. Like I put, like I let movies will shows and movies, the television be the electronic babysitter. And, and I had guilt around that because secretly, even though I was doing all of these other things that looked so different from the way I grew up, you know, me and my, me and my brother, like we literally were raised by 1970s TV. So, I mean, like there was nobody who knows 1970s sitcom and eighties sitcom trivia better than the pain.
1 (7m 46s):
And so, and so I had major secret guilt of, I look like I’m doing it all so differently, but I know that secretly I’m using the TV as an electronic babysitter. And I didn’t even want to admit it to myself. And very recently, cause Avery, even at 19, she still loves lots of, she loves movies and she loves Disney movies. She loves like, she loves animation. She loves all kinds of movies. And so she was saying like, Oh, we need to watch how To, she goes, I really want to rewatch how to train my dragon or something like that. And I know she was like, do you know that scene? And I was like, no, I don’t know that scene. She was like, how do you not know that scene?
1 (8m 27s):
And I was like, just because you watched it 25 times, I said I was using it as my electronic babysitter. So I wasn’t watching it. That was like my time for me to like, I feel like regain my sanity. So I’ve sort of just started owning it. And, and, and, and really this does go into my mastery because my thought in my head is that I’ve come to, you know, I, the original sentence would have been, I’m repeating the I’m a lazy parent, you know, because that was my whole thing. I wasn’t going to be a lazy parent and stick my kids in front of the TV.
1 (9m 8s):
And so my sentence was, I’m a lazy parent who would like stop bullshitting yourself. You’re a lazy parent, look what you’ve done. Right. And, and, and I changed the sentence, I think to, you know, I am not a lazy parent and the evidence is, you know what, I’m not yelling at my kids and I need it, that electronic stuff babysitter at that time, I was raising a strong-willed kid. He was quite often unleashing on his younger sister. And when they were watching a movie together, as I see now, like watching Grey’s anatomy with my daughter, it can be very bonding and connecting
2 (9m 50s):
To you want me in Fortnite, super bonding with his friends. He doesn’t get to see them socially, or, you know, it’s just a weird time. So I really, and he, he plays with my brother, which they don’t really have much of a relationship. My brother lives in Florida and they play all the time. And I think it’s great that they have this way to connect. It just gets out of control because it’s like four hours in and I’m like, right. Then you feel super guilty.
1 (10m 14s):
Right. And so, and so, and so it was, you know, where I got into a place where I’ve been able to start owning it is, you know, what that electronic babysitter was. My sanity, maybe that is the thing that helped me to have the patience at other times, that electronic babysitter also allowed an experience to happen between two siblings that fought quite often, they were sharing a moment that we’re sharing an experience. They were sharing size and laugh, you know, laughing and gasps and all of those things. And so it happened and, and maybe in theory, it would have been better if we were playing with wooden blocks as a family, you know, in the fresh air having constant learning experiences.
1 (11m 2s):
But that wasn’t our, that wasn’t our reality. Okay. So it was when it was, so what I’ll say is, is like you’ve already gone to a place of starting to see, you know, like were in a special time where in a pandemic, you are also working from home, you know, that your work is serving you and helping you on my, or tell me if I’m wrong. Right. Like to be a better version of yourself, it’s a lump it, all of the thing’s okay. He is also, you know, Fortnite, is it serving as a social outlet for him? It’s also a way that he’s even bonding with his uncle and staying connected.
1 (11m 44s):
So there are a total positives to that. And so maybe it’s more about re-evaluating what the rules are, what the time limits are and revising some things so that you can maybe give him a little bit more time and more structure. So you don’t have to, you know, feel guilty about it, but it also doesn’t become out of control and all of a sudden become four hours.
2 (12m 15s):
Yeah. Yeah. You know, I know I posted about his new blinking, a nervous tick, which I suspect is from To way too much screen time, maybe combined with some lack of sleep. He told me that at night, I was like, why? I say I have to go past 10 o’clock every night. So I’m like, okay. So it was like, I left the room at eight 30 for liquid, are you doing it for an hour and a half? He’s like, I just read my, okay. So,
1 (12m 41s):
So, so the here’s the thing, when we feel guilt, this is why I say, and this is where I kind of, I think I differ from what I’ve heard. Bernay Brown say about guilt. When we feel guilty about something she says, she explains that shame and guilt are two very different things. That guilt can be PRODUCTIVE. But I actually think that guilt when we feel guilty, I think that quite often, our response to feeling guilty is to put our head in the sand and then allow, because we just don’t want to face things. It feels so guilty. And then before we know it, where it could have been, you know, two and a half or three hours max on Fortnite, you know, that we teach him how to manage.
1 (13m 28s):
He can, you know, maybe it’s that he can’t do it all in one block. Maybe its that he needs to have a 30 minute break and we have to monitor it for, you know, two weeks to make sure that we solidify it as a new thing in a new pattern. And its that he gets to have three hours of screen time a day, but it can’t be three consecutive hours. But I think that’s true. Right? So we have some new structures and we’re and we’re problem solving it. We’re working through it. So if we’re sitting in guilt before we know it, it just becomes four hours and then it become, he has device’s in the room and he says he is reading and now he says
2 (14m 7s):
It doesn’t have his device. Isn’t in the room is with me. But I do think he’s reading. He’s just like, I can’t fall asleep at night. And I’m like, probably because we were playing Fortnite for three hours, you know? Like, like you said, that it hadn’t been at the end was totally what I’m doing. I’m just like, it’s just, I don’t know what else to do right now. I try to get the sitters here. They can’t get here. Like I’m just trying to make it work.
1 (14m 27s):
Okay. So what this, so this is perfect. So, so I think, did we change your sentence, the guilty feeling of the sentence because you already found evidence. He is using it to socially connect. He is bonding with his uncle. I’m like I put my head in the sand because I was feeling guilty, like understanding why has become what it’s become. But like now in terms of like understanding, having some grace for yourself and being ready to kind of move into problem solving, do you feel like you’re kind of in a better head space to start doing that?
2 (15m 7s):
Yeah. Yeah. I just at times get lazy or like, because I was just like, I don’t want to do what I need to do because we know it’s hard. Right? So there’s no other excuse. I know what I need to do. I just, it’s just hard. It’s harder.
1 (15m 27s):
Well, what’s harder. Is it harder to, I mean, you’re an upholder, which makes you, you know, making changes is not as hard for you. I’m going to do, I’m going to disagree with you. That it’s hard because when you are an upholder and for anybody who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, it’s about the four tendencies and how You, how we meet expectations. And so if you don’t know where the four tendencies is, look up Gretchen Rubin, but as an upholder, like you can create change, you know, fairly easily because you are willing to lean into the hard to meet those expectations.
1 (16m 7s):
So I’m just going to fast track it to, if you sit down and have a conversation with him and where you all collect, how much time, you know, so it becomes for hours and in your body, I think has been telling us with you. No, I think your body, just the fact that it’s hard to settle down, even when you’re reading for an hour and a half, it’s hard to settle down because it’s so stimulating to your brain because you know, do you, you know, I dunno if you know that history of Fortnite that actually, you know, that they used to use that, you know, the, the mechanics of that game to train people in the actual military to have your senses on high alert, somebody can jump out at any time.
1 (16m 54s):
So you’ve got to like hone in on all the senses. And so your, your body, your nervous system in your brain, everything’s super stimulated and it’s hard to come down from that. And so I’m like, don’t worry. I’m not taking away fortnight. I get it. Like it’s, I think there’s a lot of positives that you’re experiencing the mind getting this, right? Like there’s a lot of the time
2 (17m 17s):
And we’ve had this conversation he’s totally on board. He just, as you know, it was addictive. So when it’s time to put it down, that’s when I and met with a lot of resistance, he’s like, well, one more game. Let me just play this game on and on. And then like, you know, that’s the whole thing. And I’m like, if we have to argue about it, it’s gone tomorrow. And then we argue about it. So then it’s gone tomorrow. And then the next day it’s fine. Fine. And that it’s not a battle. Like he knows he accepts the consequences, but, and then
1 (17m 45s):
We’re not spending our time on the skill building piece. The skill piece is where we teach him where we put something in place. Like we have the conversation, you know, we see his perspective, you know, he’s loving it. And it’s hard to settle down at night because your, all your spidey senses our on high alert, which was sort of a good thing, you know? So that tried to use that training and the military for a reason, you know? So we were honing some things, but when it, when it compromises your sleep, I think we agree that like it’s frustrating when you’re laying there and you’re like, why is my brain not tired? My body’s tired. My brain is not tired. Like, it’s super frustrating.
1 (18m 27s):
So, you know, so you had the conversation, you, you see it from his perspective, he’s in his thinking brain because your not saying anything yet about, and when it’s time to turn it off, when I met with resistance and that’s why we have these consequences on blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like we want to keep him in his thinking brain. When we go to collaborate and we come to the place of something like three hours a day were in a pandemic, it’s a special circumstances. You’re not getting to socialize. Like we normally do your home a lot more, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know? So three hours a day or on the weekends this much time and on the weekdays. But let’s talk about it.
1 (19m 7s):
If it’s compromising your sleep, what time do you think? So remember that we would get to the problem. So I have a Part. What and how the questions, what time do you think would be a good shut off time? It’s not going to get in the way of your sleep to your body has a chance to kind of reregulate and calm down before you lay down. What do you think makes sense as a shut off time? And so when we start to, you know, let him add to the equation, what makes sense to you? What time? Okay, so let’s talk about three hours all at, once your body on high alert, like you’re in the military three hours all at once.
1 (19m 48s):
It was a lot. So lets let’s talk about it. So how should we split that, those three hours of what makes sense to you and how much time do you think you should have in between sessions? You know, and so he’s collaborating, y’all are coming up with this. This is the way a productive conversation is truly PRODUCTIVE because he’s adding to it. And he was like, I don’t know, what do you think? Or you know, whatever. And you’re like, Oh, and if he’s like five minutes, we were like five minutes for your body to totally calm down. I just don’t think that’s realistic. I mean, we could do a little research on it, but I don’t, you know, I don’t think that that’s enough time for your body. So I don’t know what it is.
1 (20m 28s):
And so y’all are coming up with this. Okay, whatever system y’all come up with, you’re going to say, okay, these are a lot of like details, lets get in and writing, he’s doing the writing. He writes fortnight rules. He writes it down. Once it is written down a few of the kid old enough that they can, you can have a productive conversation and make it right. It down when it’s written down, it becomes the law. There’s something about it, right? It’s like, it’s like a contractor. So can you write that down? And you’re like, okay, I feel better about this. Now let’s talk about when you have a human moment and Mom I’m, you know, on a work call and I’m not checking in with you in policing.
1 (21m 17s):
You are and constantly, cause I’ve got my own thing going on over there. Okay. So you have a human moment. We know every time you are on Fortnite, the rule is the oven. Timer is counting down, you know, just so I can Check. So I see you on Fortnite and I go over to the oven timer and it’s not counting down because it’s already gone off or it’s beeping and you’re ignoring it because you’re in the middle of the game and it’s so exciting and you just can’t get up. What then? What will, what will the consequence be to help your brain remember why these, these parameters are so important?
2 (21m 56s):
Okay. Because when I asked him that question or not that question, but we were talking about at the time when I was at fault, because what am I just some super genius that just knows when an hour or so. Don’t think it’s called the timer. We use it all the time. I was just funny as a response, right?
1 (22m 16s):
Because he sees he’s he’s crafty. He is. And you’re like, yeah. And you’re a human and your boy with a developing brain. And I’m telling you there, chances are, you may be that person, but chances are, there’s going to be time for you to lose track of time and where your hands right and so on. And so we’re just going to put this in place just to keep your brain healthy as you love Fortnite. And we want to keep it in check. It’s like with anything. Okay. If I have all we ate was ice cream and sweets and zero vegetables and fruit or protein at any time. Like we wouldn’t be the healthiest people. We just have to keep it in check. So this is what, you know, a productive conversation around technology.
1 (22m 58s):
And, and, and if it doesn’t work, if it’s like, okay, two weeks go by and every day, you know, he’s it, it’s still a battle. He’s still arguing it. Then you know, you have to go back and revisit it and tighten it up more and it may have to be off the table for a while. Yeah. You know? And so Ben you’ll know that you have to keep tweaking and changing and tightening it up. But the interesting thing is, is when we have these PRODUCTIVE conversations, especially around technology, right? The more we do it, the more I remember to say, the more that I remember to say, and it’s a prop like technology, like you always end up with this.
1 (23m 48s):
Remember technology is a privilege, not a right. So if it becomes a problem, constant arguing, just one more game. I can’t book it, keeping you up at night refusing to turn it off. We’re arguing about it. It’s stressing us out. It is stressing me out. It becomes a problem. Its off the table for two days, 48 hours detox. Does that make sense? Got it. That’s the deal. It can not be a problem. So if it becomes a problem becomes we’re arguing because we’re battling because you’re refusing to follow This, these written rules, then its off the table for 48 hours.
1 (24m 38s):
And he’s going to hear that so that when you have to actually implement that, it will not be in the heat of the moment or the first time he hears it.
0 (24m 48s):
Thanks for listening guys. I’m so grateful to Tara and Annie for letting me share their real mom’s stories with all of your listeners this month. I mean, can’t, you guys relate so much with Annie and using screens as an electronic babysitter. I mean, I don’t know if that’s just me projecting, but that has been a guilt source and a shame source, frankly, for me over the years. And I really want your main takeaway from this episode to be, to drop the guilt, have some grace for yourself and decide to have a productive conversation with your kid, with your kids to begin regaining some balance around technology.
0 (25m 28s):
If you feel mired down in that guilt, right? Like that’s just a sign that something needs to shift. That’s all. And if you hear that whisper and you want to make the shift, like that’s, what’s going to release the shame and then you don’t have to feel paralyzed, right. Which causes you to make zero shifts and just put your head in the sand. And then you just, before you know it, the guilt is back and the guilt is back and it just, it sucks to live in that state. So you can get back on the horse, you can begin again and you can decide what’s not working and causing you stress.
0 (26m 11s):
Like you can take the time and say, okay, I know this is an issue. I don’t feel like thinking about it. I don’t feel like dealing with it, but maybe I need to, because I’m a sort of, it’s sort of continuing to expand and become more and more and more out of control. It’s affecting maybe like Annie sun, you know, it’s affecting my kids sleep. There is a real side effect. And I know there is right. We’re having a lot of power struggles. We’re not feeling particularly connected. Right. And, and, and so, you know, if you know that it’s become an issue, like your child’s nervous system is super overstimulated from all of the video games or having a hard time, they’re taking all of that overstimulation out on the rest of the family, it’s causing you guys to feel like you’re sort of walking on eggshells around them.
0 (27m 8s):
And then, you know, Hey, I’m not alone here. Like there was a whole Podcast made for people like me. So there must be a lot of people out there struggling with the way, same issue. And if nothing else just know Annie struggling and with it and Randi struggling with it, right? So this month I get it, which in this last, On the last podcast episode, we have unlocked our ebook that we normally have in our private membership. It’s an, e-book called Keep Tech in Check Part. I wrote it and it gives you all kinds of practical tips and tools and contracts and a family meeting example.
0 (27m 50s):
And it’s just a plan to help you figure out how much time would be right for your family, how to Institute the boundaries, what the boundaries should look like. If you were to put it in writing, what would be an example of a contract, or maybe you just want to print out the examples that we have there. So, so it fits. If you feel like this might be your thing and this could be really helpful, then please do that bloated, except this gift. It’s just go to Mastermind, Parenting dot com for slash Tech Check that’s Mastermind, Parenting dot com for slash Tech Check Tech with a C H T E C H C H E C K.
0 (28m 34s):
And the length will also be in the show notes. Okay. You have a good one.