Hello everybody, welcome to episode 218 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. Today's question is about kids and screen time.
I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino reminding you before we begin that if you have a question you would like help with on the show, we welcome you to email it to us at advice AT oldpodcast.com
Now we’ve got a great question for you today that’s come in from a listener who is at a crossroads when it comes to raising their children – specifically how much screen time they’re willing to allow their kids to have. Definitely an important thing for parents to consider these days. But what’s really important for us all to consider is just how willing we are to stick to our opinions, whether or not they’re in regards to raising children. Our asker is feeling a bit of that, too, so let’s see what we can do for them. We’re going to hear the question now…
QUESTION: “I’m having a moral crisis. I have two children who I have been very direct with about not spending too much time on their phones, using them for emergencies only. I’ve always felt that they’re taking away from the kid’s childhood and not preparing them for important adult interactions and social skills. I try to model the same behavior, but honestly, I see myself getting more sucked into my own phone over time. I want to set the example and I do believe it’s a good lesson to not encourage much screen time. But I think there are a lot of ways the phone can be more useful than I originally thought. I don’t want to contradict myself, especially about something that could be important. I don’t want to give them an inch and have them take a mile. What should I do?”
Changing Your Mind
Good one! Very good one, asker. Thanks a lot for sending this in. I really like this question. I like it because I also hate screens. But I hate screens just about as much as I hate watching myself or other people be too stuck in their opinions. So where does that leave us?! Well I think there is a pretty clear answer here.
Look, you’ve gotta bend on this one. Can phones be practical beyond emergencies? Yes. But that’s not what this is about. To me, what’s lying beneath and is much more important is the value of changing your mind. I think there are two really great byproducts of being willing to change your mind about things (as long as it’s sensible that is, sometimes your first instinct is right).
Let’s talk about these two byproducts and why they’re important, especially for someone who is raising children.
Showing Flexibility and Gaining Trust
The first thing that being willing to change your mind or admit that you were wrong does is that it shows your flexibility to your followers, supporters, investors, employees, teammates, or kids in your case. When you do this, you gain their trust.
In many cases, they can see where you’re going wrong and not say it out loud. They want you to be accountable for this as soon as you realize it, and you should. They also want a relatable figure. And guess what? Everyone’s wrong on plenty of occasions.
Being led by someone who is unwilling to change course is going to lead to bad things, and many people know this. And if they don’t, they’ll find out once they’re lead there and there goes your credibility and again, that trust that people have in you. They need to trust you.
But there’s a line. You also won’t be trusted if you’re changing your mind constantly. While this might represent open mindedness, it also shows a lack of preparedness, a lack of belief, a lack of endurance and a generally weak spine.
So always do your research and be serious about your values. I can tell you already are, though, so don’t overthink this. You won’t have a problem with it.
Pursuing Goals Aligned With Your Personal Changes
This isn’t all about other people, though. The second thing that being willing to change your mind or admit that you were wrong does is that it helps you to pursue goals that are consistent with your inevitable personal changes (changes you should always be open to in the first place).
Any goal you set for yourself, from becoming a pro athlete to cleaning the house by the end of the day to something as noble as preventing your kids from having too much screen time, is better changed or ditched entirely if you no longer fully believe in it or if other variables that can’t be ignored have entered the picture.
What isn’t a noble goal is to stick something out just to have a sense of completion, to make a point, because you’ve already invested a lot of blood, sweat, tears and rhetoric into it, or if you’re really acting stupid, to prove that you’re not a quitter.
Phones Evolve, and So Can Your Opinion
If you don’t believe me, look back into your past or the pasts of others. What unexpected changes that you’ve followed have gone well for you? What kind of things did you admittedly stick with too long out of stubbornness? Certainly there are plenty of examples, because we all have plenty of examples.
The only exception would be someone who took a chance in a scenario that they couldn’t have had many answers to in the first place. And maybe some people gave up on things too early and it didn’t go well for them, but that’s what I mean about being educated and mindful in your decisions.
That way, when a change of opinion shows up, you can trust it, as it doesn’t happen too frequently or too infrequently.
And that would be you. You’re right, kids should be on their phones less. You’re also right in that there’s some flexion and that it’s not totally necessary to remove their phones altogether.
Phones keep evolving, and thus, so should your opinion about them, which it has. Follow that instinct, continue to manage their phone time accordingly, and continue to learn.
Thanks again to the asker for sending this in, sparking a good conversation and for being a great parent. There seem to be a lot of those that submit to this show. Consider today’s episode in your own lives, everyone. It hurts to let go of ideas and goals sometimes.
We put a lot into them, those around us or those we’ve been raised by have similar beliefs, we’re scared of the unknown, etc. This reluctance is natural, but it’s ultimately the avoidance of change and progress, and those things aren’t going to wait up for you. Resisting them is going to leave you behind.
So if someone tells you you’re being stubborn or if you see that a lot of other people are moving in a direction, maybe they’re wrong, but they’re still worth paying attention to. Something to keep in mind.
Ending on that note, though. Thanks for the support as always, everyone. Love being here and helping you guys to the best of my ability. Be sure to come on back for the next episode where we’ll do it all over again. I’ll talk to you soon.