Tag Archives: parenting

OMG! My Kid Is Attached To His Mobile Device!


A common complaint of parents these days is how much screen time their kids spend on their mobile devices. Parents, unfortunately, are reluctant to take possession of the devices, for various reasons. But here’s a free app that does the dirty work for you:     OurPact. Have you heard about it?

You sync it with your kids’ device and it basically allows you to turn off some or all apps — it can even block Internet access altogether. I caution parents to resist the temptation to use this as a punishment, but instead use it as part of a positive reinforcement plan.

ourpactlogoThe product review below was in fact solicited and sponsored by OurPact, but I thought it was well-written and provided a good description. Just know that it’s probably a little biased.


It’s too late for my kid (he’s 19 and doesn’t live under my roof anymore), but gosh I would have liked this app a few years ago.  We could have come to an agreement together as a family. He was really into the whole contract thing; he likes knowing what’s expected, having a vested interest in putting the agreement together and all that.

For my two cents’ worth, even though I really like that Family Contract (read the review), I’d make some minor tweaks to #1, #2 and #4:

  1. I agree to comply with the schedule we’ve agreed to, using OurPact. [allows for a more collaborative approach, rather than the parent simply imposing his or her will on the child]
  2. If I find that I need to exceed the daily limits that we’ve defined for me, I promise to have a calm conversation outlining my reasons for needing a time extension, and coming to an agreement about what an appropriate amount of time would be needed to accomplish the tasks at hand. [allows for collaborative problem-solving]
  3. —–
  4. I will never provide personal information (address, school phone number, etc.) online without my parents’ consent because of the danger that could result in doing so. [don’t assume our kids understand the perils]

Another good family media contract with age-appropriate versions is found at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators.

Have fun! And be sure to include your child in on the process.

High School Anxieties

OK, my son is in high school. As an individual on the autism spectrum, his biggest challenges are socialization. But he tries. He tries so very hard. And that does my heart good.

I was touched recently as he reached out to me and shared his fears. At 16-and-a-half, this man-child with facial hair who stands over 6 feet tall, still needs me for something.

I am no longer able to help him with homework—especially math and science. He takes care of himself so much of the time. Aside from the fact that he doesn’t drive yet, he gets by nicely without my constant intervention.

And that’s bittersweet for me, for sure.

But recently he asked for my help, and that was wonderful on several levels. Selfishly, it’s always nice to be needed. But more importantly, I am thrilled that he spoke up and asked for help. As you know, that’s not always the case with our kids. I guess the talk therapy is paying off.

Here’s the story: He joined a new club on campus and was going to his third meeting. He got to the room but his anxiety kept him from opening the door and entering. So he called me. Me! His mom! And he articulated his fears:


Keep your teen talking — if not to you, to someone. Other family members, clergy, counselors, therapists. The more they verbalize their emotions, the less build up there will be. It’s just healthy!

“Mom, I’ve passed by the room a few times, looking in, but, I’m kinda anxious. I don’t think I should go in. I don’t know what to do.”      

I tried to savor that—while also acknowledging his apprehensions but offering assurances and urging him to push through his anxieties. After a brief pep talk, he said he’d give it a shot. Then he hung up.

I must confess, a teeny-tiny small part of me was hoping he’d call right back. Hey, I’m human. And I’m a mom. But a much bigger part of me was relieved when my phone did not ring. And after school his very first words to me were, “I’m so glad I went to the club meeting! It was great! I did it!”

Ahhh, sweet victory! I urged him to recognize the good, happy feeling so he could recall it the next time his anxiety crept up—and use this euphoria as an incentive to push through the angst.

Here endeth the lesson. [My movie-guru son would appreciate this line—it’s a quote from ‘The Untouchables’, the 1987 movie directed by Brian De Palma and written by David Mamet, of course.]