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Connecting with kids

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Are you “being cool” when talking to your kids online?

As parents, we’ve all been there - holding out for a high-five that never comes, getting the eye rolls when we crack a joke, and perhaps the worst of all, facing down a hundred mile stare when we tag our kids in on something we think is cute on social media. Of course, we just want our kids to know we’re trying to bond with them. So how does one do that without any of the groan-worthy reactions? Let’s look at some simple tips.

  • Learn where they live online: Did you know that many teens only use Facebook Messenger because Facebook is where their parents hang out? So take the time to do some investigating and find out which platforms your kids actually use most often.
  • Don’t rush to hang out on every social channel: The key to sounding cool is to know the platform before you try befriend your kids on that platform. You can do this by creating an account and trying it out for a few weeks. Next up, try adding some of your kids’ friends. This may feel a bit like stalking, but think of it more as intelligence gathering.
  • Try not to be embarrassing: For teens, privacy and social image is everything. So while you think tagging them in baby pics is cute, they probably hate the idea. Same goes with that “dad joke” which cracked you up. Chances are they won’t find it funny at all. It’s better to stick to short chats and maybe (if you’ve done some research) respond via GIF.
  • Keep “Parent-speak” for private messaging: For those moments when your parenting voice kicks in after seeing a photo your kids posted or reading a comment they left, don’t rush to talk back in an open forum. Think of it like being at your kids sporting event. You wouldn’t rush on the field to argue, would you? You’d have a conversation from the sidelines during a break. Think of private messaging like the sideline to the online world.
  • Join in the fun where possible: The best way to bond online is to try doing the things your kids do. So whether its snapchat filters, emoji conversations or even online gaming, ask your kids if you can try it out with them. As long as you promise not to be embarrassing, we’re sure they’d love to teach you

The Parenting Place has additional resources on connecting with your kids.

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