Parenting the iGeneration

The ICS Parents' Association hosted a workshop to help parents address the challenges faced by children in today's digital age.

Parenting the iGeneration

Challenging. Overwhelming. Helpful. Addicting. Intrusive. Exciting.These were the words parents used to describe digital technology. And so kicked off a workshop led by renowned educator and trainer Joy Marchese of the Positive Discipline UK organization. The ICS Parents' Association sponsored the workshop after hearing from parents that digital issues were some of their biggest challenges at home. ICS parents eagerly welcomed the workshop – over 60 participants braved wintry weather to listen and share their experiences.

Ms Marchese started the morning by describing the love/hate relationship we have with technology. While it allows us to have connections with family and friends in distant locations, it also creates disconnections because we are having less face-to-face time. One of the most important social-emotional skills for children to learn is how to connect and relate to others. But without sufficient in-person contact, they cannot learn the nuance of conversation that comes from hearing tone of voice and seeing body language and facial expressions. Likewise, digital communications results in them not seeing the impact of their words on another person. For example, they cannot tell if a written "sorry" is meant sarcastically or sincerely. And when they're the ones texting a sincere "sorry", they may not know if the reader misinterprets it as sarcastic.

Ms Marchese proceeded to give parents helpful tips for managing digital technology at home. She used the framework of Positive Discipline, a parenting style that focuses on ensuring that a child feels connected with and important to the family. It also makes a clear distinction between the concepts of punishment and discipline. Punishment results in children "paying for mistakes." Discipline, however, allows children to learn from mistakes.

The workshop concluded with Ms Marchese coaching parents on how to establish some policies for digital devices in their household. It is a style that is highly collaborative with the children and values their input and proposed solutions.

Part two of this workshop will occur on Tuesday 20 March. Even those who could not attend the first part will still find it useful and are encouraged to attend. More information can be found in the ICS Bulletin; parents are encouraged to RSVP if they plan on attending.

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