Whether it’s incessant text messaging, Snapchat, or a game app, it’s all the same—today’s modern social media and technology feeds children with constant distractions. These distractions become yet another obstacle in parenting, especially for those raising children with reactive attachment disorder.
Here’s why electronics create great problems for children with RAD and their parents:
- Electronics are more interesting for kids than developing relationships. The most important lesson children with RAD need to learn is how to foster attachments and sincere relationships. Life is already very busy for most families with school, work, therapy sessions, etc. Electronics consume even more time in which children with RAD could spend with others.
- Social media fuels superficial relationships. Again, children with RAD need to work hard to learn how to create authentic and healthy relationships. However, social media only provides more opportunities to present false identities and manipulate relationships.
- Electronics affirm a sense of entitlement. Tired parents understandably need a break from oppositional behaviors. However, to rely upon electronics to get relief only leads to more problems later. Children who were abused or neglected at a young age, right in the midst of important developmental stages, remain “stuck” in their toddler years developmentally (watch the video “How to recognize attachment disorder in your child“). Just like toddlers, they want what they want when they want it. When parents “give in” to electronics after children act out, they only reinforce that sense of entitlement for children with RAD.
- Electronics often lead to more power struggles. Parents of children with RAD feel worn out from constant chaos and arguing from their children as it is. Ironically, the very objects parents often use as leverage for desirable behavior—electronics—often create more battles. Children often rush through chores, homework, etc. when parents rely upon electronic time as an incentive. When parents request that their children return to efficiently complete their tasks, the tantrums and arguing ensues all the more.
To raise children with RAD is extremely difficult and exhausting. Yet, those raising such children are better off finding respite time in ways other than electronics. Until children with RAD and those raising them establish a quality relationship, we recommend that parents forbid or set extremely strict limits on the use of electronics. One day, parents might have the chance to ease limitations and play games with their children to further build an established healthy relationship. Until that day is possible, however, the “electronic babysitter” will only make matters worse.
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