A couple years ago, when our four kids ranged in age from nine to 17, nine-year-old Jamie made a comment that a child in her class had an iPhone. “Jamie, you need to start planning now that you’ll be the last kid in your class to get a phone,” Liam, then 14, said. “Not only will you be the last kid in your class, but most of the kids a few grades younger than you will get phones before you do,” added Jacob, 17. Eleven-year-old Teenasia chimed in, “Yep, only one other girl besides me in the fifth grade doesn’t have her own phone or iPod.” Continue reading
What’s the right age for cell phones, social media, discussions of the facts of life? Send us your stories!
We’d love to hear your experience as parents in navigating these questions with your kids. Please comment below, and please identify yourself by first name and tell us how many children you have.
If your answer is used in At Home with Our Faith, you’ll be identified only by first name and number of children. Thanks for sharing what has worked for you in passing on the faith!
1. Do you have a situation to share about a child who made either a very good or very poor choice with social media or a cell phone? Please note the child’s age.
2. Share a story about your child’s age(s) when you have talked about sexuality with him or her. What did you discuss?
3. At what age should children/teens start volunteering in the community? Share your experience.
Many thanks! We look forward to hearing from you! –the editors of At Home with Our Faith
While driving last week I flipped on the radio to hear two film reviewers debating whether It’s a Wonderful Life qualified as a redemption movie—did George Bailey really change enough? The duo on our local public radio station’s Filmspotting program were pronouncing their top five movies about redemption. These included some creative choices, including the 1938 Angels with Dirty Faces (starring James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, as a gangster and a priest) and On the Waterfront (1954, Marlon Brando at his best).
Also on the list—surprise—was the animated Beauty and the Beast, which caused me to smile goofily all by myself in the car, time-machining me back to a period when our 3-year-old son would listen to that soundtrack two and often three times daily. (You know it’s good music when you don’t secretly throw the CD out of the window and tell the kid it’s “lost.”) Continue reading
Welcome to guest poster Father Robert Barron of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and creator of the Christopher-award-winning documentary series Catholicism, airing on PBS stations. Barron is the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.
It is very difficult indeed to watch the new documentary “Bully” without experiencing both an intense sadness and a feeling of helplessness. The film opens with the heartbreaking ruminations of a father whose son committed suicide after being brutally bullied by his classmates. We hear a number of similar stories throughout the film, and we also are allowed to watch and listen as very real kids are pestered, belittled, mocked, and in some cases, physically assaulted; just because they are; in some sense; different. The most memorable figure in the movie is a young man, around 12, named Alex. He seems to be a good-natured kid, happy in the embrace of his family, but because he’s a bit uncoordinated, geeky, and odd-looking (his brutal nickname is “fishface”), his fellow students mercilessly pick on him. Alex’s daily ride on the school bus is like something out of Dante’s Inferno. Continue reading
If you’re experiencing post-purchase anxiety because the Christmas gift you bought for your child has taken over his or her life, you are not alone. Help your child use your electronic gift as you intended—in moderation.
Keep the handheld in your hands. Decide what level of use seems reasonable—perhaps three times a week for a half hour at a time—and have your child ask to use the device. Keep a record on the fridge of when he plays; when he uses up his time, he has to wait until the next week.
Tame the texting. Perhaps your cell phone gift has confirmed why you were reluctant to buy one for your daughter. The average teen sends more than 3,000 texts per month—about six per hour. While a good communication tool, texting can also interfere with your teen having time alone, concentrating on homework, or being present to the people she is with at the time. Discuss with your teen what place she wants texting to play in her life and what your concerns are, and then develop a plan to have phone-free times of the day.
Get filters and check the history. While you may believe you can trust your son not to go to inappropriate sites on his iPhone or laptop, installing strong filters will protect him in a moment of weakness or from a buddy who wants to show him a porn site when they’re in a hotspot after school.
—by Annemarie Scobey from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2010 and 2011 General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association. Here’s a sample issue.
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Presents are a dime a dozen this time of year. But presence—that’s another matter entirely. The ability of family members to be truly present to one another is under siege—from kids’ over-the-top sports schedules, extracurriculars, sometimes even too-abundant homework. The other culprits sucking up family time, however, are devices we’ve bought and introduced into our children’s lives, often heedless of what we are unleashing. Some true stories:
My friend takes her adolescent daughter and her classmate, Susie, out to breakfast after they served at early Mass one Sunday. Susie slumps throughout the meal, head down, hair drooping over her face. “Wow, she’s so shy,” thinks my friend. Finally she realizes the girl has been texting all during breakfast. Continue reading