Want to know how to engage with your kids about the subject of social media?
I have two words for you, “Be curious.”
Want to know how to do that? My approach is simple and so short it’s smaller than a tweet: “Read less minds, ask more questions.”
So often as parents, we put tremendous pressure on ourselves to guess what our kids are up to. Like CSI detectives we take clues from their lives and try to piece together what we think is really going on in their tiny little heads and hearts.
Instead of investigation though, let’s start with conversation.
I have four questions you can ask your kids.
And because parents are some of the busiest humans on the planet, I’m going to keep this quick and short, knocking out one question per blog post.
Let’s jump right in with the very first question you should ask your kids about social media.
How are you using social media right now?
Start off by just taking a casual, informal survey of what sites or platforms your kids are using. Are they reading blogs? Are they using snapchat? Are they texting? (Remember, social media is bigger than just twitter. It’s any technology that lets you share a piece of your life with someone else.)
When you ask this question, make sure your kid knows there’s not a right or wrong answer. You’re not trying to start a cross examination, you’re trying to start a conversation.
If they’ll share how they’re using social media, ask them what they like about it? Be curious about why they use it. Is it to connect with friends? Is it to learn about new music? Are they expressing a hobby or interest through social media? Do they even use it? There’s a million ways your kids can answer this question, but one thing is for certain, they won’t answer it unless you ask.
If they don’t answer at first and open up a long, meaningful conversation that involves Chamomile tea, you should probably give up and assume you are the worst parent ever.
Or, you can admit to yourself that parenting is a marathon not a sprint. If we’re going to be curious about what our kids care about, we have to be patient.
If you get a grunt response, a “nothing” or a “I’m a toddler, I don’t use social media mom,” that’s OK.
Stay curious, and let your kids know you’re here to help them navigate the ins and outs of growing up in a connected world of social media.
Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of 4 books. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and two daughters. Read more of his work at Acuff.me, StuffChristiansLike.net, or follow him on Twitter @JonAcuff.