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How to Use Technology to Bond with Your Teen
I know because of late-night infomercials that plenty of adults feel like their kids know more about how to use computers than they do, even if their children are mere toddlers.
The great digital divide! The younger a generation, it seems, the greater its potential to master new technologies! What will the American high school class of 2020 know about how to use computer technology that the class of 2008 will not? Even in those 12 years, expectations will change.
Guess what? This provides a great opportunity to bond with your child!
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Bonding Over Computers?
Allowing your computer illiteracy to come between you and your child would be a ridiculous thing to do; doesn't he spend a great deal of his time on the computer? So why not incorporate yourself into his computer usage?
I know, I know. Most teenagers are not going to want to teach their parents how to word process. Not at first, at least. And don't expect him to teach you how to use MySpace and then have all his friends "add" you; the point is not to invade his space but to ask him into yours.
But remember that, for most of their lives, you have been teaching them: helping with homework, coaching in sports, giving advice. How great for your child to share one of his self-taught skills with you!
How to Approach It
If you have your own computer or laptop, you're going to want to use that. Now, what would be a fun project to complete? If you have a Mac, you could make an iMovie or slideshow and add music to it (if you don't know how to do it, that's the point). If you have a PC, why not design and order a photo book on Shutterfly with pictures from a family vacation and silly captions?
Your teen will know how to do these things, I can almost guarantee. The reason you want to create a fun project is that then, you can learn through trying, and you'll have a final product that you both can be proud of!
Ask, putting the power in your child's hands, if there's a time she could show you how to use the programs to do this project. Be open in letting her know that it would be valuable to you if she could teach you the skill because you'd like to spend that time with her and because you want to share in her wisdom. Teens respond well to compliments.
The point of all this is to become more computer literate and to use it to your advantage that your child probably already is extraordinarily computer literate. Bonding over a shared interest is the best type of bonding there is, I think. And learning a new skill or two isn't bad, either!