Is Your Ex-Spouse Curbing Your Child's Technology Addiction?
When your ex-spouse and you share the physical and legal custody of your child, it is better to agree on a schedule for your child’s activities. For instance, you both can decide at what time your child should go to bed, how much playtime your child should have, how much time your child may watch TV, and so on. This will make it easier for your child to move between his/her two homes. This consistency will also help to promote family unity. However, while most of the time your ex-spouse and you may agree on the rules for your child, sometimes you both may disagree on something. For instance, your ex-spouse may think that providing unlimited screen time to the child may help him/her in the future in terms of getting a job, and you may think that excessive screen time would cause the child to develop digital dementia. Trying to resolve this by putting your foot down may not be the best approach. For one, your ex-spouse may not be willing to listen to you and there is nothing you can do about that. Second, you may just alienate your child by trying to curb his/her screen time.
The calm approach
The best approach to tackle this situation is the calm approach. Just sit with your ex-spouse and discuss the issue. Make him/her understand that the child is getting addicted to the technologies, he/she is spending way too much time on their iPad, smartphone, laptop, and so on. The child may be getting addicted to the Pokemon Go game, and it is putting his/her safety on the line. The video games he/she is playing may be too violent. The child may be much too involved in social media. By having a practical discussion, you both may decide on the best course for your child.
Seek court intervention
If your ex-spouse is not willing to discuss the issue of technology addiction with you, you may seek the intervention of the family court. However, before you take this approach, you have to be absolutely sure that your child is addicted to technology, and it is affecting his/her overall well-being. You may have to prove in the court that your child’s technology addiction is causing him/her to perform poorly in the school or the violent video games are affecting the child’s mental well-being or the Pokemon Go game is putting your child’s safety at risk. Your ex-spouse, of course, would counter all this, he/she would argue that the technology is actually making the child smarter, the video games are helping him/her to bond with the child, and so on. So, unless you have solid proof, do not seek court intervention.
At the end of the day, all you can do is encourage healthy behaviors in your child. Be innovative. Instead of just taking away his/her iPad, let him/her bring it along while going fishing. Slowly, your child may see things your way, and make the best decision for himself/herself.
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Regardless of whether it is mutual or you need to fight for it, a divorce is never going to be easy. There will be tears, broken hearts, devastated families, insecure…