All that screen time is damaging my kids. How do I wean them off their devices? Ask Lisi


QMy children are always on their devices. Yes, we have basic house rules, but they’re teenagers. No phones before they leave for school, at the dinner table, or in their bedrooms after 11 p.m. That still leaves an abundance of hours that they can be on their devices.

I actually thought their high school had a “no phones in the classroom” rule, similar to their elementary and middle schools. But apparently, I am wrong. There are no rules whatsoever regarding their phones.

Besides the obvious problem with all that technology, staring at a tiny screen all day, and filling their brains with garbage, I’m actually seeing their posture change. I’m constantly saying, “sit up straight, shoulders back, chin up.” They react appropriately, but two minutes later, they’re slouching, bent-necked.

What do I do?

Ancient Parent

ALook up “tech-neck” and show them what you find. Symptoms can be headaches, neck pain, double chins (you’re probably not seeing that yet) and deep wrinkles. The latter will show up later, the way sun damage shows up.

Teach your children the benefits of exercise, hydration and moderation, along with better positioning on phone holding. Exercise and hydration will counter the effects of tech-neck by loosening the muscles in your shoulders and neck, and replenishing the moisture wicked away by the effects of the blue light emanating off their screens.

Show them how a double chin looks, and what deep neck wrinkles look like. You’re not trying to scare them, just educate them.

Then, pick your battles — but this is one parenting nag I’m willing to continue.

QMy daughter has decided she doesn’t want to have children. She’s 24 and suffers terrible period pains, cramps and migraine headaches. She is the second of our four children. Her older sibling was always very good to her, and she has always been loving and helpful with her younger siblings.

Her mother (my wife) passed away when my daughter was in her late teens. She was devastated, as were we all. It was and still is a huge loss for our family. But I am so grateful that I can see and hear my wife in our children. They all have so many of her physical features and personality attributes.

I don’t know why my daughter feels the way she does, but it breaks my heart knowing she won’t ever feel the love that a parent has for their child, and she won’t be continuing her mother’s legacy in her offspring.

I also know my wife would be devastated, but I’m trying not to channel that hurt. How do I convince my daughter that she’s making a big mistake?

Devastated Dad

AYou don’t. It’s her body, and her life. If being a mother is not part of her plan, then there is nothing you can do about it. She knows how you feel — you have four children. She knows what parental love feels like because she gets it from you. She’s not making this decision without any experience.

However, she’s young. At 24, lots of women don’t want children. They want to focus on their careers or their life as they know it. The thought of caring for someone else when all you want is to go out dancing until 3 a.m. is completely unimaginable.

Let her grow up a bit more, discover who she really is; she may change her tune. I also suggest you get her some medical help to help ease her monthly discomfort. Since you mentioned it, I assume that’s also one of the reasons she’s uninterested in bearing children.

Of course, there are other ways to become a parent, but I’m surmising she hasn’t thought about all her options.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected] [email protected].


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.


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