week, a mother contacted me about her child disobeying her limits with
the home computer and sneaking time beyond her allowed limit.
In this situation, the mother had a need to protect and nurture her
child. She wants to be able to loosely supervise her daughter’s time on
the computer to possibly prevent her from falling prey to adults who
victimize children by finding their victims on the Internet. She also
wants to support her child’s need for physical activity so she
restricts her computer usage and encourage outside physical activities
instead. Is this mother wrong? Absolutely not.
Her daughter, on the other hand, has a desire to be on the computer.
All her friends are on there and want to know why she isn’t. They don’t
have limits while this girl does. This girl is quite accomplished on
the computer and can build website pages for her friends. She also has
a high need for freedom and doesn’t like being restricted and the
computer is plain fun to her. She gets her love & belonging, power,
freedom and fun needs met with the computer. Is she wrong? Absolutely
How does it get resolved? I think the way to resolve this issue is for
the mother and daughter to sit down and talk about what each other
needs and wants in the situation. If the child can convince her mother
that she has the skills and knowledge necessary to protect herself from
predators and she agrees to engage in other healthy activities each
day, then her mother could relax her restriction on the amount of time
she has on the computer.
In this case, and many others like it, the daughter wouldn’t be able to
meet her freedom need with the computer if there wasn’t a rule to
break. Sometimes we create the very behavior we are trying to stop with
the rules we make. When a person has a high need for freedom, they will
inevitably break the rules, particularly the ones they don’t like or
that don’t make sense.
Has that ever happened to you or someone you know?
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