#13 - Letting Go of the Story That My Parents Are Not Good with Technology

Using technology was one of the biggest triggers that came up in my relationship with my parents.

Our tensions typically began when my dad is struggling with his computer, tablet, or phone. Something is not working, and he's at the point of desperation.

How I used to respond was not helpful: I'd come in annoyed about his complaining and scold him for not being able to do a seemingly easy task.

This recurring dialogue was one of our most persistent tensions I was determined to heal.

Here are the mistakes I made that I learned to take responsibility for:

  1. I created an environment of shame and fear of technology. My impatient & immature responses reinforced my dad's dread about asking for help when something goes wrong.
  2. I didn't acknowledge his efforts. I learned that my dad puts an extraordinary amount of effort into trying to figure something out before asking me for help. A little verbal affirmation goes a long way to help his self-confidence.
  3. I didn't assume the best in him. It's not that my dad doesn't want to learn; he is very eager despite not having grown up with technology. He's always doing his best. If I lead with compassion and grace, he doesn't feel judged and quickly absorbs what I teach him.

The more I work on my communication with him around this topic, the more he seems to thrive with technology.

I am now consistently surprised by what he's learned by himself, and I couldn't be more proud. I just had to believe in him like he has always believed in me.

Joseph J. Lam
On a mission to help people connect deeply with their parents. | CEO & Co-founder of Parents Are Human (parentsarehuman.com)