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Screens, sugar, and screaming matches


Mark once described himself as a nag. His every evening was spent yelling at his teenage children to eat less junk food and not bring their phones to the dining table. Shouting, threats, punishments – nothing seemed to break their habits and Mark, a single dad, began to dread going home after work.

Key Learnings

After an acrimonious divorce, Mark had come to P.E.T. to find ways to maintain a healthy relationship with his teenagers. While learning about the Behaviour Window, he shared with his peers how frustrated he was with his children’s sugar and screen habits. As the group worked through their real-life scenarios, Mark realised he could Modify the Environment. His kitchen cupboard was always stocked full of junk food. He also realised he could model the healthy behaviours he wanted to see in his children for he often reached for junk food whenever he wanted a snack and frequently attended to phone messages at the table.


Mark comments,

“I switched out the junk food for healthier snacks and made a point of grabbing fruit whenever I wanted a snack and would casually offer my kids fruit at the same time. I also put my phone away during mealtimes and made a point of having more positive conversations at the dining table instead of constantly nagging at them about their food and screen habits. I also used my Active Listening skills, which meant our conversations at the table brought us closer together. The change was gradual, but it definitely worked and I now look forward to our family evenings.”