Jackie Gingrich Cushman

As middle school parents, my husband Jimmy and I often talk about the boundaries that we have set for our children. No TV or computers in their bedrooms, only in family rooms, no Facebook, Instagram or other online accounts, frequent checking of texts sent and received, online tracking of phones, nightly charging in the kitchen and frequent conversations about the potential dangers of online activity.

Possibly my background has made me a bit more wary than the average person. My father has been in the news and newspaper since before I was my youngest child's age. Often the stories circulated were false, and I learned early on that my best defense was a bright smile and a thick skin.

The 2012 Republican Primary provided the same opportunity for my children. One of my favorite memories from the race happened about two years ago. I was picking up our then 6th grader from school. When I asked her how her day was, she replied that it was fine, but there was a lot of middle school drama. She continued, saying that since her family was tied up in national drama, she was going to ignore the middle school drama.

Wise words from a then-12-year-old.

There is always the potential for drama in life, whether it's middle school or other areas. It's important that we not only set limits and examples for our children, but for ourselves as well. In our ever-connected world, in order to disconnect from the online world and connect with those that are physically near us, we have to make a concerted effort.

It's important to set limits, provide structure and a safe place to unwind and relax -- both for ourselves and our children.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.


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