As noted in the previous blog, with children showing challenging behaviors causing you tremendous stress, you were encouraged to adopt a mantra helping you remain in  your center, as you speak one “Didja” (e.g., “Didja you do your homework?”) after another.

The mantra  (“They need structure; I need leverage.”) is meant to keep things simple.

Of course, each child and family situation are different, but from what I can tell the leverage with modern kids really comes down to one thing – their screen usage.

Screen access (in whatever form) is the ruling passion, therefore it’s your leverage.

As I note in my soon to be released new book (yay!!!), “Beyond the Power Struggle: A Guide for Parents of Challenging Kids,”  without resorting to punishment you are encouraged to look at your child’s landscape of what they take for granted.

By about nine or ten or so, most kids have easy access to gaming systems, iPads, and many have their own phones.

For those children who are not sustaining mental effort, showing poor time management, ask yourself have they really earned the right to all of those screen distractions.  Are they really supporting your child’s “executive function deficits?”

While they gorge on Fortnite, TikTok or YouTube, and while you are exhausted trying to get your child to complete schoolwork or to do some reading  do you feel that things are out of whack?

My guess is the answer is a resounding, “Yes.”

Look at the family landscape.  What’s the structure?    Is it all one sided toward the child receiving pure pleasure while they give little in return?

Keep repeating, “They need structure! I need leverage.”

Feel free to make comment below.  To receive future blog posts, register your email:

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email –

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2023,