Managing Screen Time with Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) Strategies Series of 4; Blog No:4.

As digital technology continues to shape our daily lives, managing screen time has become a significant challenge for many families. Setting boundaries around screen time is essential, but it can often lead to conflicts and stress. Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) strategies, derived from family therapy literature, offer effective ways to manage these boundaries with empathy and respect. This post explores how parents can use NVR strategies to regulate screen time and create a harmonious home environment.

Understanding Non-Violent Resistance (NVR)

Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) is a therapeutic approach developed by Israeli psychologist Haim Omer. It focuses on reducing conflict and increasing parental presence through non-violent means. NVR is particularly effective in addressing issues such as aggression, defiance, and excessive screen time. The core principles of NVR include maintaining a calm and assertive stance, using non-escalation techniques, and enhancing positive communication within the family.

The Challenges of Screen Time

Excessive screen time can lead to various issues, including poor sleep, reduced physical activity, and impaired social interactions. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), setting consistent limits on screen time is crucial for children’s healthy development. However, enforcing these limits can often result in power struggles and resistance from children​.

Applying NVR Strategies to Manage Screen Time

1. Stay Calm and Assertive

Maintaining a calm and assertive demeanor is fundamental in NVR. When addressing screen time issues, it’s essential to avoid shouting or punitive measures, which can escalate conflicts. Instead, approach the situation with a calm and firm attitude.

Example: If your child refuses to turn off their device, calmly reiterate the agreed-upon rules without raising your voice. “We agreed that screens would be off at 8 PM. I need you to turn off the device now.”

2. Announce Your Presence

NVR encourages parents to increase their presence in their children’s lives in a non-intrusive way. This involves being actively involved and showing interest in their activities without being overbearing.

Example: Spend time with your child during screen-free periods by engaging in shared activities like reading, playing games, or going for a walk. This reinforces your presence and provides alternative sources of entertainment and connection.

3. De-Escalate Conflicts

De-escalation techniques are vital in preventing conflicts from escalating. This involves acknowledging your child’s feelings, staying calm, and avoiding confrontational language.

Example: If your child becomes upset about turning off their device, acknowledge their frustration. “I understand that you’re upset because you want to keep playing. Let’s find a good stopping point, and then we can do something else together.”

4. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can encourage compliance with screen time limits. Praise and reward your child when they adhere to the rules.

Example: If your child turns off their device without fuss, acknowledge their cooperation. “I really appreciate how you turned off the tablet when I asked. Thank you for respecting our screen time rules.”

5. Collaborative Problem Solving

Involve your child in setting screen time rules and finding solutions to conflicts. This collaborative approach increases their sense of ownership and responsibility.

Example: Sit down with your child and discuss why screen time limits are important. Together, create a schedule that includes agreed-upon screen time and screen-free activities.

Recent Literature on NVR and Screen Time

Recent studies have highlighted the effectiveness of NVR in managing various behavioural issues, including screen time. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Family Therapy found that NVR strategies significantly reduced conflict and improved family relationships when applied to screen time management​ . Additionally, research in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Behaviour supports the use of NVR techniques to foster a supportive and non-confrontational home environment .


Managing screen time is a common challenge for many families, but with the application of Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) strategies, it’s possible to create a balanced and harmonious home environment. By staying calm, increasing parental presence, de-escalating conflicts, using positive reinforcement, and involving children in rule-setting, parents can effectively manage screen time without resorting to conflict. For more tips and resources on family wellbeing, visit Calm Together.