WHAT DID YOU READ about this morning or hear on the radio on your way into work? These days 9 times out of 10 the answer is just NOT GOOD NEWS. No matter what are personal opinions are about today’s world, politics, and the seemingly continued chaos, the news affects your emotions if you are truly honest with yourself. And more so if you are a parent of a middle schooler or high schooler. Our kids take it all in as much as we do but don’t have the years of experiential living to deal with it.
Studies show that their young minds are getting more and more anxiety ridden and most don’t realize this constant barrage of bad news brings on overwhelming symptoms. We parents are in position to defuse or lighten the emotions of our kids. If you could list the top 4 reasons why our teens and middle schoolers are depressed/anxiety ridden what would that list look like? Anything like this one I researched?
Control of the world around them or no control of their own lives adds to depression and anxiety. Lack of control or too much control affects them. Compared to decades past, today’s social issues, diseases, excess of materialism brings on confusion and the feeling that these impressionable youths have no control over their own lives.
“Come on Dad; let me make up my own mind please. Thank you for your opinion, but I want to try to figure this out on my own. I need to take my time and I will be ready by the time the bus comes. Please!” Maybe you hear the same plea in the mornings before school as your tween decides what clothes to wear or which way “the hair” will look good today.
But if we could be a crumb sitting on their lunchroom cafeteria table, we might hear them ranting and raving about us; their parents. Maybe we might be more help than we realize if we could listen with a discerning ear. “I wish my parents were more……..”.
- Patient- I’m really able to get my routine done before school but I’m my own person. Even though I need a nudge to get going, please don’t nag me just know I am doing my best to get on that bus- after all I don’t want to be embarrassed by being late.
- Let me choose my friends – wish you would ask me more about my friends before you judge them. If you don’t like them it seems like you don’t trust me to choose the ‘right friends’. Trust me to make mistakes as I pick and choose – stay open minded but if you still think they are bad to me, please, I need your gentle guidance showing me sound choices and also on my side.
Summertime for tweens is a time of freedom, to re-group and take some time off from school. Close friends are always available with just a phone call away or an invite to spend the night, unless that close friend moves away. Summer has lots of fun but also brings families to relocate due to job transfers and a host of other reasons.
But our tween’s do not take their relationships casually. They take them deeply! Buddies and BFF’s are a large part of their development. Most people do not like the adjustments that come with moving, but tweens are devastated emotionally when it involves them.
No matter the personality of your child; shy or gregarious, they all have the same emotions. Having a BFF or a close buddy or two to share their ups and downs and great dreams is powerful security. Many times, family issues bring the unknown or insecurity for tweens, as they do us- so having close friendships with the same interests naturally brings security and safety emotionally. God gives them friends to be their anchor when rough times come at school, with school work, with siblings, loss of a pet, loss of a family member and a just a safe place of coping.
Helping our tweens through the storms of life such as friends moving or our own tween moving, can be a great way once again for us as parents and grandparents to show them they can lean into us and God.
One of the hardest things we as parents will do is helping our tween say good-bye. Continue reading
I I really don’t like to go to dentists appointments- I don’t think anyone does unless their tooth is in horrific pain! But a few weeks ago while sitting in the waiting area I couldn’t help but feel so sad for this person across the room. I could see the tiredness in her eyes as she adjusted the earbuds in her ears to take a call. Her laptop was opened on her lap but she was overwhelmed as she talked on her pink cell phone about some report she had messed up- how could that be since spending two weeks on I heard her remind the caller. “I don’t know what to do now, because I have a meeting with Mr. Taylor tomorrow and this Saturday are team finals!” Listening and listening again she was quiet and then reassuringly said just before she disconnected, “OK, mom, dad is about to pick me up- I’ll see you tomorrow after your flight gets in.” This was a child; about 11 years old I guessed.
Today’s kids are growing up too fast and with so much responsibility in their young lives! I don’t mean that I am old fashion, but it is true. Does this describe your child? Tweens are blending in with teenagers and their minds are no different when it comes to social and what is expected of them from teachers, peers, coaches, and their families! Yup. Tweens are 8-12 years old! Remember the days when you were that age? What has happened to cause this jog toward adulthood?
How about PRESURE? We all had pressure as tweens. But today’s world is changing faster than ever before. Pressure from society’s changing landscape, technology, the marketplace and its cultural changes, school pressure, and parents make our tweens into what they are today. Continue reading
What our tweens wear to school tops their MOST IMPORTANT list of “how not be embarrassed”. Have you ever experienced the old “toilet-paper-getting –stuck-to-your- heel just after using the restroom in a board meeting? Or how about the time you gave your power-point presentation with your fly open or your blouse buttons popped off?
It all comes down to what is important at the time or the season or phase of life. Our preteen or tween has immense insecurities about fitting in or being a part of the pack. They would rather die than wear something that NO BODY ever wears to school!
Could the more pertinent issue be: how much do we spend on this tug-of-war with our tween’s or does it even need to be a war? Giving too much attention to what they can and can’t wear may bring less attention from what really matters in middle school- good grades. So the question haunts our brains as we stare at our daughter’s choice of skirts and too much skin showing or our son’s strange way to wear his pants:
At what point does a new law need to be written on their foreheads about their choice of clothes? Continue reading
You just tucked your 11 year old into bed for the 3rd time. Its 10:30 pm. suddenly she is standing on the stairs (once again) – “Mom…Mom! ….please let’s go over that math pre-test again! And I just remembered I’m supposed to have my science project in tomorrow!) You hear frustration in her voice (again) and crying. You go to the staircase and look up to find your daughter sitting and sobbing with her face in her knees.
Help! This is almost a nightly occurrence – how can we get some normalcy around here?! Why did we not recognize these behaviors- they seemed to suddenly become a constant companion to our tween’s personality.
Most of us adults experience stresses that play out in a number of symptoms. Tween’s also experience this stress when loads of schoolwork, after-school activities bring, chores, friends, and homework, all come at them at once.
When our families go through mega life challenges like divorce, extreme illness and loss of a pet or even moving, our tween’s will many times shut down or become depressed. Even summer months that would seem to bring escape from it all can be stressful as our tween looks at their family holidays (leaving pets and friends behind) and meeting new friends at summer camps, from a suddenly new pre-teen mind.
Balancing these real-life add-ons in their lives and sorting them out in priority will bring anxiety down and a sense of control back into their minds.
Symptoms of Tween stress: Continue reading