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.
Cell Phones. If you are a parent of a middle school child, perhaps those two words brings a host of emotional responses. Everything from, “I thank God my kid can be safe with a phone now when he/she is not at home” to …. “What in the world is THIS TEXT I see on my daughter’s phone?! Who would send such a horrible text?” Cell phones, like all social media, are a thing that is here to stay and no matter how we may feel about our kids and CELL PHONES, we need to find a clear and resolute standard for our kids to follow and respect.
When asked what is the most important thing you could have if you were stranded on a desert island, what did pre-teen kids say? A Cell phone! More than any other device or thing!!
Cell phones with the texting and the FACETIME can be like having a host of other parent’s kids in your house that you didn’t invite! Suddenly without warning, you are bombarded with another kid or two (depending on how many kids you have with phones) present and carrying on loud chatter at your table! What is a parent to do about this or about any of the ‘rude nesses’ that kids think are “just life and normal”? How about some rules? After all, freedoms without rules is chaos and not what parents want to mirror or consent to.
Identify all people texting your kid. If you don’t have time to check each one, then you are not being a responsible parent. Your kid should expect a loving and protective parent to do such. Being involved is love.
You know that the sweetness of her smile and the kindness of her 11 year old voice won’t last very long because you have experienced being a tween parent now for 3 years. Without skipping a beat she is suddenly screaming and ranting and freaking out about something you are oblivious to and shouting – I hate you! It’s then that you remember you’re a parent of a tween
-She says she screams because you scream–
How can we talk to our tween’s? They tell us we scream or the teachers yell- but many times and most of the time- they are just pulling some random remembrance out of a long time ago moment. You may not even remember. They feel misunderstood because their bodies, minds, and friends all seem to be changing so much of the time! Tween’s live in a state of ‘above the clouds’ or ‘disconnect’. Ask a question or make a comment- you may hear an answer or a garbled ‘uhhh-uhhh’. Living in expectation of them to answer right now will close a conversation attempt before it begins. You may hear in a week or a month the answer but no one- not even them many times, knows what’s inside their minds.
As soon as your face becomes inpatient looking or angry looking- a tween has labeled you as ‘mean’ or ‘not nice’. I try to avoid those looks that will spread across my blown mind, so instead I conditioned myself. My tone needs to be matter-of-fact as I try to establish some form of communication with tween’s. Paying attention to me is my goal so if I blow it with a face look or a tone then it’s a no-go!
What to do what to do-
To get our tween’s to stay connected or open up to us, we need to be open and honest with our own experiences, respond in positive tones when they come around and share what they are concerned with or fearful of, and emphasize how we enjoy his/her sharing. The biggie is sympathizing with his/her feelings by listening and listening again. It’s tough because so often they go on and on about stuff that doesn’t make sense to us. But belittling and brushing-off their feelings is seen as rejection which can have lasting effects. Validating is what we want even with our own spouses so why would it be less with our tweens? To validate doesn’t mean we are in agreement but we are giving them the right to share and own those feelings and emotions. Continue reading