If you are constantly rushing from one place to the next (doctors appointment, haircut, playgroup, music lesson, tennis lesson) have you taken on too much?
Now that kids are back in school and activities, are you noticing that life is too busy? Most of us presume that this is the way it is supposed to be. That we have a never ending ‘to do’ list that keeps us from catching our breath, never mind catching a moment to chat together.
But it costs us. And it costs our kids even more.
Social media, phones and gaming have a huge impact on our children’s lives and in particular their self esteem. Because social media plays such a big part in our children’s lives, they need to slow down in their everyday ‘real’ life. Their virtual world does not appreciate time; everything is in the ‘now’. Immediate. Fast.
This is not how the ‘real’ world should be. Our kids need to appreciate down time, boredom, chilling out (without planned play dates) being comfortable in their own company, getting to know themselves. This is a huge part of their development and one we need to be very aware of with this generation.
Your child’s brain is being built every day, and the shape it takes depends on his daily experience. Some neurologists hypothesize that reinforcing neural pathways (their experiences) in a daily context of stress creates a brain with a life-long tendency to anxiety. Do not underestimate the effect of this on your growing teenager/young adult. Anxiety is one of the growing issues with teenagers and young adults and has huge consequences.
Rushing kids around increases the levels of stress hormones in kids’ bodies, which contributes to crankiness, difficulty falling asleep and immune suppression. Are the past times and extra activities out weighing the effects of rushing around? Take the time to think about what he really wants to attend and why?
Rushing kids around makes them feel pushed and controlled, which triggers power struggles. Studies show that this feeling – in adults who work at jobs where they’re at someone else’s beck and call – sends stress hormones sky-rocketing.
Rushing kids around over stimulates them so they can’t process everything coming at them, their digital world already over stimulates them on a daily basis, they do not need to be over stimulated in their ‘real’ world.
Rushing kids around habituates them to busyness, so they become easily bored, craving electronic stimulation at any spare moment they may get. They do not have time to calm down, slow down, take time to get to know what ‘they’ really like and enjoy. This should be an organic process of experimentation and dabbling.
Rushing kids around can keep them from dealing with and realizing their own emotions. By the end of the day their emotions have backed up into a big bundle of feelings pressing to escape. This can trigger tantrums and can eventually lead to addictions like digital addiction and sugar addiction, which distract us from our emotional baggage.
In my opinion, this is the most damaging in the world our children are growing up in today. The number of young teenagers unable to cope with their emotions who turn to self-harm, over/under eating is frightening. As their parent(s), we have to help them to name and deal with all emotions and this takes time and awareness. We have to take the time to notice what they are feeling – understand why they are feeling this emotion and give them the tools to deal with it. We cannot do this if we are rushing around on a daily basis.
If you find you have very little time and cannot find a way of changing that I strongly suggest you hold a family meeting and sort it out. Get some time in your week where you can take the time to notice what is ‘really’ going on. I understand this can be very hard but I also understand only too well from working with teenagers, the effects of this rushing around. Give your children a time in the day when they know they can reach you, mealtime, bedtime, bath time, in the car, just find a time. If your child gets used to a time to connect with you, it will become his safe time and when problems and/or emotions are building up in him and possibly getting out of control, he will know he can offload and get your advice. Very often just ‘listening’ helps a lot, try not to interrupt when your child is telling you something – he may just need to tell you and off load it from himself. If you interrupt him, he may never get to off load that particular emotion. Very often by the time he has finished talking about the issue, he may have sorted it out himself. Our natural instinct as parents is to sort it out for him/her but by doing this we are not empowering our children to learn how do deal with their own emotions. Empower your children, let them know it is ok to feel sad, upset, angry, and lonely; it is ok to make mistakes. Give them the tools to deal with these emotions and they will be stronger, more confident, happier children. Do not disempower your children, you will do them no favors what so over.
“Children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them, makes an impression.”