By Don Gentry
School is out and now your routine is all jacked up! Your kids are home all day, day care costs have soared, activities to help fight the boredom are needed, let’s schedule ten thousand activities for them to get involved in. Stress of summer is in full swing and we need to check ourselves.
Regardless of your situation, let me challenge you that our children and teens need their summer break. Our children are living in one of the most “stressed” out times of history. We have an ever-increasing number of students on anxiety meds. We need to ask ourselves why? The “fitting in,” “self-esteem” issues have been around for years. But there is a new element that has been added to the modern-day student’s life that I believe has added an incredible amount of undue stress–Technology.
Technology has magnified stress ten-fold. For example, if your child doesn’t have electronic gadgets they are left out. If you don’t let them have the apps they want their life is unfair and you are the worst parent ever. If they do have all the social media apps they lose the art of social interaction and communication and run the risk of being cyber bullied or being abducted by sick predators. Technology now even allows parents the opportunity to lose their minds over their students grades before the poor kid even gets home from school.
Let me just pause here for a moment. I have heard of parents grounding their children for their PowerSchool grades. Let me suggest some parents are on PowerSchool at a very unhealthy rate. It can be a great tool, but let me remind you of the day that we got our report cards quarterly and we got to increase our grades over the course of a quarter or semester. I know we want what is best for our kids, but maybe we should think about what we are doing as we stress our kids out.
The yelling and screaming that happens at homework time, the yelling and screaming that happens because of grades. This is all very unhealthy stress. Don’t get me wrong, homework is necessary, awareness is good, involvement is honorable, but there are excesses. When you combine all of this with the undue stress that teachers are putting on our kids it is no wonder that our kids are stressed out.
As parents, it is our job to help our children learn to manage stress not create it. That is why summer is great. As a parent do some honest self-evaluation. Are you making your child miserable? Too many adults tell me that their kid is making them miserable. We are the adults. It is on us to figure out how to deal with our crap not stress our kids out because we are stressed out.
Use summer as an opportunity to relax as a family. Cut out activities and learn to simplify life. Your kids need a break and they need a stress-free summer. You have half the summer left. What can you do as a family to make it as stress free as possible?