Stressing over Life with a Teenager
Now that the kids are back to school stress begins. As humans we strive on structure and going back to daily or weekly routines helps make life easier. I often hear from parents that are so pleased that “we go back to school in just a few weeks. We are all ready!” But as you reached the end of last school year there could have been frustrations. Look back at last year and look at where the stress occurred for you as a parent? Were you or your kids too involved? Did you or your kids have late season burn-out? Did frustration rule around the house? If so you need to change– Today!
To make a change first you as a parent needs to decide to change. Yes, you are changing your child’s schedule, but it is also your schedule too! So once you have decided to make your life easier it’s time to sit down with your teen and simplify your life. Does your teenager need to be involved in three extra-curricular activities? Are they asked to perform 7 days a week? It’s too much — Teenagers are not adults. As parents you felt the pressure of last year, now imagine your teenager– a child who can’t quite cope effectively with life. You need to give them a break. You need to brake too.
Simplify your life, schedule your family so your kids can learn to manage life. Schedule in some down time or mental health days. Look for the “fun stuff” that makes them smile because this should follow up the”unfun stuff.” Help your child establish a routine after school for homework, chores, and more down time. Remember, they have been “working” all day too! When they are doing their homework make sure they are only studying a maximum of 12-18 minutes. Then have them get up and move around for a minute or two and then start back for another 12-18 minutes. At the next break, give them 5-10 minute break for snack, texting, or moving around. Then back to the quick break (lather, rinse, repeat as needed). Oh yes I believe in not letting your teen study with their cell phone. But they can text during their breaks. More on that another time.
Once both of you have established a routine write it down. Agree to the new schedule. Sign the new schedule and post it. It is all about accountability to the other person. Parents don’t slack on the follow through even when your teenager whines like when they were three years old. The follow through is probably the most important of all. Hang in there and if you have questions just ask.