Our kids these days live their lives through social media, watching TV, and playing video games. Unfortunately, several new studies are finding that all this screen time is having a negative effect on their mental health.
Informed Families Blog
We knew that the pandemic caused a serious mental health crisis among all ages, and that teens had an especially difficult time.
It’s hard to walk the fine line between giving our kids too much freedom and not enough. This is why it’s important that we begin early to build trust with them.
The war in Ukraine is heartbreaking and has been at or near the top of the news for the last couple of weeks. There’s no way kids have missed the constant coverage, but they probably don’t understand what’s going on.
It’s back-to-school time, and this year our kids are facing more than the usual first-day jitters. Last year they mostly had to learn at home, seeing friends only over Zoom or FaceTime. Now, the new school year is likely bringing new anxieties:
- They’re wondering whether they’ve fallen behind academically, in their favorite sport, or both.
- They’ve been worried about whether they or their parents will get COVID-19.
- The mask-up-in-school guidance has been confusing, to say the least.
- And they may be secretly afraid that they won’t know how to get along in person with their friends anymore.
Give them structure
Don’t assume that because things are getting back to normal that your kids will easily fall back into their old pre-pandemic lives without your guidance.
One way to help your child adjust to the new school year is by offering the comfort of family meals on a regular schedule. Use this time to talk together, to encourage them to share their concerns, and find solutions.
Our Family Table Time kits are an excellent resource that can help. For example, this month’s topics include organizational skills, back to school, fears and anxiety, and bullies and violence.
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Sometimes even the best of parents become overwhelmed and behave in ways they later wish they hadn’t. One solution that might help is a practice called mindful parenting. This is based on the larger concept of mindfulness, or being fully present in the moment. Such a process can help parents thoughtfully respond to situations, rather than react unthinkingly.
Two of the topics featured in this month’s Family Table Talk kit are decision-making and heroism. While they may seem unrelated, they are actually two sides of the same coin, and that is courage: the strength to choose the right decision and the determination to face your fears and move ahead regardless of those fears.
Some well-intentioned parents may think that allowing their teens and their teens’ friends to drink at home under adult supervision will keep their kids safe, and lead to healthier attitudes about drinking. The truth is that underage drinking can lead to serious negative consequences for both parents and teens:
- Supplying alcohol to underage youth actually increases (rather than decreases) the risk for continued drinking in their teenage years, and can lead to problem drinking later in life.
- Research shows that teens who perceive their parents to be more permissive about alcohol use are MORE likely to abuse alcohol and to use other drugs.
- A majority of states have civil and or criminal penalties for adults who serve alcohol to minor at home. Under “social host laws”, party hosts are held responsible for car accidents and other disasters resulting from alcohol use at their home.
With parents working remotely, kids learning virtually and extracurricular activities outside the home postponed, Family Day is every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most families have not had this much time together uninterrupted in some time.
Some families are using this time to reconnect. We love to see the cool things you have been doing - picnics in the backyard, themed dinners, bake-a-thons, game night, movie night and more. Use the #FLFamilyDays hashtag in your social media posts so we can continue to promote strengthening family relationships.