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Balancing Life With Teenagers

Be a soft place for your kids to land...

Challenges of Being a Parent in the Digital Age

Being a parent has so many rewards and challenges of kids at every age. Watching and helping our kids through the many stages of life is WORK, but at the end of the day it can be the best thing we will experience as humans. I am currently the mom to twin teen boys and the majority of the classes I teach are with teenagers. There are days when I would love to trade the eye ball rolling teens with the no filter, 3-year old student. Small children say what they think and feel and in many ways that is so much easier to handle than a teenager who is experiencing so many feelings, mixed emotions and changes in their body. The last thing most of them want to do is talk about it, especially with their parents or an adult.

Teenagers these days have many more obstacles that we didn’t when we were their age and navigating through it is a challenge. I am sure we can all agree that not having cell phones and social media when we were teens was a good thing.

Technology has so many benefits in our lives and just as many negatives. I am sure my kids are better at technology than I am and this has it’s pros and cons. What information are they getting? Who and where are they getting it from? What are they saying and seeing on social media and the internet? This is just the tip of the iceberg of questions I have.

Luckily we have a pretty open relationship and I ask lots of questions. The answers are not as detailed as I would like because they are male teen boys and I’m a female mom. We just communicate differently. I have and do teach a lot of teenagers; mainly females. Things have definitely changed throughout the years and it is very concerning. It is my strong desire to teach our students of all ages the love of dance and life. Teens want independence but desperately need and desire guidance and boundaries from their parents and adult figures in their lives.

What can we do to help our kids lead balanced lives?

Set boundaries. Say no. Kids need to learn to accept that word because they certainly will hear it when they are adults. Let them use their phones appropriately, eat junk food and sleep in until noon. Listen. Ask questions. Check their phones. Check their phones!

We all benefit from eating sensibly, getting plenty of rest and physical activity. This seems to be one of the biggest things teens are lacking in their growing and developing bodies and minds that I have observed.

Can it be as simple as going back to basics?

Take away the screens. Unplug. Spend quality time with each other. Enjoy meals and activities together. Be together. I like to call it Forced Family Fun Time. Teens most days would like to be with their friends but certainly need and desire quality time with their parents and family.

Be observant. Check in on them. Ask questions. Make time for them. Be the soft place for them to land at the end of a hard day.

Seeking a balanced life,

Susan Byrd

Founder & Director

Living Arts Dance Studio

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