February 02

ParentCUE: Chaos

XP3: CHAOS 

We’re Teaching This:

When was the last time you felt totally out of control? Maybe it was when your car hydroplaned, just for a second. Or maybe your plans got changed at the last minute leaving you with nothing to do. Or maybe a friend or family member’s behavior left you shaking your head. We all have moments like that—moments that leave us feeling tense, anxious, and wondering how we’re supposed to handle it all. The problem is, sometimes those out-of-control moments end up becoming a regular part of our lives. Whether it is with the stress and uncertainty of our future, the pressure that comes with our relationships with others or even the anxiety of where we are with God, chaos can start to feel like it’s everywhere. It’s no surprise that God never intended for our lives to be defined by stress. Thankfully He doesn’t tell us to handle it on our own, either. He invites us to bring our worries and anxiety to Him. And when do, we find that He doesn’t just remove the chaos from our lives. He replaces it with something better—peace.

Think About This:

Do you think your teen is more stressed than you were at his or her age? According to CNN’s Kelly Wallace, most parents would say, “Absolutely”. In her article, SOS for Stressed Out Teens on CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/05/living/teen-stress-overscheduled-parents/), Wallace suggests that, along with heightened academic stakes and overscheduled lifestyles, social media may add to the expectations that leave teens feeling stressed.

Today’s teens, unlike when I was growing up, can now compare their academic performance and everything else about their existence to other teens 24 hours a day through updates on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, you name the social network, and that only increases the stress.

“Back in the day, we got a break from our peers after school and on the weekends, but now kids are on social media all day long,” said Linda Esposito, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Los Angeles and host of a blog on psychotherapy called Talk Therapy Biz.

Social media and the constant connectedness of technology has no doubt changed the game for our students and added to the stress they experience. And, there’s no reason to believe that the constant “ping” of notifications is going to slow down anytime soon. So, as parents, it’s more important than ever that we help our students learn to cope when they feel anxiety. A few ways to make sure this happens?

Model healthy behavior. As parents become more proficient with technology, more of our own anxiety come from being connected to work 24/7. If you catch yourself being “mentally elsewhere” while spending time with the family, intentionally turn your device off and let your student know why you’re doing it.

Take breaks from technology. There’s something about the buzz of a new notification that feels urgent even when it isn’t. As a family, try taking breaks from technology. It doesn’t have to be for long periods of time, but just an hour of real “connectedness” to each other can help manage stress levels and reset students’ anxiety.  

Try This

Sometimes the best tool for managing stress is to take a time out.

Try having a disconnected dinner with your family. 

Once a week, at the beginning of dinner, have everyone drop their mobile devices in a basket, including the parents. It’s a symbolic way of saying to your student, “This time is important. And I’m all here”.

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org