One thing that social media can give us is the sense that we are missing out.
I am happy for other people’s children when they receive awards but I rarely ever post pictures of my children when they receive an award. I am not trying to prove that my child is amazing, or to prove I’m a good parent. Instead, I may post everyday photos of my children because I am just proud of them for being themselves. Showing people what awards they got does not mean anything if my kids are miserable all the other times.
I like posting pictures of my kids just having fun. Having fun and having down time is becoming a lost art.
Instead we are building a world based on accomplishments and causing anxiety. Parents have anxiety because they are worried where their child stands academically or physically within their age range. Experts are now saying that how we are parenting is causing more anxiety for the child than anything else.
One of the suggestions is about giving children space without chores, without assignments, without “do do do”. Children also need to learn how to just BE.
How do I encourage this? We have certain “electronic free times” throughout the day. Most people give their children ipads in the car, I try to make this time one of those electronic free times. During this time I chat with the kids in the car about their day. We point out things in the window (Yesterday there was a old male motorcyclist next to us with a very masculine beard but he had one very long curl in the back of his neck – we then made up a song about him not being a girl but liking his very looong curl – it rhymed).
We point to the dogs we drive by, or a paddock of cows or on our daily trip – there is usually a Kangaroo somewhere.
Part of being mentally healthy is to notice what is around us, and to enjoy those little things. I want my children to realize that there is more to life than competing academically or on the court. I want my children to understand that it is just as important to be in a “fun” moment as it is to focus on a test (obviously at appropriate times). Not understanding the value of both is causing major imbalance in our mental health, and the mental health of our children.
If your life or your child’s life is too busy, it is vital that you start scheduling “fun time”, where you start finding joy in the little things. To just be…