Are You Pushing Your Teen Too Hard?

Teens can burn out and become exhausted. Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Teens can burn out and become exhausted.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear parents, your teen knows how deeply you love them.  At the bottom of their heart they even know you push them to do better and do more because you want them to have a good chance in life.  You want them to have opportunities that you may have missed out on.

 

Keep in mind though that sometimes this can be overdone.  Kids can only handle so much before it starts to wear on them.  While the threshold varies for each adolescent, every single one has their breaking point.  It’s really easy to get too busy doing a lot of different things and keeping your teens in all kind of extra-curricular activities.  This is supposed to help them get into a better college, and that is important.  On the other hand, is it so important that it’s worth them feeling exhausted and burned out?

 

Some of you have a different battle to fight in order to manage an over-committed teen.  Your child is the one who puts all kinds of pressure on herself to take on more.  She wants to take another AP class, play another sport, or join another club.  In this case, it’s up to you to say no sometimes.  Even though everything your teen wants to get into is good, there can be too much of a good thing.  Your saying no helps her to learn she can succeed even if she’s balanced.

 

Teenagers are still children.  They are becoming adults, but their minds have a lot about them that is young.  They need time to play, rest, socialize, and regroup.  They need a lot of sleep.  They need more downtime than they will need once they are in their mid-twenties.  Teens are still trying to figure it all out.  If we allow them, or require them to be overly busy, they won’t learn the skills needed to lead a balanced life.  That is an extremely important lesson to learn in order to be a joyful, healthy person.

 

The great thing about removing some of the demands placed on your kids is that you will have more opportunity to spend time with them.  They’re about to launch into their own life.  With you transitioning more and more into the role of a guide, they will feel safe to explore.  Eventually they will really appreciate you for it.

 

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,

Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

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