Have you ever listened to the radio and hours later couldn’t get a particular song lyric out of your head? This happened to me this morning as I was preparing for my first work day of the new year.
“Hold on to 16 as long as you can.
Changes come around real soon,
Make us women and men”
John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” was released in 1982, when I was 16 years old. At that time( 30 years ago), it was my favorite song. Although I knew all of the song’s words, I had no appreciation for the above lyric. Back then, I can remember thinking “There’s no question that being a man is MUCH better than a 16 year-old kid!” Now, at age 46, it make SO much more sense to me. Imagine that!
Over the ages, it’s been a common theme for kids to make efforts to rush childhood and attempt to hurry on into adulthood. Unfortunately, in our world today, influenced by many parent’s actions and what kid’s have access to, childhood is accelerated significantly. This results in kids struggling with adult situations well before they’re mentally prepared.
TEN TIPS TO HELP YOUR KID REMAIN A KID
1. Make YOUR home the “hangout”. You get to know their friends and you are in charge! Believe me, you will learn A LOT!
2. Get to know the parents of your child’s friends before allowing your child to visit. As a therapist, I’ve heard horror stories when this one isn’t followed.
3. Plan more family activities. No explanation necessary.
4. Limit television/computer time and monitor closely. Too much of most anything is not healthy. FYI, there are plenty of so-called reputable websites that offer options that are one click away from pornographic material.
5. Limit time with video games and allow no mature themes. Studies show that violence in teens has been influenced by these games.
6. Communicate, not interogate your child daily.
7. Involve your family in church, and not just on Sunday!
8. Purchase your child a cell phone that does not allow internet access or texting. A phone with texting and internet access has the potential for much more bad than good.
9. Keep your child away from social networks and chat rooms. In therapy sessions, this is often identified as a kid’s greatest stressor. It’s not surprising. Many adults can’t handle the social network environment.
10. Make your home an environment that is child-friendly, free from your child viewing behaviors that you wouldn’t want them to model.
Of course, there are more than 10 ways to help your child avoid growing up too fast. I’m sure you can think of many more. Some of you may be thinking that a kid shouldn’t have listened to John Mellencamp. Maybe you’re right about that! If you get a chance, post some of your own ideas on the topic. Thanks.