Did you know that more than half of kids aged six to nine now use some kind of children’s social network? Or that 47 percent talk to their friends on the Internet? And that 14 percent are on Facebook in spite of the fact that they are underage? To top off these startling revelations of a new study is the distressing news that 58 percent of parents admit they are in the dark about what their kids are up to in our brave new world.
Our kids have been born into this world. They are “digital natives” and many parents and teachers are “digital immigrants,” trying to learn a new foreign language and enter a mysterious culture that is both unfamiliar and overwhelming. Some parents I talk to have stuck their heads in the sand, hoping it will all just go away. Not likely.
Our children are spending more and more time online—and this trend is only going to continue to soar as smart phones are in kids’ hands at younger and younger ages. It is imperative that parents educate themselves about how to protect their children in the new technological universe.
Some are starting kindergarten and just plain scared of the unknown. Others (over 6.5 million kids in America) are heading off to a new school where they lack friends or familiarity.
Even larger numbers already know what they don’t like about school. They’ve been there, done that. They have to get up early, sit in classrooms and do what the teacher tells them to do all day long–including homework when they get out.
Although we all agree that getting a good education is essential, that doesn’t mean that many kids don’t hate the loss of freedom that goes with it.
To make things worse, public schools in America have been profoundly impacted by both the troubled economy and by the mandates of the No Child Left Behind legislation. Many schools doubled their math and reading instruction but, in order to do so, eliminated music and arts education, the very classes that many kids looked forward to the most.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. They to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, are as good as dead: their eyes are closed.” ~ Albert Einstein
Do you feel that time is rushing by and you never have enough of it? Do you struggle to get a good night’s sleep? Do you suffer from physical or emotional aches and pains? Chances are you have said yes to one of these questions.
Here’s information to give you some hope.
Researchers at Stanford University recently discovered that even a tiny dose of awe can bring a feeling of greater life satisfaction. Melanie Rudd and Jennifer Aaker from Stanford University and Kathleen D. Vohs from University of Minnesota conducted three experiments soon to be published in Psychological Science.
Their findings showed that subjects who felt awe, compared to other emotions, felt they had more time available and were therefore less impatient. Experiences of awe seem to bring people into the present moment.
“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings but silence breaks your heart.” -C. S. Lewis
A family arrived in my counseling office for their first session. Dad looked nervous, Mom looked relieved and the two teenage kids looked like they had just walked into a morgue. Both parents complained of being driven crazy by the constant bickering that went on between the four of them. Did this mean that they had failed as parents?
On the contrary, I thought. When I applauded the kids for trusting their parents enough to fight with them, both teens perked up and began to join the discussion in earnest…
It may be hard to believe, but research has found that teens who learn how to argue effectively by practicing on their parents are far more likely to be able to resist peer pressure down the line. Psychologist Joseph P. Allen and his team at the University of Virginia published the findings of their study of parents and teens, called “Predictors of Susceptibility to Peer Influence Regarding Substance Use in Adolescence.”
The study interviewed 157 kids when they were 13 years old about their biggest disagreement with their parents and did follow-up interviews with the same kids and parents when the kids were in high school. The researchers wanted to know what made some kids more vulnerable to peers pressuring them to use drugs and alcohol and what parents could do about it.