Give my child a break.
Social pressures are nothing new. Everyone remembers uncomfortable moments, classes that wouldn’t end, and environments that made us want to disappear. School days were packed full of the good, the bad, and the ugly. When the school bell rang, it shook the weight of worry from our shoulders.
There was something relaxing and peaceful about walking out of the social drama and into a controlled, family environment. At home, we knew what to expect. And even though the social interaction didn’t completely stop, it was escapable. If we didn’t want to play basketball with friends, we didn’t. If we wanted to ride our bikes, we did. The social pressures in the school versus the social pressures in the neighborhood were entirely different. There was an escape from it. There was a rest from it.
Recently, I realized my child never gets to experience a break from social pressures. There’s no rest. There’s no pause from one conversation before he engages in another – because he’s engaged in several conversations at once – all day, every day! That alone is exhausting. Day after day, his mind is engaged, constantly navigating through social pressures. He wakes up in the morning and begins texting. He texts until his head hits the pillow. It makes me tired just thinking about it.
My child needs a break.
As intelligent as he is, he won’t turn off his phone until his body forces him into sleep. The last text he sends is “good night.”
We haven’t worried about his phone use because he is a good kid. His conversations are okay. But as good as he is, he is more capable of making poor choices when he is mentally exhausted and socially drained. Constant social interaction can overwhelm kids, even the good kids.
I LOVE being around people. But, I’m exhausted after spending a lot of time with my friends. I can’t imagine how tired I would be if I never got a chance to rest alone, away from my friends, my bosses, or my acquaintances. We need a break. We need a rest from social interaction. Our kids need it, too.
So, since my highly intelligent kid will not put his own phone away, we have decided to help him. We are giving our child rest. We are giving him a break from social pressures.
At 6:30pm every night, phones are put away. Think of all the things that we can do! Think of all the conversations we will have! Think of the rest we will have! What seemed like a big deal the night before will be put in its proper perspective in the morning. What was once an addiction will be a tool to communicate.
Brilliant ideas are not always celebrated by teenagers, of course. We expect grumbling to continue for a long time. But, the mornings are worth it! Our child is rested and happy. He is grateful when he gets to have his phone. It’s better for us grownups, too. I enjoyed reading to my youngest. One night we made cookies. It’s amazing how much time we gained by giving ourselves a break from the world of digital social interaction.
Give yourself a break and rest.