One Mum told me this week of how her teen texts her from his room to ask for a glass of water!! Yes that is actually happening. I’m all for using the written word when subjects are uncomfortable because I’ve successfully recommended these journals to lots of you as a way of keeping the lines of communication open with your child. Don’t be your child’s Water Slave because that story doesn’t end well.
Another Mum was concerned about the way her son was socialising and making friends using online games and wondered if that would be an issue for him connecting in real life. Each child is different and instead of making them right or wrong, I like to see them as individuals with different needs. Who is to say that a child who makes friends online isn’t just an introvert who needs lots of alone time to recharge and isn’t necessarily suffering with social anxiety or any other emotional issues?
Introverted Children have Different Friendship Needs
As an introvert myself, I can totally relate. I don’t like crowds. I prefer 121 connections. 3 is a tricky number which presses my ‘feeling left out’ buttons. I like to drift off in my daydream world, read books and I don’t need people to feel re-energised. If you are an Extrovert parent, this will be alien to you but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Introverts are not always shy. They often connect in a different way but they will still want to connect because that is what we are all here for.
I recognise we’re in the age of multi media where it feels like children are born with a device in their hands. Of course, this is unchartered territory and we’re still discovering how this affects their brain development, their social skills and their life as a grown up. We’re yet to find out what that means long term but I’m already seeing that the negative consequences are that some children feel lonely and isolated.
If you are one of those children reading this post, come and join me in The Energy Pod where you will be welcomed with open arms and accepted for who you are. There is nothing wrong with you by the way, you just haven’t found your tribe. Feeling alone and isolated isn’t really about how many friends you have, but more to do with how you feel about yourself.
It’s all About What Works for Your Child
I was super excited when my 5 year old Niece turned up and told me about Addle-stones – an Online Facebook Group that have cleverly created a fun game of Hide and Seek for everyone to play. What you need to do is find some smooth round stones to decorate and weather proof them with varnish. Then you write facebook or logo “Addle – Stones” on it somewhere so other people know where to post their finds.
It’s great for getting outside as you are invited to walk around the town planting your stones so that someone else can find them. Finds are posted in the Facebook Group so that people can track their stone. This is such a brilliant idea!
You can tell that Mia and I had special Auntie time together. Not only were we outside in the sunshine, but we were connecting with each other without much direct talking (children do prefer to connect in this way…play is their best form of communication).
Play is the Highest Expression of Human Development in Childhood
Children also prefer to talk in the car when your attention is focussed elsewhere – hopefully on the road ahead of you. They also want to talk in the dark when you tuck them in. Being anonymous in their mind protects them from losing your love and approval which is all they ever really want from you. So whilst there are many different ways to communicate and none of them are wrong (it’s when we stop communicating, the trouble begins), where is the balance?
I think like anything there needs to be an awareness of how too much screen time affects your child. Creating balance requires awareness and some clear boundaries as well as an element of trust with older children which will very much depend on your connection with them. When children are becoming dependent on screens to zone out from stress or to relax, or using them as a prop to go to sleep (unless they are listening to a guided visualisation without looking at the blue screen to fire up their brain), then that’s not good.
It’s important they can understand their emotions, listen to their bodies and find a way to calm themselves down naturally. This is why I created The Energy Pod because I grew up without screens, but I also grew up without these essential life skills which led me to a life of depression, anxiety and addiction
Come and join us every week to balance out your emotions and learn new ways of relaxing and being happy in your own skin. It’s an online class which is like watching the TV. That in itself means I can reach more children and help them. It also means that lots of children can connect with each other and discover they are not alone with the way they feel – lots of other children feel the same. It’s a weekly burst of light-hearted fun which means you schedule in and create positive habits to help your family manage stress and feel equipped to cope with busy day to day life.