Are our kids overdoing it?

Provided by Parenting Power

In a recent article, Dr. Tim Elmore shared insights about the rise in anxiety, depression and panic attacks in teens today. He suggests that many teens today live,

“Sedentary lifestyles: there are hundreds of hormones, enzymes, proteins, and chemical reactions happening while the body is physically active. It enables them to be mentally fit and emotionally stable.When kids are sedentary, these hormones are unable to do their work. In short, we are made to move—and we naturally struggle when sedentary.

Solitary lifestyles: students today are actually spending more time alone than past generations of youth.The portable device has overtaken the personal conversation. Screen to screen has overtaken face to face. Psychologist Jean Twenge concludes that the more students spend time in genuine conversations in the presence of people, anxiety levels drop.

and Stimulated lifestyles: teens today consume thousands of messages a day on social media, email, live interactions and other media outlets. Our brains were not meant to digest this much information. Consider this comparison: the average person today consumes as much information reading the Sunday New York Times as a person consumed during an entire year in the 19th century.”

While these are generalized observations, they are worth considering. Dr Elmore sums it up by saying that,

“Sedentary lifestyles leave them overweight.
Solitary lifestyles leave them over-indulged.
Saturated lifestyles leave them overwhelmed.
We must get them moving. A good rule of thumb is to match the hours they have in front of a screen with that many hours in physical activity.

We must get them face-to-face with people and off their phones. One good rule is to match the hours they have on a screen with the same hours socializing in-person.

We must offer them free time to play and control their time. One good rule could be to insure they limit social media time to two hours or less daily.”

And let’s go one step further to look at what our parental behaviour is modeling for our children.

This week, ask yourself these questions:

Are we sedentary? How often are members of our family moving?
Are we solitary? Are we having face-to-face conversations regularly?
Are we involved in screen-free free time?

Learn more from Julie and Gail at parentingpower.ca!