So you've been locked in your house for a year and your whole family has quarantine -induced
loneliness. What is the deal with that? Well, let's talk about that today on Tips on Teens. My
name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and I specialize in helping
kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations, the group Private
Practice Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child and Teen Counseling,
both here in Woodland Hills, California. And every Wednesday at noon, I jump into your Facebook
Live feed and I answer your parenting questions. Let's jump into today. I'm a mom who works part
-time. During COVID, I've been doing what I imagine most moms are doing, trying to keep the demands
of quarantine in balance. I'm basically homeschooling my kids as I help them get through their
distance learning. And I'm trying to keep up with my job. I know that part of my kids' struggle
right now is that they miss their friends. I can
tell that they're suffering from loneliness. And I recently realized that I am too. How is it
that we can all be home together all day and still everyone feels lonely? What can we do to help
each other as a family? Thank you for this question. This is a really poignant question, I think.
I think a lot of families relate to this. I wanna use an analogy. And I think a lot of us adopt unwittingly.
And I wanna poke some holes in this analogy because I think it'll make some more sense. So most
of us are trying to do and trying to be responsible. We have the best intentions to be responsible,
get the laundry done, cook dinner, help the kids with the homework, do your job, get the tax information
to the accountant, blah, blah, blah, blah, all these things. Just as parents, we have tons of
plates to spin and it's overwhelming. And it's kinda like the analogy of you gotta eat your zucchini
before you have your ice cream, right? And the kid's like, I don't wanna eat my zucchini. No,
it's good for
you. It's got vitamins and fiber. You gotta eat your zucchini. And the zucchini is the laundry,
the cooking, the dinner, the homework, all those things that have to be done. And as responsible
parents, we're trying to do those things. And the problem is every time you take a bite of zucchini,
there are two more bites on the plate. And it never ends, it never ends. And the ice cream is playing
with your kids because that's fun. And what I would say is, number one, the zucchini will never
end. You'll always have more zucchini on your plate. And secondly, and most importantly, playing
with your kids and connecting with them, that is not ice cream. That is broccoli. I tell you,
broccoli, I say. Yes, it tastes really good. I personally like broccoli quite a bit, especially
a little garlic and onion there. But it's still broccoli. And the reason why it's so important
for you to take the time, prioritize spending time with your kids, just as you would prioritize
doing their homework or getting
dinner ready or any other thing that is responsible and has to get done is because a big part of
a child's identity and self -esteem is based on the relationship with you. And it's really important.
It's really important that you carve out time and prioritize, prioritize time, for you to connect
with them, play games with them, bake cookies together, walk the dog. It really doesn't matter
what you do. It does not have to be extravagant. It just has to be something that your child feels
like you enjoy being with them. That is really important. And if you are able to do this on a consistent
basis, things like the homework or getting the laundry done or anything else around the house,
your kids hopefully will be a little more interested in helping out with those things. It's
not a foolproof plan. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is guaranteed. But if we constantly push
away the priority of connecting with our kids, they're gonna feel lonely. You're gonna feel
lonely. No, there's gonna be no connection.
And in those situations, what families will do is they'll bicker and they'll fight. And we don't,
we wanna limit that bickering and limit that fighting. Will you still have some? Yes, you will.
Because human families will bicker sometimes. But if you keep that to a manageable level and
have much more of the positivity, you're going to help your kids have a stronger self -esteem.
You're gonna help them feel more connected to you. You're gonna feel more connected to them.
They're gonna be more open with you, especially as they get into the teen years and things start
getting risky and you really have no control. You have influence though. And the influence
comes from that connection. Anyways, and we're just crashing on the surface on this. There's
a lot more we can go into that. I could do a whole hour presentation on this topic. But thank you
for your question. If you'd like more questions answered, if you have a question you'd like
me to answer, email me at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter
.com or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. We love your questions. Keep them coming.
I'll be here next Wednesday at noon in your Facebook feed. Or you can find us on IGTV or YouTube.
Thanks again. My name again is Kent Toussaint from Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling.
And this has been Tips on Teens. Thanks guys. See you next week. Bye -bye.
On this week’s Tips on Teens, we “unmask” some of the challenges of distance learning. Does your kid have learning challenges that make online school difficult? Auditory or visual processing issues can interfere with a child’s ability to learn. As a result, school, especially online school can become a real burden for some kids.
It might be time to take a deep look at what’s going on with your child emotionally. Creating more opportunities for connection after school is key to finding solutions. If you can collaborate with your child on a way to do this, you’re much more likely to have success! If your child refuses to be part of the solution, therapy might be a good option to consider. There’s only so much a structure a kid can take, and you might need to change your goals for your kid’s education to make them more realistic. Sure, thinking about college is really important, but you may just have to focus on the getting through the next six weeks first! Here’s this week’s question:
“Hi Kent. D you have a podcast or tips for parents of teens who are dealing with zoom refusal? For example, not attending classes on Zoom so they have fallen so behind they are now anxious from avoidance.”
Read more on the topic of Zoom burnout in kids and the challenges of distance learning.
Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.