Parent Sanity – How to be a parent and keep your sanity

What I have learned so far…

Helping your kids add balance in their lives

on October 10, 2012

Over the years, I have found that my kids have needed guidance on how to add appropriate balance in their lives. Typically, these discussions have occurred due to observing that their lives were somewhat out-of-balance.

I would often illustrate balance by talking about a pie and the pieces that made up that pie:  family, friends, boyfriend, school, work, exercise/health, hobbies, quiet time, etc. We would then talk about what areas they felt were taking up too much of the pie and subsequently, what areas were taking up too little. In some cases, some pieces were missing altogether.

When teenagers have a boyfriend/girlfriend, there is often a very good chance that this is an area that takes up too much of the pie; while friends, family, and school don’t take up enough. I have found it helpful to remind them how important it is (for their relationship) to have some time apart. Too much of anything can lead to issues. We all remember breaking up with a boyfriend to then wonder “why aren’t my friends around when I need them?”

I would also advise parents to provide guidance on the amount of time your teenagers are spending on their part-time jobs. Even the best students can’t properly manage homework if they are working 2-3 times during the school week; not to mention that it also makes it difficult to participate in extra-curricular activities.  My rule is: one shift during the school week and once on the weekend. That allows them to plan around their shifts appropriately.

Finally, I believe we can stress our kids out by filling up their time with too many structured activities: multiple sports at the same time, music lessons, dance classes, etc.  Instead, provide your kids with a few options and help them choose a few areas that make sense for them, and your family. Too many activities for them could actually cause your life to be out of balance.

Remember the best way to teach balance is to lead by example. If kids witness their parents lives out-of-balance, it will be hard to convince them to add balance in their lives.

5 responses to “Helping your kids add balance in their lives

  1. jmckeon1 says:

    You have addressed a serious topic that is often left neglected. At every age it is important to teach your children the impotrtance of “balance”. I often finding myself trying to sneak in learning on play dates..then I stop and remember – let kids be kids! I like your rule of 2-3 work shifts a week. Thank you this wonderful blog!

  2. Jo-Ann says:

    Makes perfect sense to me 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    Makes perfect sense to me 🙂

  4. Barb says:

    Really good, Deb

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