Over scheduled teenager: I’ve got one

As I work through each new stage with my children I realize the saying holds true: little kids little problems; big kids big problems. The exhaustion of keeping up with toddlers and the three times per day bathing and the food in the hair feels like a walk in the park to what our issues are now.

It seems more and more with my own kids the schedules keep getting crazier. Amount of time needed for homework increases exponentially. More and more pressure is placed on them. I often wonder where the pressure comes from?

I’m not a blame placer. I’m not trying to find fault. I just know that I’m in a constant loop of reminding them to relax. Breathe. Enjoy being a kid while they can. See friends. Get enough sleep and self care. Work to achieve a balance of motivation/drive but also allow themselves time to regroup.

And yet they add more to their plates. Going on and on about how this or that has to be done to get into college. How competitive it is now. How they need this or that to stand out to an employer AFTER college. Or how stressed they are about checking all of the boxes for their future. They have jobs, volunteer hours, clubs, National Honors Society, Hailey is currently taking FOUR AP classes and two honors classes. And involved in a co-op class that works in conjunction with a community college. At the same flipping time. This semester. As a Junior. All that AND playing travel softball.

No conversation that I have seems to hold merit if I suggest that there *may be* an over scheduling up in here. I see the anxiety ramping up and each time I mention that one of the best things that we can do for ourselves is to know our own limitations and set healthy boundaries. I get that look. You know, the one where the parent knows nothing and the teenager knows all of the things.

I do know in some cases it IS the parent placing the pressure. That is not how it is in our home… So where does it come from? Peers? The internets telling them what they SHOULD be doing? School? Themselves?

I’m at a loss here. I am no longer involved in sitting in while choosing classes. Signing up for clubs and volunteer hours. I can only offer advice ( though it seems to be dismissed immediately) to try and shed light on lessons I’ve already learned the hard way. And be here.

It’s hard at this stage! To just stand back and watch them have to learn the lessons on their own. Completely burn themselves out.

I’ve wondered recently what’s better: a lazy child with no motivation or an overly motivated child who puts SO much stress and angst on themselves they drive themselves into major anxiety issues.

I don’t recall this when I was in high school. We were good students who played sports and spent time on the super important stuff: crimping our friends hair, making mix tapes, driving around in our friends cars and passing houses of boys we liked. Going out for ice cream and to the movies.

I don’t know why it’s so different now, or when it happened. I’m learning I’m not the only parent who’s walking this with my teen. And I guess my plan is: I just remain here if/when they need me and will always gently offer perspective. But they’re calling the shots now on their futures. I’m hoping things level out, and they just don’t lose their opportunity to be a kid.

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