Do you really know what’s trending in your child’s heart and mind? More often than not we are making assumptions based upon our own life experience as a child/teen and as a parent. Nevertheless, what’s trending in your own child’s heart and mind is the most important trend a parent can know. And it is also the most challenging thing to know because the “trending things in the world” that concern parents (think: depression/anxiety, bullying, addictions, sexual exploitation) harbor risk and with cyber connectivity it is very easy for youth to engage in unhealthy relationships and keep risky secrets.
In my work with prevention strategy in Placer County our efforts are informed through staying current with youth trends in order to connect with youth about their life experiences and raise awareness with parents and other caring adults about youth issues. A major health concern expressed today by youth and local law enforcement is a vaping trend accelerated by a perception that electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes) deliver nicotine and marijuana in a healthy or risk-free way.
The video below offers a tutorial for parents on the risks associated with vaping and how youth perceive it as normal and safe:
If you suspect or know that your child is vaping, contact Recovery Happens to get yourself and your child educated and into counseling. Consider this as an opportunity to deepen the trust bond with your child as you agree to learn with your child how to pursue wellness.
Tips to know what is “trending” in your child’s heart and mind
Despite what’s trending in their cyber-social realms, whether it’s vaping, Finsta’s (alterative Instagram accounts to explore a different identity), or “The 48-Hour Challenge” (a social media trend seeking 15 minutes of fame by daring teens to hide away from family for 48 hours with the hope that there will be a frantic search for them on social media), every day youth are for the most part making good decisions. And still social media makes it easy for parents and youth to become anxious and fearful about what’s trending which kills open communication and leaves youth vulnerable to the cyber-powered stresses of their own life experiences.
Knowing about a trend, and knowing whether a trend in the social network is getting play in your child’s life are two different things. We cannot know what’s going on in their inner world unless our children choose to share it with us. Children at any age are actually in charge of their own thoughts and actions. Even though they do not have fully developed pre-frontal cortex (the part of the brain which is responsible for executive decisions/judgment), they do have the same powers of the soul as adults: intellect, memory and will. These are the faculties that make learning possible in the first place.
The child is in charge of him or herself and needs to learn how to take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions, with any device in their hands, at a very early age. Armed with this insight about our humanity; that parents have very little control over their child and the technology, below are steps to know how youth trends are impacting your child, and be a trusted resource.
- Get educated about youth trends and the human condition. (Sign up to receive updates from Core Connectivity and Raising Placer).
- Get interested in your child, what interests him/her. What breaks their heart? What are they passionate about?
- Listen more and talk less. When an issue or concern surfaces, refrain from expressing fear, judging or jumping to conclusions. Let your child explain what is happening.
- Impart wisdom, not your opinion. This is counter-intuitive because we are conditioned to refer to our opinions as parents. However, mostly our children do not need our opinion because it is a personal declaration of limited human understanding that also sends a signal of judgment and a deep seated desire to be in control of a person or a situation. Consider that your tech-savvy child instinctively knows that they must be in charge of themselves and take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. Imparting wisdom therefore requires you to empower your child to think correctly about their own circumstances and choices. This means that there will be times you must help your child learn from the negative or painful experiences without trying to fix it for them or becoming worried or angry. Your job is to help your child understand they already have the power they need to know and do better, to overcome whatever spiritual, emotional attacks they are experiencing and resist the temptation to agree with thoughts that are discouraging and hopeless.
To learn more about youth trends and tips for communication about coping skills to respond to stress, contact:
- Joanna at Core Connectivity to secure a seat at an upcoming workshop or sign up for parenting and family life coaching sessions.
Visit: Raising Placer – Advocating Resilient and Healthy Youth
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device.
Peace on earth begins with peace at home.
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Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.