Balance Is Important When It Comes to Teens and Extracurricular Activities

 

Extracurricular activities have been proven to have countless benefits for teens. From helping to improve their grades to better behavior in and out of school, as well as positively affecting their mental health.

However, pushing your teen too far and too hard during such a stressful time of their lives can cause them to struggle and even spiral out-of-control.To prevent overburdening your teen, there needs to be balanced when it comes to their extracurricular activities.

Consider What Your Teen Is Currently Engaged In

If you have started to see signs that your teen is starting to lose control such as grades are slipping, they are oversleeping whenever possible, and emotional outbursts are all signs that your teenager may be overburdened. Before you sit down with your teen, take a moment, and consider what they are expected to do.

As the parent, it can be difficult to imagine that your teenager is anywhere as busy as you are since you have to juggle family relationships, work, your own activities, and any commitments you have made. It may look like your teen only has school and maybe one or two activities. But teens often can become overscheduled, as their schooling follows a strict day-to-day outline and the free time your teen has outside of school can be eaten up by their activities, particularly if they are in a competitive sport or academic pursuit.

In fact, for many teens, with 6 ½ to 7 hours taken up with the school day, 2-3 hours for one competitive sport training, 3-4 hours of homework along with likely chores at home, teenagers can feel hugely overwhelmed and restricted. Even taking the least amount of scheduled time, that would equal 11 ½ hours of everyday scheduling.

Teens need more room to try new things and simply unwind whether they are just hanging out with friends or relaxing at home. This balance is often how therapeutic boarding schools help troubled teens achieve greater peace and mental health, and you can work with your teen to reach that before they need more intensive help.

Talk With Your Teenager And See How They Really Feel

Here comes the tricky part—it’s time to talk with your teenager. Often, when parents try to approach their teens about whether they feel over-booked, many teens answer how they feel their parents want them to answer, rather than what they actually feel.

Many teens feel like they will disappoint their parents if they give up a sport or don’t want to take honors or AP classes. However, when teens push themselves too hard to meet goals and expectations that aren’t their own, they may suffer from high anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

On the flip side, your teenager may be overextending themselves to reach a goal that is unhealthy. Teens need balance, but in their anxiety about the future, many teenagers can place high expectations on themselves and become crushed if something goes wrong. So, as you talk with your teenager, help them see how balancing their schedule can help them thrive in the long-term.

Work Together To Make Activity Cuts And Better Scheduling

If both you and your teen determine that they will be better off if some things are cut back on, it is critical that you work with your teenager as scheduling changes are made. With your teen working with you, it is far more likely that your teen will be happy with the outcome and new schedule. For a teen to feel successful and enjoy the changes, their buy-in is key.

Also, as you help your teen see how to build up a healthy routine and balance between their various obligation, your teenager will be able to use that in the future. That way, when your teen strikes out on their own, they will not have to struggle like many young adults who have never needed to exert that high of a level of self-discipline.

Attending A Residential Treatment Center Can Help Teens Center Themselves

For teens who have spiraled out-of-control and who are unable to receive the help they need while at home, you may want to consider a residential treatment center for troubled teens.

These treatment centers have structured schedules designed to provide balance for teenagers between their physical, mental, spiritual, and educational needs. With greater support and mental health emphasis, residential treatment centers can help teens overcome their struggles and move on to be productive and healthier adults.

When teenagers learn how to balance their lives while they are young, these teens will become far more successful young adults. This success is due to the support your teenager will have at home in contrast to later, where they have less support when out on their own at college or when moved out.

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