Relieving Teen Summer Boredom
With the traditional school year about to end, summer beckons to many teenagers. While long lazy non-structured days seem to be appealing, boredom often sets in rather quickly with the adolescent during the summer months. For parents of teenagers, summer often looms ahead with dread and foreboding.
Unlike their younger siblings who go to bed earlier, take naps and participate in cooperative play groups, the adolescent seems to desire a more complicated way of passing the afternoons and evenings (they usually like to sleep until noon, if allowed to do so).
The teenager who begins to feel the urge for independence and autonomy often thinks first of working during the summer months. But employment is often difficult to obtain as laws, liability, and insurance affect the teenager's status. They also have to compete with their older counterparts who are also seeking summer jobs.
Roaming the neighborhood at will, being turned loose at the local mall, dropped off for the day at the neighborhood swimming pool, or simply left at home to amuse themselves present potential pitfalls for the parents. So, what's the answer? Here are some suggestions:
• Start planning now. Brainstorm with your teenager, ask friends, and network with individuals in organizations which have activities which interest your child.
• Plan for educational enrichment. Junior colleges and local schools offer classes that allow students to explore areas outside the regular school curriculum. Classes are available in computer, music, art, dance, sports, lifesaving, etc. Recreational plans for youngsters include day camps, which teach a variety of skills.
Educational opportunities do not have to be confined to structured classes. Participation in neighborhood groups or simply a visit by parent and child to a library or museum afford an opportunity to develop interests. Library reading programs stimulate young readers.
• It's great to consider volunteerism. Check with the director of volunteer services at healthcare facilities, nursing homes, museums, Parks and Recreation, and vacation Bible schools.
• Explore career opportunities. Children often can visit the parents’ work place during the summer and gain insight into the kind of work their parents do. This assists them in making career choices.
The key to a successful and rewarding summer for the adolescent is to keep a structure which will prevent boredom, but which is flexible enough to permit freedom. Usually, a variety of activities can be pieced together and more than fill the wonderful days of summer.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright 2003