I learned the other day how certain hunters in Africa catch monkeys. It can be very difficult to corral them as they are intelligent and crafty, so hunters have used a more inventive method…trapping a monkey by enticing him. The hunters find a tree with a hole and they place nuts or fruit in it to attract the monkey’s curiosity.
When the monkey places their hand in the tree to grab it, the hunter shows up ready to capture or shoot them. The monkey knows they are in trouble but is cognitively unwilling to let go of the fruit or nuts and they end up caught or dead.
It’s not just monkeys who get trapped by what they are unwilling to release. We as humans often do the same thing. We will hold onto something that we know does not serve us and refuse to let go.
Oftentimes, paying the price emotionally and mentally for not being able to release.
How does this relate to your teens?
Social Media Addiction
Video Game Addiction
Anger Toward Peers
Repeating Bad Habits That Don’t Serve Them
Our teens have so much going on in their lives that they are trying to navigate and then on top of it the negative impact of Social Media, Video Games and Navigating Social Interactions can truly be damaging to their mental and emotional health.
Teaching them to take a step back to see how their behaviors are impacting their mood, mental state and physical health is vital to having the strength to let go. Telling them to just let go of anger, comparison, fear etc will not work. We have to as parents, help them stop, step back for a second and through dialogue help them see the negative impact these things are having and give them strategies to support letting go.
Set aside some time each week with them to discuss how things are going. Share your struggles and what you had to let go of, and ask them to share what they are struggling to let go of. Ask them how much time they spent on Social Media and if they had any negative feelings while scrolling. Ask them how they feel after a Video Game Marathon. Do they feel accomplished or bummed that they wasted hours? You will be amazed at what they will share and how they can see the negative impact when phrased in a a collaborative way and can take a step back to evaluate things and not being demanded to stop.
The more we talk WITH them and not AT them about the things that they struggle to let go of, the more inclined they will be to start loosening their grip.