Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

StellaM

Finding the balance between keeping teens informed, but avoiding stress and pessimism

Recommended Posts

So, I think we can all agree that the world isn't in tip top shape right now, and that there is a LOT going on re current affairs - things it's important to know about. 

 

However, it's also important to keep an eye on our teens' mental heath, and not to overload them with issues about which they can do little.

 

So, how do you find the balance for your teens? I am not currently finding it at all, and for my 13 yr old, am erring on the side of a media black out. Not wholly desirable. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I am erring on the opposite side unfortunately. Partly, because I did keep things like this from them in the past (i.e. I didn't mention certain events) but they generally heard about them in school and then got upset that I had not said anything.

 

Luckily, my kids are in a somewhat rebellious phase so there is a certain "if Mom is worried I definitely don't need to be because she is silly and overreacting". Also, though I am a bit worried, I am not by nature anxious which I think helps a bit as it is more a theoretical worry, not something that seriously impacts me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My kids have always been around when the news is turned on from infancy onward.  They don't necessarily pay attention to it but they are exposed.  It hasn't been a source of stress for them.  If it were, I'd probably have a different answer.  (I hope that you don't think this is a flip answer or anything.  It's just the way it has been here.)  Ds20 especially voices his opinions on certain hot topics but sometimes dd does too.  I think that it seems a bit removed from their everyday lives though and perhaps that protects them somewhat. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I lean more towards black out. Our brains are designed to cope with present real threats, not with the stress of knowing about every bad thing that happens anywhere in the world all the time.

 

I'm working on the theory that excess stress during important years of brain organization is more harmful than is limited knowledge of the problems and complexities of the world during those years.

 

I'm not bubble wrapping my kids, but I'm not sitting them down to watch the news every day either. I'll discuss with them stuff that I think particularly significant or that they are bound to hear about because it's such a big deal.

 

Otherwise nope, not heaping on their shoulders a bunch of problems they can't solve anyway.

Edited by maize
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I lean more towards black out. Our brains are designed to cope with present real threats, not with the stress of knowing about every bad thing that happens anywhere in the world all the time.

 

I'm working on the theory that excess stress during important years of brain organization is more harmful than is limited knowledge of the problems and complexities of the world during those years.

 

I'm not bubble wrapping my kids, but I'm not sitting them down to watch the news every day either. I'll discuss with them stuff that I think particularly significant or that they are bound to hear about because it's such a big deal.

 

Otherwise nope, not heaping on their shoulders a bunch of problems they can't solve anyway.

 

I never watch news. I read it online or listen on radio with headphones, mostly. The kids would have seen an adult news program a handful of times. 

 

We used to have a really good news program for primary aged kids that took the 'big' stuff, and presented it in really age appropriate, non sensational ways that emphasised key points in a very low key manner. Ds is too old for it now, unfortunately. 

 

Re the bolded, I know that I feel stressed by my lack of power to chance anything...I can't imagine it not being stressful to the kids. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My kids have always been around when the news is turned on from infancy onward.  They don't necessarily pay attention to it but they are exposed.  It hasn't been a source of stress for them.  If it were, I'd probably have a different answer.  (I hope that you don't think this is a flip answer or anything.  It's just the way it has been here.)  Ds20 especially voices his opinions on certain hot topics but sometimes dd does too.  I think that it seems a bit removed from their everyday lives though and perhaps that protects them somewhat. 

 

Yes, mine are all prone to anxiety, which probably makes it more of an issue for us. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you filter the news through people/organizations who are passionate about bringing about change and love not hate and the like?  I do this for myself; my twitters feed is full of people who tell/react to news stories, not just for the sake of news, but here's the mentality, here's how to combat it, etc.  I avoid strictly news outlets.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always leaned toward anxiety and as a teen and young adult imposed a media blackout for myself. I regret that I paid zero attention. Because of that I made a point of covering current events in our homeschool and our family *really* likes to discuss things.

 

Since the fall dd's anxiety has been greatly increased by politics and world events. It is much harder for her to avoid the news like I did back in the day and she doesn't want to avoid it completely either.

 

What we're doing specifically to find a balance:

sticking to written news over televised news

Reminding DD it is okay to take care of oneself

In January we each picked our one top area of concern to stay focused upon because staying on top of everything was exhausting and impossible.

We let our kids (young adults) take the lead regarding conversation. ( DH and I don't start distressing conversations with the kids and we are careful not to ramp up the conversations that do happen.)

 

What we hope to do in addition:

Get our home to not be a chaotic place. DD and I end up using precious coping ability about stupid carp like a messy kitchen that no one wants to clean or DH and I bickering.

 

.

Edited by happi duck
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watch the news all the time. There's just so much going on.

My DD (14 1/2) has depression and anxiety and can get really stressed out by it all. We've been searching for the right meds for several months now. She does like to know what's going on. Some days are like walking a tightrope, especially pertaining to NK. :mellow:

 

Edited by JBJones
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they are on the internet, they are aware, possibly even before you are.

 

When my kids bring up upsetting news, or it happens to come up e.g. on a radio news flash, I try to put it in perspective and reassure as best I can.  I don't try to erase reality though.  Better they feel comfortable bringing it up to you so you can help them think about it in a healthy way.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they are on the internet, they are aware, possibly even before you are.

 

When my kids bring up upsetting news, or it happens to come up e.g. on a radio news flash, I try to put it in perspective and reassure as best I can.  I don't try to erase reality though.  Better they feel comfortable bringing it up to you so you can help them think about it in a healthy way.

 

Dd18 often is. Ds is pretty much only reading/watching soccer related news and videos. Dc19 has a media blackout for themselves. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always leaned toward anxiety and as a teen and young adult imposed a media blackout for myself. I regret that I paid zero attention. Because of that I made a point of covering current events in our homeschool and our family *really* likes to discuss things.

 

Since the fall dd's anxiety has been greatly increased by politics and world events. It is much harder for her to avoid the news like I did back in the day and she doesn't want to avoid it completely either.

 

What we're doing specifically to find a balance:

sticking to written news over televised news

Reminding DD it is okay to take care of oneself

In January we each picked our one top area of concern to stay focused upon because staying on top of everything was exhausting and impossible.

We let our kids (young adults) take the lead regarding conversation. ( DH and I don't start distressing conversations with the kids and we are careful not to ramp up the conversations that do happen.)

 

What we hope to do:

Get our home to not be a chaotic place. DD and I end up using precious coping ability about stupid carp like a messy kitchen that no one wants to clean or DH and I bickering.

 

Oh, the bolded would work for us. 

 

One thing that is in ds' face every day is the overdevelopment of our area, and that is something we can actually do something about, especially as we have local elections coming up. We might pick that to understand and act on.

 

Letting kids take the lead is a good idea for us. I'm sure it won't work for everyone, but for us (mum a news junkie) it's probably a great rule of thumb. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My youngest two are 13 and 14. The 14 year old is prone to anxiety when they don't understand things, when they don't feel like they have enough information, and when they have to fill in a lot of blanks on their own.  Fear of the unknown is worse for her than open, frank discussion.  So that's what we do.  It works for our family. 

 

I can see, though, how that wouldn't work for others.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"If it bleeds, it leads". The news media and social media like to be all gloom and doom by focusing on the negative and ignoring all the positive things that are also happening.

 

This week my special needs daughter is going to a volunteer-run summer camp for a few days and then a volunteer-run surfing event next weekend. The good people who are taking time out of their busy schedules to bring some sunshine to SN kids and their families aren't being plastered all over CNN, FB, and Twitter like the protestors rioting in far away cities. Our teens need to be reminded that the media sensationalizes events that they know will bring in viewers. What they see on TV or social media is only a tiny fraction of everything that is happening in this country.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't watch TV and it is not on for background noise here, so we don't have the constant barrage of bad news, but the kids do see the internet and an occasional news blip.  I am probably not doing the best job of bringing things up when appropriate.  Generally I don't talk about stuff unless they bring it up.

 

One of my kids is fascinated by politics etc.  We went to the peace museum in Oslo, Norway and I bought her a book - speeches that changed the world or some such.  It includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I think it's an excellent resource for her to hear things from the horse's mouth in historical context.  So many of the issues are still quite relevant today.  Yet it is remote enough that she can read it without getting anxious.

 

We also listen to audiobooks together for their middle school book club.  These often touch on timely issues, as the books covered are fairly current.  Periodically I'll stop the CD to discuss the relevant topic.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a bit of a news black out for DS14 for a few months this year. He now has a FB page, but he only checks it once a week. What I do is post positive articles like the statement from Virginia's governor and a statement from his godfather (who is a public figure in ecclesiastical circles), so he can see that people are doing something about the bad news. He has also chosen as his focus this year environmental concerns as that is more relevant to his immediate world right now.

 

DS tends toward anxiety, but also desires some information about what is happening. It's a hard balance to strike sometimes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, mine are all prone to anxiety, which probably makes it more of an issue for us.

I think that is an important distinction. My ds17 has always watched news programs with us. We have news channels on television for hours each day/night and he gets additional news on his computer, so he's very well informed -- probably more informed than most adults, tbh. I think he has benefited from having the information as well as from all of our family discussions about what we have seen and read, and I think as he gets older, he will continue to maintain his interest in what is going on around the world.

 

That said, if he tended to be very anxious or we had ever felt the news was distressing to him, I would have been a lot more careful about what he saw and read. I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to this situation because personalities are so different, and I trust that parents will be able to make the best decisions for their own children and teens.

 

I would think it could be quite a challenge to keep news away from teens, though, because many (most?) teens have access to a lot of information, whether it's on their computers, their cell phones, or even just from reading newspaper headlines in stores.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to think that unless a kid tends towards being very calm, newspapers and written sources are a better way to keep kids informed than the TV, which is constantly driven by ratings to create maximum fear and anxiety.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that completely shielding teens from what's happening in the world is possible. They're going to see headlines, Facebook posts, and tweets, and hear people talking about the most extreme news of the day. We'd rather that our kids have the whole picture, rather than just these (frankly frightening) glimpses of what's going on. 

 

We usually discuss some aspect of the day's events over dinner. Often, this starts out with one of our kids showing us something he saw online, or asking Dh to explain something they've heard about during the day. If there's something we think our kids should know about before they hear it from a late night TV host, we'll bring it up with them. After dinner, Dh settles in to watch news shows for several hours, and the kids (and I) float in and out of the den.

 

There have been times that we've decided to limit our discussions about specific topics, or to take a break from discussing world events altogether. We just follow our kids' lead on this. Ds14 was extremely upset by an event that happened in June, and asked us not to discuss it when he was present. Two of our kids struggle with anxiety, and they do sometimes get stuck worrying about something that's going on in the world. Discussing the issues with Dh (who is very knowledgeable, calm, and an unwavering optimist) seems to help them put things in perspective and move on. 

Edited by Ivey
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've found a nice middle ground here by using CNN 10 as a discussion point at breakfast every school morning.  It's an online 10 minutes current world news done for middle-high school age students.  It covers factual news with a non-alarmist tone and some historic context.  For example, I really liked how they covered the Ebola story by talking about the actual science and liklihood of serious spreading.  The 24 hour news cycle was insane when that was going on.  Having discussions about sensationalism has been important too.

 

In general, my kids have been listening to public radio constantly since they were small.  One of my kids has had anxious periods of time but never as a result of current events.  I actually think it's been helpful to have factual discussions about current events rather than just over hearing stuff.

 

ETA - I was also going to say CNN 10 regularly covers those doing positive things in their communities as well.

Edited by WoolySocks
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are reading mostly NPR and BBC, not hiding from but also challenging each person to research an NGO or some group or person out there doing something wonderful for the world. Basically acknowledging and discussing the bad, but then balancing that with all the good of which there is a lot, but most media outlets do not report because "ratings".

 

We have also taken the time to remind each other of good things, finding joy where we can.

Edited by FaithManor
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've found a nice middle ground here by using CNN 10 as a discussion point at breakfast every school morning.  It's an online 10 minutes current world news done for middle-high school age students.  It covers factual news with a non-alarmist tone and some historic context.  For example, I really liked how they covered the Ebola story by talking about the actual science and liklihood of serious spreading.  The 24 hour news cycle was insane when that was going on.  Having discussions about sensationalism has been important too.

 

In general, my kids have been listening to public radio constantly since they were small.  One of my kids has had anxious periods of time but never as a result of current events.  I actually think it's been helpful to have factual discussions about current events rather than just over hearing stuff.

 

ETA - I was also going to say CNN 10 regularly covers those doing positive things in their communities as well.

 

This is what we do.  I omit some things, because I don't think my young kids need to worry about everything, but as they get older they can. 

 

I don't watch the news at all.   I saw that it made me stressed out and just feeling like everything in the world was bad.  Where is the positive news ?   I do much better just reading the newspaper, than the constant barrage of the news.

 

 

Other than that my kids are not getting any news.  At this point I think it is good.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I lean more towards black out. Our brains are designed to cope with present real threats, not with the stress of knowing about every bad thing that happens anywhere in the world all the time.

 

I'm working on the theory that excess stress during important years of brain organization is more harmful than is limited knowledge of the problems and complexities of the world during those years.

 

I'm not bubble wrapping my kids, but I'm not sitting them down to watch the news every day either. I'll discuss with them stuff that I think particularly significant or that they are bound to hear about because it's such a big deal.

 

Otherwise nope, not heaping on their shoulders a bunch of problems they can't solve anyway.

 

I love your post.  That is how I am leaning too.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm trying to tie everything in historically, and trying to help the kids feel grounded across time. That might sound confusing, but as history repeats itself, so do the players as they migrate to the same roles. I think understanding our place in current events, as well as the options we can choose, and understanding the ebb and flow can help build patience and resiliency in adversity. It also gives them context when they hear about troubling events.

 

That said, I often don't tell them about specific events, unless I feel we may need to take action. For example, we live no where near Charlottesville, so I don't need to bring that up specifically with them. We are having lots of conversations about the whole scope of the situation, though. If we lived there, I would tell them what was happening, and specifically what they would need to watch for or do in different scenarios.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my dc is a news junkie and doesn't get stressed by following it constantly.  Another likes to know what's happening, but doesn't follow things terribly closely; that one doesn't get stressed by it, either.  The other one gets very stressed by the news and avoids it as much as possible.  I have followed their leads, for the most part, although I do occasionally tell the one that avoids news about certain things, simply for awareness, but without all of the details.  I believe good mental health is more important than being completely informed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually watch international news on TV in the kitchen when I'm making dinner in the evenings, and also listen to national public radio during the day sometimes.  So, I didn't hide stuff that was going on.  That said, at that age, I didn't make a big deal about it either.  I probably rarely talked about it when my kids were that age.  At that age they generally are caught up with school and their own activities, and chances are that what's going on in the world won't affect them.  I didn't usually feel a need to discuss it with them, unless they brought it up themselves.

 

Events closer to home -- like when our town was flooding and we couldn't drink our water, would of course be discussed.

Edited by J-rap

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a Korean student from 4-H for a month, he reassures us it is not as bad as it seems. He watched the recent news with us, his English is quite good.

 

:grouphug:

 

For the rest of the news, that is a hard call. The news I like best is in Spanish, but my Spanish is not good enough to get all the naunces. Several different Spanish Language news sites from several different countries do the best job of presenting the news in a balanced manner without overhyping things and foxusing on violence. I wish there were better English Language alternatives.

Edited by ElizabethB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...