Insights on boredom

Through this fortnightly column, Sunaina Vohra helps you keep parenting sane and simple, and guides you to trust your intuition – because, no one knows your child like you do

Tabloid

Summer time is here and the one thing that children dread is being “bored”. That’s a situation parents want them to avoid even more, which is why they organise little boxes for them.

Home schedules or summer camps that are a string of unending activities: from art to dancing to football to swimming, children move from one box to the other — and when they find themselves in between any box, they jump out of it and shout out the dreaded word: BORED!

Recently having conducted a one-week workshop myself for children I realised how perpetually stimulated we keep our children. Kids demand more and more external stimulation, becoming restless when left to themselves. Not surprisingly the most common affliction of the modern generation seems to be a “lack of attention”. Parents bring their children in to see me and wanting me to help their child develop focus and concentration.

Having been brought up on a staple diet of jumping from one box to another, games on the iPad, PSPs and internet, children are now suffering from constant external stimulation and experiencing a perpetual “high” from their external stimuli.

The first inkling of having to be with themselves sends them into a complete state of alarm. Just like the puppy is shocked and confused on seeing his reflection in the mirror, so too are the children who have to pause and reflect on/with themselves.

Use these summer months wisely. Its great to hone their strengths and use the vast stretch of time to learn something new. However, its also a time for kids to learn to enjoy their own company. To just spend time looking at the ceiling and daydreaming about who they could be. The pause, like I call it, where true growth and intuition and learning lie.

Teach them to embrace boredom. Make boredom the new fashionable thing to do or be, because in boredom lies the mother of invention. Guide them to use their talents and strengths to create something that they feel passionate about and that might serve others and the entire world. This is the time to sit around the table and have long dinners with even lengthier discussions of who your child wants to be as a person.

No, not an engineer or doctor, who he wants to BE as a human being. Does he want to be kind, helpful, caring, charitable or motivational? Ask your child questions that help him to gain insights into himself and what he thinks of himself, who they want to be more of and how they want to impact those around him.

Gently guide your child to love and accept himself because that is one company he needs to enjoy for the rest of his life (without getting alarmed at his own reflection.

If you want a list of questions to ask around the dinner table as a family e-mail sunainaathena@gmail.com

This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to tabloid@gulfnews.com

— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to www.athenalifecoaching.com or call (+971) 56-1399033.

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