Teen Talk: Battling Boredom

Teen Talk
Posted at 8:11 AM, Jul 06, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 11:50:19-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- This week's "Teen Talk" is focused on advice dealing with keeping your kids from becoming bored this summer.

WTXL contributor and family therapist Jane Marks:

This is a very compelling question. For some teens finding a life passion is very simple. They gravitate toward things they are naturally talented in or skilled in. But for many it does take some focused attention, extracurricular activities and even an understanding of what the concept means. Remember, for teens, boredom is a rite of passage. So many teens have no interest because it’s just a normal part of hormonal changes.

1. Do start with extracurricular activities this summer. Pursue at least three activities this summer that you find even remotely interesting. While you may not stick with it, curiosity will lead you to a discovery of information you never anticipated. Make a list of all the things you are interested in, pick three and focus. Find some classes to see if these things are something you really want to pursue.

2. Follow your gifts and follow your skills. For example, if you love video games then how about writing a game column or starting a blog or creating a video game club where you can meet over the summer and talk about the games and your insights and any kinds of tricks to winning games and what outcomes are of certain games. Always stay true to yourself.

3. Let go of anxiety and fear. Fear is the ultimate buzz kill. Don’t miss an opportunity because you think too many people from school are participating.

4. Be still. The reality is that most teens are so busy with their smartphones that sometimes giving yourself a moment of stillness is enough to realize that we are passionate about simply observing nature.

5. Provide a concrete reminder. You can always create a vision board, sit down together and find pictures, drawings and photos that might match your talents. It’s the idea of working together. And so teens are encouraged to follow attractions, phrases or images that are important to them.

6. Plant curiosity. Parents, learn to ask compelling questions. “What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?” “What is something that you believe that almost no one agrees with you?” “If you had super powers, what are they?” “What are you willing to risk, something you have never done before?” “What is your sentence?” Very tough questions but questions that are designed for teens to develop critical thinking skills. “What makes you feel alive and just charges your battery? Then you start thinking about it and get tremendously excited?”

7. Take this summer and learn, learn, learn. Take advantage of something and build a skill. If you are able to do that, then sometimes a passion emerges. Submerse yourself in doing your research. Research, research, research. Watch online seminars. Contact people in the field. Job shadow. Find ways to volunteer. Ask lots of questions in this particular area. Master a skill this summer. .

8. Provide value. In other words, what value can you bring to a process? For example, if you are interested in animals, can you spend time fostering animals? Can you volunteer at the animal shelter? This sometimes ignites an excitement or hunger in a particular activity.

9. Learn to recognize opportunities. For example, school or community based initiatives are great examples of places to start. Does your community sponsor a “clean up day”? Does your school support local charities? Recognize opportunities and act on them.

10. A great new resource is The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager. It’s a self-help book with a big difference. It’s packed with cartoons and writing and talks about ambition and becoming more proactive. In this book it talks about choosing to be your best self and getting up off your rear end and being bothered about yourself and creating opportunities.

11. Developing passion means standing out from the crowd. Smiling rather than crouching. Learning yoga to teach yoga to become an instructor and helping others helps you develop passion.