Monday, February 25, 2008

Stressed out!

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Happy Monday to everybody!!

I hope your weekend was fun, full, and loaded with some wonderful family time. I hope your worship experience at church yesterday was a perfect moment between you and God. I loved worship yesterday at my home church. It was a sweet time between me and Jesus. I'm grateful today.

Today, I have been picking, choosing, whirling ideas around, thinking, figuring....blah, blah, blah about what specific thing I want to share with you today. And....

I've decided. This is not what I thought I was going to share today, but staying true to the original concept of this blog.....this is for my families at church whom I have the privilege to serve and grow with each day....each week.

Ok...I'm reading my newest magazine, Children's Ministry, and I came across something of interest and concern to me for anyone who has children that are school age.

The top 5 sources of stress for elementary-age kids are......

1. A parent having problems

2. Fighting with a friend or sibling

3. Taking a test

4. Wondering whether others find them attractive

5. Not having enough privacy

Well, I could say many things about these 5 things, but for some reason #5...not having enough privacy....surprised me. Are kids in elementary school wanting more privacy?? Why do they need privacy?? What in the world are elementary age kids doing in this private time?? Maybe they just want some "alone time." Maybe they want some "down time." Maybe they truly just need a break from life after school.

However, this concerns me. And, it concerns me for a few reasons. I think, we, as parents, need to be very careful about how much privacy we give them. They ALWAYS need to know that we are the authority over every.single.thing. they have and do. I strongly believe that when you allow them to have too much alone time and privacy, you are setting a stage for Jr. High and High school years that will not be healthy.

Why are kids stressed out about not having enough privacy?? Why in the world do they need privacy?? We have to keep their alone time in check and not allow them to have too much time alone. I'm really at a loss as to why they are stressed about this.

So....if anybody has any thoughts or suggestions about this privacy thing at this age, please help me out. My oldest is 11 and he loves to be alone. However, I have to really keep this in check and not allow him to be off by himself watching tv alone or on the computer alone. I don't want to set up a pattern or normalcy for aloneness......for many reasons.

And...I want my kids to know that they can have their space and their stuff, but if at any point I feel the need to explore.....your stuff is mine to go through. You may totally disagree with me, but I am the parent and NOTHING is off limits in my book.

So, I guess I'm not any better off than I was at the beginning of this post. I just want to know why such young children are stressed about needing more privacy. I'd love some insight if you have any.

We all know that nothing good usually happens in the secret places. And...Lord knows that not everything done alone or in private is bad. But, I think with children we must stay on top of their alone time and this privacy that they are needing more of. There is a fine line between normal alone time and too much alone time. I'm still just as surprised at the thought that kids are stressed out over needing more privacy.

Hmmmmm.......what do you think about this?? I'm still scratching my head.
I'm so thankful for each of you that will help me understand this more. :)

17 comments:

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Privacy!?!?!? Really!!?!? That is shocking to me.

You are right, as parents we should respect their space. BUT, my girls know that at anytime, I may do a room inspection! I'm sure the older they get, the more they will hate this. :)

Tanja said...

I disagree with you. I'm not sure of your reasons for limiting alone time. I was a huge loner as a teen, and while I know that it concerned my mother, I wasn't doing anything inappropriate. I was the only girl smack dab between two brothers. I spent many hours alone in my room, reading. It was my escape from boys. I have three kids, a son who is 7 and boy-girl twins who are five. They each have their own room and are at any time allowed to shut their door and have privacy. I actually encourage it when they are being particularly argumentative with each other. They play together often: sometimes all three, sometimes just two while one is off alone. I see nothing wrong with this. I do, however, go through their rooms whenever I feel like they aren't doing the job of cleaning very well. It allows me to toss broken toys or bits of papers. I plan to continue that as long as they live with us. I see privacy as a privilege... one that can be revoked should trust issues come up. But in general, I think it's good to be alone. When else can you pray in silence or even listen to that still, small voice?

annie's eyes said...

Hmmm. I think you're a good mom, Fran, and you don't have to buy into #5. I, too, did not allow tvs or computers in their rooms for the most part, and told them we had rooms for company and it wasn't their bedrooms. We had a family room upstairs with the games and tv and computer which was a gift, I know. It was great because when they started entertaining friends of the opposite sex, no new rules. I think you might be right--maybe down time, less structure, but NOT privacy. Thanks for some good parenting words. love to you, Annette

Tanja said...

Sorry to comment again. Just thought I should add that I'm with you 100 percent on not allowing computer or television viewing to be done alone. Those devices are in our family room, not our kids' rooms. And we have parental guards set on both.

BethAnne said...

Privacy? Really? Seems odd to me. Privacy seems like a concept for older kids - teens not elementary age kids.
When I was growing up anything that was in my room was fair game for my mom to look at. There were no secrets. I didnt get a television in my room until I was a junior in high school.
We wont allow our kids to have their own tv in their room until they are much older and I will never allow them to have video games or computers in their rooms. Too much temptation and too much 'junk' out there. I agree that nothing is off limits for mom to read or see.
I believe kids need and want restrictions - rules are what gives kids a sense of security.
So, all that to say that I totally agree with you.
I think it is important to point out that kids do not need to isolate themselves from the rest of the family by hiding out in their rooms because isolation means no communication - and we all know the importance of keeping those lines of communication open with our kids.......I could go on and on, but I have a sinus infection and I fear that what I have written already doesnt make any sense.......

Fran said...

I understand completely what you are saying Tanja about the alone time and needing that....I am just so curious as to why it is stressing kids out. Maybe its too much activity in their life?? Maybe its stimulus overload?? I just think as parents we really need to be on top of their "privacy" if its causing stress in their life!

Intersting stuff isn't it?

Thanks for sharing....I tell ya this #5 just surprised me! :) Bc I absolutely LOVE being alone. Maybe I need to define privacy and alone....thats too different things.

I'll be quiet now. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey girl, I too was surprised by #5 and as a mom of a now 14 year old girl (and 10 year old sister and 6 year old brother)..she knows I am "all about her business!" I try to be "about it" in a fun but firm way. God ordained me as her mother not her best friend. We also do not have TV or computer in bedrooms and I am so glad.
love,
Teresa
Braden, TN

Joanne said...

Fran,

I don't see this need for privacy in my grammar school children. It is my teenagers at home that I see this need. My thoughts are, if they are not complaining about it, or asking for it, then it is not something I am going to 'stress' about.

I too come from the school of nothing is off limits. The children know that their rooms are their places of refuge from the world but they also know that these are rooms on loan to them from their loving parents. They have yet to ever tell me to leave THEIR bedroom or anything like that. I would not allow them to talk to me like that.

Plus...my girls share a room and my boys share a room. Not much chance of a TON of privacy there.

But hey! I have to share a bedroom too!!!

Love you! Joanne

He Knows My Name said...

this is a quick comment but i wanted to weigh in on this one. this age group needs parent face time as much as possible. this age is premature to be considered "PRIVACY" as opposed to some alone/quiet time which should not be encouraged either but allowed. i feel this category is directly related to the technological society we are in today which ENCOURAGES things done alone such as texting, computer which this age group is well into in most families. i also think our technological society has failed the teens/families of today. i see they struggle with relationships and want alot of secrecy and parents to be hands-off. i think this "PRIVACY" category plays into that and that is just what they want and don't need. sorry for the sermon. great thought provoking post fran. ~janel

Ang baylis said...

Great post, sister! I have to agree with you! I don't think kids need privacy, just time to relax and be kids. Too many parents have their kids in too many activities and they get stressed out! We are being smart parents by not giving them too much privacy. Why do they need it? You are right, nothing good comes out of it! I was one to require them to tell me their passwords. I could go on a rampage about kids and cell phones. I think they are terrible. Parents need to know where their kids are at all times and I believe we are asking for trouble giving them too much freedom. Sorry for changing the subject. I guess I feel strongly about it! And... none of the opposite sex in bedrooms for any reason! Great post, Fran!
Much love,
Angie xoxo
p.s. You are such a great mother!

His Girl said...

I like the idea of my children feeling like they have privacy... I like them to feel like they have the free choice to go in to their rooms and have 'alone' time...

but computers, tvs, and company do not need to be enjoyed behind closed doors.

just so you know, I'm also an advocate of reading diaries, myspaces, snooping in drawers, reading text messages...

in fact, near our family computer is a notebook where all passwords have to be registered. i refuse to let my children put themselves in harm's way just for the sake of privacy.

I just got that mag in the mail, too... haven't had a chance to read it yet, though.

Tanja said...

Here I am again! I couldn't wait to come back and see what others have said. I do so love this discussion. I still plan to let my kids have their "privacy"; however, I agree with you, Fran, in that there is a difference between privacy and alone-ness. Also, to go back to your original statement, I don't see how stress even plays into this. My kids aren't stressed about it. If they need time away from a sibling, they get it. And I love the point that several have made here about kids being overly scheduled these days. Too true. But I still go back to the fact that I've always been a loner. If my parents had forced me out of my room (my escape) I'd have been miserable. Today, I function well in social settings, but I like my solitude. There's a teen in the Sunday school class I teach whose parents will not allow her to spend time alone in her room. She's a great kid: smart, well behaved, respectful, involved in extracurricular activities, etc. I've never understood their logic. But all these comments make me see that I possibly just don't get it because my kids are still very young. I'm not dealing with the same stuff that a parent of teens or tweens is. Good comments here. Thanks for bringing it up. I love your blog, Fran. I read it constantly because you're so uplifting.

Susan said...

I loved reading your post on this Fran and all of the comments. I do have some thoughts on it, as well. First of alll, I think you definitely have to know your kid. Some kids need that privacy/alone time. I did. And I still do. When I don't get it, I shut down. Just as I did as a kid/teen/20 & 30-something. Granted, there IS a difference between wanting privacy and want to be left alone because of depression, addiction, etc. Clearly a parent needs to recognize the difference. My daughter, who LIVES for anything that is social, also CRAVES some quiet time every day. She'll just stretch out on her bed or floor with her iPod on and chill. Our oldest, a boy, is the same way. He is well-adjusted, very, very social, but usually hits his room around 9:00 to either finish studying or just chill out reading and/or listening to his iPod or the radio. Our youngest, who is 12, doesn't seem to require the quiet time. I think that lack of privacy on the top 5 list is a sign of families just doing too much these days. Ours, included. It's no wonder we all go running for privacy and quiet time when we spend all day at school, then sports, church activities, other activities, social...it's mind-blowing!!!!

Good thoughts today, Fran!

Mariel said...

I totally agree with you, Fran!

My boys share a bedroom but during the day (since we homeschool) I try to encourage a 'quiet time' where we are all alone and separate to either read or color or something quiet (I especially encourage Bible reading during this time). But all doors remain open. Each child is in a different room for an hour or so (and mommy gets quiet alone time, too!) but no one is watching tv or on the computer without supervision!!

i completely agree and am perplexed as to why children are stressed by this...except for the fact that it seems kids are growing colder and colder towards siblings and parents. These 'stressed out' kids are probably also depressed and sad. And sadly, probably on some type of meds!!

I was alone alot as a child, because I hated my family and resented the complete dysfunction we lived in. I (by the grace of God) am trying to undo this cycle and create a God-fearing, family-loving line for the glory of God!

thank you for sharing this bold post, dear one!! i look forward to reading all the responses!
Hugs~
Mariel

Mariel said...

Ok, so this will be a blog post for the history books...I have one more thing to say...YES, privacy and alone are different!! I respect when (especially my 7 yr old son) needs time alone to sit on his bed and talk to Jesus...it usually lasts about 10 minutes. But privacy is another issue! Why do kids that young need 'privacy' anyway?!

ok, thanks for letting me have a say here, fran! blessings!!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

I think it's a daily balance. Very interesting.

Alana said...

That is puzzling. I guess maybe not having enough down time could cause stress, but you don't necessarily need to be alone to have down time. Hmmm...

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