They’re Probably Just Tired Of This

When they’re grouchy, when they’re glass-eyed, when they’re stuck, when they’re making choices that don’t quite make sense…there could be many reasons why your kids are acting this way. They could be tired, as we’ve said before. They’re almost certainly hungry–as we said, that’s at the root of most problems. They could be depressed, they could be going through something and just not understand what it is.

But one thing it could well be is pretty simple: They’re dealing with decision fatigue. It’s just not normal how many choices kids are faced with today. It’s totally unprecedented in the history of the world. When you were a kid, there were a few movies, a few radio stations, a few places to eat. You didn’t have a device in your pocket that gave you access, in an instant, to anything and everything ever made. When you were a kid, how many different cliques or scenes were there? A handful? Now your kids, through social media, can consider every trend, every subgroup imaginable. There’s lifestyles open to them, gender expressions, political views, career paths that they would have never even known existed not long ago–and now the option, the opportunity, the invitation is there.

This is wonderful….it’s also incredibly overwhelming. You know this because it’s overwhelming to you. As a parent and as a professional, you know decision fatigue well. Those days when you’ve made so many choices that you just can’t bear to decide what to order for dinner. Those days when you’ve had to contemplate between so many things that it all blurs together. It’s overwhelming to you and you’ve had a lifetime to build up your tolerance.

Well your toddler and your teenager have not. And so they’re spinning. They’re frustrated. They’re tempted. They’re adrift. They’re exhausted. So give them some space. Help them to pare things down. Protect them when you can. Don’t rush them. Show them how to make good decisions. Teach them how to deal with frustration.

They need all the help they can get.

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