Practical Parenting: I’m Bored

I think it’s necessary to let kids get bored once in a while – that’s how they learn to be creative.

Kim Raver

My son recently came to me the other day, telling me, “Pappa, I’m bored.” My heart sank. As a psychotherapist, I know that boredom is the primary way children communicate their feelings of depression. Yikes, the child of a psychotherapist being bored in his own home. What kind of parent am I? I had to move quickly to solve that problem. Or did I?

As children age, the psyche fragments. What was once fun and secure for the young child becomes a source of boredom for the adolescent, who is now responsible for their irresistible flights of fancy so common to attention deficits.

In many, we see this as ADHD. “Why does Johnny seem so distant?” “What does that boy daydream of anyway?” While this may be concerning, it is not necessarily pathological. Instead, what is often pathological is the singular reliance on linear forms of problem-solving children are taught by traditional and social media programming.

Like many, I see my children’s absolute infatuation with YouTube. It is almost habitual in nature, bringing real concern for me as a parent and a psychotherapist specialized in childhood development. This form of entertainment and the problem-solving capacity that search engines such as Google and YouTube provide us have created ease in our daily lives. But the ease by which this knowledge is attained also makes the means for its own problems. These have become paramount during the COVID 19 epidemic.

I have multiple subscriptions to entertainment channels: Disney+, Prime, Netflix, HULU, and cable, to name a few. But I can never find anything to watch on TV. Sifting through 1,000’s of choices on my TV, I have become bored. This caused me to think, does having too many choices without direction lead to a path of ultimate unhappiness through boredom? Is this what my son is going through as he attempts to seek his inner creativity and happiness habits?

Children learn through problem-solving skills, but their natural inclination is to go to a parent for quick answers. As a philosopher, I cannot help but ask, have we abdicated our roles as parents of our children’s normalized developmental journey to the lessons provided by artificial intelligence? What used to be didactic in nature has now turn linear, decreasing the capacity children have to problem solve independently in a manner consistent with higher forms of conscious awareness. In other words, problems that once taxed, the brain can now be explained with a simple question to SIRI, Alexa, or your Google Assistant.

“Pappa, I’m bored.” My heart sank, but I needed to be present in that moment. I told my son, “well, you need to find your happiness habits.” This is a problem we all face. The quicker children learn that happiness is a source to be found within, the sooner they realize that the cure for boredom is not through “constant stimulation” from external sources. Joy is an inner job to be cultivated through creative endeavors.

This is a social problem of significant proportions. But these social problems are solved in the home setting by passing on family values from one generation to the next. By honoring a mother and father’s role at a cultural level, the seeds sewn for our grandchildren’s future will be one of competent and practical parenting ability. A child needs a loving mother and father present to realize their full potential. The consequences of the opposite are too great of a price for even one child to pay. Science knows this as a fact. We know this as a fact. As Mother Teresa alluded to in her famous quote,

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.

Mother Teresa

Namaste, my friends. May peace and blessings find you along your journey to believe, achieve, and advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.

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