Sometimes we forget how hard it is to be a young teenager. The push and pull in their world to fit in can be crippling. The sad truth is, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death of 12-year olds around the world. Think about that for a moment. Just as a child is entering their teen years they feel so helpless and so hopeless that this is the only way out that they see. This is a statistic that we adults can and must change. We need to help our struggling teens.
What’s Going On?
As a kid goes into their teenage years, everything is out of control. Their bodies are changing, their skin is changing, and they never know when they are going to burst into tears. They have trouble expressing themselves, controlling their emotions, and their self-esteem is easily rocked.
For a lot of parents, the answer to this problem is putting them in sports. But what if they are not into, or not good at sports? What if they are not built for sports? You may have just exasperated the problem.
There is Another Option
If you want the physical exercise of sports, the teamwork, the method of overcoming fear, consider putting your teen in dance. Dance teaches a child to express those pent up emotions and release them. Dance teaches them to work with others and to celebrate victories and comfort each other in hard times. As they learn that they can create something beautiful, their self-respect grows. Their confidence grows. They no longer care what others think because they know who they are and where they belong. Their body grows firm and strong.
A teen is mature enough to learn to appreciate music and what it takes to create it. When they consider the infinity of music, the problems of a 13-year-old does not seem so permanent.
When you begin, you may get some friction from your child. By now, you are probably used to that. Get them excited by showing them some fun aspects to joining dance, like wearing costumes and listening to music. Go shopping with them to find the right gear to get started. Luckily, there are plenty of options both in store and online. For example, even just browsing sites online like Just For Kix , a professional dancers website, can get them excited about their new endeavor. You can browse the latest in dance attire, shoes, bags, and warm up gear.
Your child may like the idea of Hip Hop. Maybe they like the beauty of ballet or the romance of Ballroom Dance. Browse the outfits. Pull up some YouTube videos. Go to a few shows. If they have a close friend maybe you can sign both of them up.
If your kid is being targeted by bullies the last thing they need is more ammo. Maybe playing basketball or softball is a great idea, at the right time. But at the wrong time, you are taking a kid with a bruised ego and battered self-esteem and putting them front and center for the whole school to see. If they freeze when they need to score the winning point, they will never live it down.
Dance does have competition. But in dance, you win as a team or you lose as a team. Teams support each other. Your self-esteem is protected, your heart is guarded and your growth is supported. There is a time for everything in life. If your teen is in crisis, maybe it is their time for the security of dance.
The most important thing you can do for your teen is to listen to them, talk to them and do not make light of their problems. While it may seem like “kid stuff” to you, today, kids are picked on around the clock. They are picked on in person, online, and in ways that you cannot imagine. Many times they are backed into a corner that even you and the police do not know how to get them out of. Never let them feel like they are in it alone. You are their biggest advocate. Make sure they know that.