Got A Teen Bookworm? Balancing Studies With A Social Life
First off, let it be said right up front: it’s fantastic that your teen is a bookworm. It’s fantastic that she is a good student and loves to learn. Many parents would give just about anything for their kids to follow suit!
However, too intense a focus on a single activity can hamper her development in other areas. She may have trouble bonding with friends, for instance. Or she might be prone to developing anxiety. There are many lessons to be learned growing up, and some don’t come in books.
Outdoor time is essential.
Fresh air and exercise are a big part of healthy adolescent development. That said, don’t do that knee-jerk thing some parents do where they demand their studious and introspective children engage in some sport. That kind of activity isn’t for everybody, and forcing kids into an uncomfortable, awkward situation isn’t fair to them and who they are as people.
Alternative? Everyone can benefit from time outdoors: whether it’s a walk in the sunshine, unstructured movement, or play. Balance is the name of the game, so make sure your kids are doing some sort of outdoor activities, even if it’s just a walk around the park.
Academics can be communal.
Having a studious child doesn’t mean having an isolated one. There are chess clubs, language clubs, debate teams. There are book clubs, computer clubs. Get the picture? Just as groups and teams form around sports, others get together for more academic pursuits.
In some communities, these outlets are sparse or hard to find. If that’s the case, maybe start one! Your teen can be in on the ground floor and perhaps get to bond with some peers over a mutual love of their passions and interests.
Adults can lead the way.
Teens can bond with adults, and not just their parents, over academics. Help your kid find mentorship — this doesn’t have to be a great expert in any particular field, but a safe adult, with some wisdom and some humor. The main requirement is someone who “gets” your kid, and is eager to hear about what they are reading or studying, and can make suggestions and offer encouragement. A teenager is a maturing adolescent, and it can be a great thing to feel accepted by adults who aren’t their parents.
Again, nothing wrong with a teenager who loves to read, or is fascinated with science or math. That’s a great quality and should be nurtured. But well-rounded people are happier people, with a fuller sense of life’s potential. Help your teen grow into that balanced person.