Want your teen to spend more time at home?
Any parent can relate to the concerns that come up when their teenager says they’re heading out with friends Friday evening. Even for those who implicitly trust their teens, there’s always that element of uncertainty about circumstances out of our control. Let’s look at the stats. According to the CDC:
- 33% of high schoolers drank some amount of alcohol in the past 30 days.
- 20% of high schoolers rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.
- Almost 50% of high school seniors have abused a drug of some kind.
These are just a few of the alarming results research has found about how teenagers spend their free time, but enough to get the attention of any mom or dad. So what’s a parent’s alternative to the weekend night “hope-for-the-best” strategy?
How about creating a teen-friendly environment in your home that provides more appeal to a group of friends than a night out somewhere else. Home theaters and pool tables are just a couple examples of indoor fun that go a long way with teens.
And then there’s the outdoor hot tub. In addition to keeping the kids close to home, hot tubs offer the benefits of improved quality time with friends and relief from increasing stress.
Meaningful time with friends
The Journal of Pediatrics found that 58% of kids 10 to 15 listed communication as the main reason to go online. Most of this communication however involves short messages rather than involved conversations. And the majority of these friendships stay in the digital space (only 20% of all teens have met an online friend in person). Not necessarily the makings of a meaningful friendship.
And good friendships are the key to adolescent mental health, according to a new study published by Murdoch University. Results showed that adolescents were happier and experienced lower levels of sadness, jealousy, and worry in the company of their friends than with their families or being alone. Plus, kids rely on relational experience when developing more significant relationships later in life.
Aside from the numbers, it’s easy to recognize how important relational experience is to teens’ emotional development. The nature of hot tubs facilitates just this: in-person quality time among peers in a setting where they connect without devices. (Even when friends are together watching a movie, it’s hard to resist the ping of an incoming text.)
Healthy form of stress relief
Between academic competition, social issues, and physiological changes, today’s teens are up against more pressure than ever before. A 2013 study by the American Psychological Association showed that teens rated their stress at 5.8 out of 10 during the school year (as opposed to 4.6 during the summer). In comparison, adults reported stress level came out to 5.1 out of 10. It turns out that teen stress is often overlooked though, and an estimated 10% of all teens end up suffering from an anxiety disorder.
It’s this kind of stress that leads kids to look for any means of escape, including alcohol, drugs, or just surfing the internet (which comes with its own implicit risks). Hot tubs offer a healthier, proven form of relaxation for teens: studies have reported that hot tub use promotes the release of dopamine, the hormone responsible for combating stress.
When you provide an entertaining and engaging home environment for your teens, they’ll be more inclined to spend time around the house. And you’ll start gaining back some of that peace of mind that seems to lessen as our kids grow more and more independent.
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