How to Handle Common Conflicts With Your Growing Kids
The "Fear Of Missing Out" Fight
The Situation: Teen wants to buy clothes like her friend's, but parents think these items are inappropriate.
What's Really Going On: My teen interns, and I often talk about a concept called FOMO, or fear of missing out, as it is an ailment that seems to affect all teenagers. A teen's identity is often very closely tied to those of her friends; therefore, staying tuned in to what they are doing, wearing and thinking is critical. Parents, however, not only want their teen to have a strong sense of the individuality, but they also often worry about friends who might be engaging in more mature—or irresponsible—activities.
How To Solve It: When a teenager asks to buy new clothes or to participate in an activity that seems uncharacteristic, it is important to understand to the emotional need behind it. I always recommend that parents openly discuss the desire before saying no or yes. If parents ask—in a non-judgmental way—why a teenager wants a certain outfit, why they need it right now, or why a new activity suddenly seems appealing, then teens are more likely to open up. This allows parents to talk to their teen about separating her identity from those of her friends and making decisions based on her true interests, not fads.
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