Learning to deal with boredom is a skill that every boy must learn through experience. As frustrating as it might be for you as a parent, your son will get better with practice.
Every boy will be confronted sooner or later with unstructured time that creates boredom or an opportunity to creatively solve the problem.
When my young son came to me one day and said, “Dad, I’m bored”, I was prepared. I nodded my head to acknowledge his dilemma, and said, “You’ll figure it out on your own, son. I’m sure you will”.
When parents rescue their son’s from boredom by providing a diversion, we steal the opportunity for them to maybe learn to count ants on the sidewalk, build a fort in the garage, or design a new Lego city on his own. Learning to cope with unstructured time is a critical skill every boy needs to learn.
Four Primary Reasons Boys Are Bored
1. They’ve had excessive screen time on computers, video games, their smartphone, and/or television which keeps them entertained and distracted. We often see boys as young as 2 years old given a smart phone or an IPad to keep them occupied and out of trouble.
2. Mom and Dad have structured their early childhood with constant activities (sports, Martial Arts, music lessons, clubs, etc.) that keep them busy from the time they wake to the time they sleep.
3. Boys have become conditioned through advertising or peer pressure to look for the next best thing (the newest toy, video game, movie, or activity), and some parents feel they must provide them on a constant basis to keep their son from being bored or left out.
4. Their parents continually rescue them from the distress of boredom instead of encouraging them to creatively find something to do on their own.
Boredom Can Be the Opportunity for Creativity and Discovery
When a boy is challenged to deal with periods of unstructured time on his own, he learns to use his creativity to deal with his boredom. He may just choose to day dream, read a book, explore, or discover a new interest in a subject we, as parents, may have never imagined.
Rescuing your son from his times of boredom will rob him of the opportunity to learn to explore his own ideas and interests.
How did you learn to deal with unstructured time as a child?
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