Stress Makes Kids Cranky
Stress steals energy, and it sometimes causes actual physical pain and illness. We’d all like to get rid of it!
Did you know that a simple way to reduce stress is by cutting down on social media? Yep. Believe it or not, scientists say Facebook can lead to “psychological distress”. In fact, they say many people experience Facebook as stressful. We AND our kids may be suffering from social media stress!
How Does Social Media Stress Kids Out ?
Well, Facebook often causes what psychologists call Facebook Envy. Scientists say that envy is “rampant” on social networking sites. How about that guy who just posted the pictures of his family’s great camping trip? Purple mountain’s majesty, brand new SUV, five-room tent, a gorgeous wife and happy-looking kids–how does all that make you feel? You’re sitting there in front of your screen, unshaven, thinking about the bills. Your wife is mad at you, and the kids are screaming. You are too tired to even think of going camping, and a brand new SUV is so not happening. Then you feel awful about yourself and your life by comparison. You may find yourself wanting a drink, a drug, a purchase you can’t afford, a woman you shouldn’t have, or some other inappropriate comfort to escape the very real anxiety you feel.
Now, social media can be a great source of warmth and connection. It can connect your kids to their grandparents, for example, if they live at a distance. But you have to be choosy how you use and respond to it.
4 Tips for Reducing Social Media Stress for Kids
- Limit use. This is a no brainer, but it really helps. Especially limit the time spent reading other people’s posts. The scientists say that envy “can be intensified by passive following”.
- Put up some good stuff about yourself and your family.
- Compare yourself and your family only to yourselves. Aim for progress, not perfection.
- Take other people’s posts with a grain of salt. Their lives are not as perfect as they appear.
We Wear the Mask
When it comes to presenting ourselves to others, we all put up a brave front. But it isn’t who we are inside.
Way back in the nineteenth century, poet Paul Dunbar had this to say about that:
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile . . .
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us while
We wear the mask.
Our Good Dads Club Facebook group is a place where we can let down the mask. We can admit that we don’t have all the answers and that we sometimes feel overwhelmed trying to be good dads and men. When we do that, social media becomes a place of connection and support, not a source of stress.