Jenna Behrens is a licensed professional counselor who has been practicing in the mental health field for seven years. She owns Behrens Psychotherapy Services, LLC which has four office locations around the Milwaukee area. She works with children, adolescents, families, and adults on a wide array of issues including depression, anxiety, ADHD, childhood behavioral disorders, adjustment disorders, stress and parenting.
It's that time. Summer! Or is it? It's been a very odd summer. It took too long to warm up consistently, we've already celebrated the 4th of July and we are on our way to August already. I know I feel like summer is flying by and it's hard to not get a little depressed just thinking about the cold and sunless months that are too quickly approaching us. I know I feel like I have so much I want to do and so little time to do it.
Summer is always such an anticipated time of year for my clients and I love hearing their plans. Adult clients can't wait for the sun and warmth which tends to bring happier thoughts and feelings and my younger clients can't wait to be done with school. It seems that as my years in practice increase, I'm seeing more and more overbooked and over extended kids and parents all summer long.
I fondly remember my summers as being long and relaxing. I probably wasn't always so pleased with days filled with nothing, but boy do I wish I could get them back! I wasn't usually involved in much because my parents worked and couldn't bring me to many activities, and honestly, I think I liked running around outside and playing with my friends more than joining activities.
Kids these days have so many activites. Summer school, summer camp, tutoring, sports, music lessons, and the list goes on and on. Parents look exhausted from shuffling their kids from activity to activity. Seems like summer has become more exhausting than the school year. I know the parents who schedule their kids with activites all summer long think they are providing them with opportunities and enjoyment and they probably are to a certain extent. I also know there are parents who can't afford to sign their kids up for a lot, if anything, and really wish they could. I'm not saying one is better than the other, I'm just saying that everyone deserves a break. There's a reason admission rates to inpatient hospitals increase towards the end of the school year. It's because the kids can't continue to hold it together. They are exhausted and irritated and need some time to decompress. All this overbooking, for children and adults, can cause a lot of additional stress and anxiety.
I just hope that everyone will allow themselves a little break. Take an unexpected day off work, have a relaxing family day instead of sending the kids to their activities and if you can't do that, make sure you take some time to reconnect at night and save a little time for yourself to read or take a bath or walk. And if you're trying to keep up with the Joneses, stop. They don't exist. Sign your child up for an activity if they want to. If they don't, don't. If it's going to cause the family or your child more stress, don't or ask your child to only pick one activity. And enjoy your summer! It'll be over before you know it!