It’s been said that we become weary of pleasure before we become weary of pain; because, with pain, at least you have something to look forward to—which is the relief of the pain.
With pleasure, when you have just accomplished what you thought would bring you the ultimate and it has let you down, where do you go from there? You go crazy!
This week we want to discuss the solutions to a problem that effects 80% of the American population. And, the good news is: anhedonia can be reversed and the pleasure centers of our brains can be restored. Below are some pointers on how to begin the restoration process in your home.
Separation From the Source
As with any addiction you must identify and acknowledge the areas in your home that may be contributing to anhedonia. From there you must create some margin in your life by separating your family from the problem. Knowing the answers to the following questions may help you identify whether or not your family is in an anhedonic environment?
- “Go to your room” used to mean you were in trouble. Now, it means go to your own private arcade! Does your teen have a TV, computer, video game console, or any other media device in his room? This includes iPods, hand-held gaming systems, or cell phones. If so, take it out! At the end of the day your teen should have little to no access to media in his private room.
- Is the Internet in your home accessible in private areas of your home? If so relocate the computer to a high traffic area. One mouse click away could change your teen’s life forever.
- How much time does your teen spend interacting with some form of media? Statistics show that the average teen gets nearly 10 hours of media every day. If this is true in your home, find ways to limit media activity.
- Does your teen frequently have headphones on at odd times –i.e., when you are grocery shopping, driving together in the car, or even at the dinner table? There are several indicators that your teen is dependent upon media; however, if you answered yes to this question it should be a sign that you should consider separating him from his music temporarily.
- Lastly, I have written more extensively on this topic in my previous post, “10 Tips for Technology Use in Your Home.” These are more specific instructions that will help.
To Prevent Anhedonia, Engage in Constructive and Creative Activities
Because I see it regularly, I truly believe that when you engage a kid in some constructive, creative and critical thinking activity—preferably using his hands feet and back—anhedonia diminishes significantly. This means parents must be intentional with engaging their families, in critical, constructive, and creative thinking activities–preferably using the hands, feet, and back. Building things, problem solving, contemplative prayer and thought, and questions and answers are perfect antidotes for the anhedonic brain. Some examples could be:
- Outdoor activities with your family such as hiking, camping, or sports.
- Engage in and assign to your teen spiritual activities, devotions, and studies that will challenge him to contemplate the deeper meanings of life.
- Provide some type of building project that your teen can engage in. This could be a major project such as painting a room or adding a room to your home, or on a smaller scale such as building model cars.
- If it is not a part of your family already, incorporate scripture memorization. Don’t be afraid to make a fun, but challenging game out of it–i.e., Bible trivia, game night, etc.
- Household chores. Especially outdoor chores.
- Have a family game night in which puzzles, board games, trivia games, or other problem solving type games are participated in as a family.
Utilize Preventative Measures to Limit Media
Parents must encourage their children to properly balance their days with physical, spiritual, social, educational, and recreational activities. They must also insist on balancing rights and privileges with responsibilities and obligations. Monitoring digital use is an absolute must if parents are going to expect their children to perpetuate healthy thinking and a biblical worldview. To do this parents must have preventative measures like the following:
- Set up boundaries to limit time of media consumption. Consider a fast or scheduling one day a week dedicated to no media in the home after dinner.
- Know your teen’s friends and what kind of media he would have access to if he were to go over to that friends house.
- Always know the content of the movies your teens want to see. Before you allow them to go to the theaters, research the movie they want to see. A very helpful site is Focus on the Family’s pluggedinonline.com
- Create, establish, and maintain a vision statement and boundaries so your teen is always aware of what is expected of him as a member of the family.
- As the parent, find margin in your own life to have a dedicated family activity day to go on a hike, picnic, or some form of family outing.
- Be aware of your actions. Your teen will follow your actions more so than your rules. Be sure you are living out how you expect your teen to live.
Unless parents want their kids to have their brains, hearts, minds, and spirits wired up to accept what most of the masses just never question, then they would be wise to be mindful of what has been discussed in our most recent posts, though there is so much more to be said on this subject.
What are some additional strategies you have done in your home to help prevent your family from becoming too dependent upon media, technology, and multitasking?