Do kids still have fun?

“When I was a child I dreamed like a child of wonder…but it’s gone.”

Lyrics from ”My Back Door” by Melissa Etheridge

Do kids have fun anymore? There’s several discussions out there, with research done on all ages, to find out if kids still know how to play or if technology has ruined it. I certainly see the effects of technology on my youngest son, who is almost 12 and was born into it. He was about 3 years old when he had his first Nintendo DS, and not much later the Wii, and by the time he was 8 his own Xbox. It’s definitely his passion, and while I’ve tried relentlessly to engage him in other interests, it’s a challenge. But this post isn’t about how to help your child use less technology. The positive and negative impacts on kids are in this brief article, along with what adults can do to help, if you are interested. This post is about a mom, doing what we do best, worrying.

Lately I’m less worried about younger children, (who I work with all week and love to play with toys), but my concern is with the older kids—hardly kids really, but on the brink of adulthood at 16/17 years old. And I’m not convinced technology is fully to blame. My oldest son turned 18 this week. He was born at a time when technology was just beginning to go crazy. My phone didn’t take pictures or connect to websites yet. I have actual photo albums of him as a baby. He was 6 when he had his first Nintendo DS, and while he got into gaming pretty quickly, he was still the kind of kid who could do other things. He was active, and loved playing sports or being outside. He enjoyed dirt biking, riding bike, exploring the neighborhood. He was social and made lots of friends, and they explored their world. As he became a teenager he didn’t care much for social media, or let it run his life. His self esteem wasn’t based on likes or comments. He enjoyed the freedom of our camping trips where there was no cell phone service. 

But over the last year, as he’s preparing for his future, I see less of my fun-loving child, and more a responsible man. I’m torn between concern and pride. He has learned from my mistakes, knowing what it’s like to always worry about money, and doesn’t want that for his life. He’s chosen a career and has a plan, and understands economics. He’s making decisions to set him up to be financially successful, thinking of ways to support his future family. And I’m proud of him for this.

Yet I worry. He goes to school and work, and occasionally a friend’s house or out with his girlfriend. He gets stressed about money, homework, work, and a million other little things. He isn’t looking forward to his 18th birthday because it means more responsibility, and therefore stress. Over the last year I see more anxiety over the future than him enjoying life, being free, seeking fun. 

Do other teenagers on the brink of adulthood feel the same way? Are they too busy preparing for their future in order to be successful, that they’ve forgotten to enjoy the journey? Are the pressures of life these days, the cost of everything, the hoops you have to jump through, also to also blame for less happiness in our youth? Based on the video below, yes.

8 minute video of teens discussing anxiety: what it is, causes, their experiences.

I think there are several reasons why we, as a society, are less happy. Even more than what is mentioned here, but that would be a really long post.

What I do know is balancing responsibility and fun is important. If we aren’t responsible, things in our life start to fall apart. If we don’t have fun, we may start to fall apart.

My mother always said, “Work hard, play hard.” And she’s probably one of the most balanced people I know.

How do you balance responsibility and fun? What are your thoughts about our youth and their happiness? How about my readers in other countries—are there similar expectations for children’s futures?

Happy Good Friday Dreamers! I hope you have some fun this Easter weekend! 🐇🌻🐇

3 thoughts on “Do kids still have fun?

  1. Hello. Permit me to drop my two cents as someone from the Philippines.

    Oftentimes, Filipino children — especially the eldest in the family — are often forced to shoulder responsibilities. The younger you are, the less responsibility imposed on you. Couple that with the tradition of unmarried Filipino children staying with their parents while their other siblings get married, and you’ll often find those who eschewed having a family of their own to take care of their aging folks.

    (Thank you for following The Monching’s Guide, by the way. Couldn’t comment on your About section, so I’ll just leave this here if you don’t mind.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Monch, and thank you for the reply! I love hearing from people in other parts of the world! I guess in some ways it is similar to here. Oldest children are usually most responsible, and the youngest are the “babies” who have less obligations. Although here, I’m not sure it’s forced, but rather seems to happen naturally. What we do lack is care for the elderly. My mom is taking care of her mother, so family does sometimes take it on, but too often those who don’t need to be in nursing homes end up there, which is sad.
      Hmm, on the About section. I am pretty new to this whole website thing, so I will have to see about fixing that. Thanks for the heads up!
      Also, I love that you use a pen name. I have one too, but I only use it for email. 😂 And I am happy to follow back—it sounds like we have a few things in common. I also love some 60s/80s music, random trivia, and history!!! Again, thank you so much for joining The Balance Wheel and supporting my journey! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem, and looking forward to more of your posts! 😀

        Gotta agree with you on the nursing homes part – those who shouldn’t be there often end up as residents. Worse, some staff members there often abuse their elderly wards. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

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