FOMO is the feeling that everyone else is a part of something you’re not. FOMO is the “Fear Of Missing Out”.
It’s all your friends hanging out without you, maybe because you declined to go in the first place or maybe you weren’t even invited.
Parents, does it feel like your child is spending more time at their friends’ house than at yours? Does it seem like they value the opinion of their friends more than your parental advice?
That’s natural. Kids pull away from their parents and look to their peers for acceptance.
FOMO is nothing new. Why are we bringing it up now?
Because your kids are more connected now.
They make plans with their friends in their group text and can see the progression of the plans before their very eyes. If they decline to attend the plans, they are now sitting on the sidelines as the rest of their friends excitedly chatter along, blowing up the phone of those who opted out.
“But they chose not to go”, you say.
Sometimes kids want to be responsible. (Yes, it does still happen.) They know studying for the big test will benefit them more than seeing the newest blockbuster.
Sometimes they can’t go without a choice. Family obligations, sports practices, after school jobs. Maybe you even grounded them from going out. Many times, plans with a big group of friends just don’t fit in the schedule or the budget.
The point is, even if your child isn’t there in person, they still see what’s going on. That little thing called social media that keeps your kids glued to their phones all day is the king at creating FOMO.
Snapchat stories. Instagram posts. The group text. They are all constant reminders of the event your kid diddn’t attend. The fun they’re missing out on. The inside jokes they won’t be a part of because “you had to be there to understand.”
FOMO can make people (of any age, not just teenagers) anxious. We get low self-esteem from constantly seeing what everyone else is doing. It’s hard to sit at home while it seems like everyone else is doing something exciting and Instagram-worthy.
You’ve definitely experienced it, too.
Come on, parents. You’ve had your friends ask if you and your significant other want to join them for dinner. Maybe a sporting event. And you’ve had to remind them that being a parent means you can’t always go somewhere at the drop of a hat. So you politely decline because it’s easier than figuring out who’s going to watch the kids and the pet. Then you come across your friend’s pictures of the dinner or game on Facebook and you feel a twinge of jealousy because they found someone else to take your place.
F. O. M. O.
But it’s constant for your kid. Their friends post way more than your friends do. And, of course, their teenagers. So they’re not always as polite about it as grown ups are.
They said “no” to plans. How can you help relieve some of the FOMO?
These tips might help.
- Distract them. Keep them off their phones while the plans are going on. If they’re studying, encourage a snack break and use the time to catch up with them about what’s going on in their life.
- Sit down with them and reinforce the idea that they won’t always be able to drop everything to go have fun. Remind them of the reason they can’t go out, like maybe sports or homework. This reason will be more beneficial to them down the line than whatever their friends chose to do that night.
- In the same manner as #2, have a real adult conversation with them if the problem is finances. Finances is a tricky topic to talk about with kids and teenagers. They are most likely still depending on you for the money they use to go out. Maybe they’re too young to realize that you have actual expenses that don’t allow for you to give 50% of what you make to your kid’s entertainment fund. It will get easier as they get older. Start teaching them how to manage their own money, and they will quickly learn how easy it is to spend money on frivolous things when more important things need your attention and earnings – and yet they can’t do that.
More great information on FOMO can be found at:
If you like this article on DecodingTodaysYouth.com, check out the harm Instagram is causing your teens.