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The Malibu Times: Kids And TV: 8 Steps To Help Your Teen Unplug

Read Susan Stiffelman's blog post for The Malibu Times!

Jun 19, 2013

Posted: June 18, 2013
by Susan Stiffelman

My 14-year-old daughter used to be very social. She was always going to her friends' houses or having them over. But now she is very lazy, glued to the TV, watching one show after another and refusing to do much of anything else -- either with us or with her friends. Should I make her go out and do things she doesn't want to do?

Many boys and girls go through phases in their social life as they move into adolescence. Sometimes they want to be surrounded by friends at every moment of the day and night; other times, they may seem to retreat entirely. It isn't uncommon for girls to pull away from old friends as they grow up -- and frankly, sometimes teens lie around the house lethargically. But your question does raise some concerns. When a child seems to withdraw from the world, it's important to rule out any significant problems. Here's my advice.

1. Make sure your daughter isn't escaping into TV because of an issue like bullying or depression. Kids who become isolated from others when they are typically very social could be dealing with emotional or psychological challenges that require your attention. Talk with your daughter in a way that allows her to see you as a safe confidante. If she senses that you're not simply trying to force her to stop doing something she enjoys, you may discover that her TV "addiction" is more about numbing herself from difficult life events than it is about being "lazy" -- a word I particularly dislike.

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