We are reading about it more and more. Family, friends and neighbors appalled when a teen ‘unexpectedly’ takes their own life. Sadly, it is becoming all to familiar. We ask why and want to know what can be done.
Well, there are some really hard truths that we have to face. Technology, for all its benefits, is also creating a lack of vital human interaction. In this CNBC report, Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State, is quoted from an article she The Atlantic, where Professor Twenge notes several stark behavioral changes in teens since smartphones became popular, including fewer friends, reports of more loneliness and higher rates of depression.
Though she does note some positive changes, “Teen pregnancy is at an all time low, teen homicide is a lot rarer than it used to be, and they’re drinking a lot less,” ultimately her research paints a “grim picture” and suggests “parents to think how they can limit the amount of time their kids spend alone in their rooms, on their phones or computers”.
Work with horses can be a very powerful intervention that not only gets teens to put down the technology, but helps them learn to reconnect. They are outdoors. They are interacting with another living, breathing and very engaged being – their horse! They are encouraged to note subtleties – where are the horses’ ears pointed? What are they listening to? What happens when you lift your reins up, rather then bring them back towards your hip? How does your horse respond? They relearn how to be present and in the moment, communicating in something other than emojis! They become aware of their abilities to make decisions and consider the consequences of those decisions. And of course this is just the beginning of what can be done through work with horses.
It can be hard to get a teen to do anything outside their usual day-to-day routine, but the lure of horses can be very enticing. If you know a teen who may be struggling, we are here. We are happy to schedule a visit. We will show you and your teen around, introduce our herd, learn more about what is going on with you and share how we may be able to help. Call of email and we will make something happen.