I was writing about teenagers and the use of leisure today. As it is christmas time I thought it was opportune to put it here now as many have some leisure time at this time of year.
5. Use of leisure.
The teenager is meant to learn how to make wise use of his leisure time. This is psychologically important because it reflects the development of the Free Child ego state in the personality. Most people in a modern society do not have enough Free Child and have too much Adapted Child. This leads to many different kinds of neuroses and problems such as anxiety and depression. Treatment of these is often about the individual getting back and learning how to be Free Child again. If they can do this in adolescence then it will be less of a problem in adulthood and some psychological problems can be avoided in part, if not all together.
*Development of hobbies or interests outside work and family. As with most tasks at this stage it is considered desirable if the teenager can develop interests that are outside the direct family. Of course there is nothing wrong recreating with family members, indeed it would be seen as psychologically desirable as long as it is not exclusive for them. To develop interests and friendships that are not family related is another way the teenager demonstrates to self and others that they are maturing into adulthood and can be separate from the family of origin. That they are becoming a individual woman or man in their own right.
*Learning how to stop working. Central to the development of the Free Child is the ability to spend time not working. As we know some find this very difficult to do and many societies rate working as a very desirable thing to do. Having a good work ethic is given a high status in many societies and whilst they are not against leisure time many societies just don’t mention it all that much. It is assumed the person will naturally be able to recreate and turn off work in their mind. Unfortunately this is often not so and people forget how to achieve this. If they spend a good deal of time working and get lots of encouragement for it they can forget how to be Free Child, especially guilt free Free Child. They may go on a holiday but they feel guilty or have a sense of being lost and not to sure what to do. People in this state need to relearn how to stop working and enjoy the time when not working. Of course if the teenager can master it then it will be less of a problem in adulthood.
*Learning how to create one’s own enjoyment. Learning how to have Free Child fun that does not require a computer, TV screen, motion picture, lots of money, alcohol or drugs and so forth. A teenager’s ability to do this will also be heavily influenced by their experiences in childhood. Leisure time that does not require someone else to do something or some kind of machine to do something shows a sense of self is developing.
*Learning how to play common games with others. With more sophistication in adolescent thinking they are able to play more complex games and leisure activities. Some people find it difficult to enjoy time in the presence of others and end up doing largely solitary recreational activities. They find they can only really get Free Child satisfaction in some solitary past time. Of course this is unfortunate as they are missing out on so many activities and humans are, by and large, communal beings. If the teenager can learn how to be in a group activity and enjoy it, then they have mastered another task allowing them to become individuated from the parents.