'I'm bored': What's it really mean?

Posted: Monday, May 17, 2004

Did you ever consider the possibility that when your child mutters "I'm bored," he or she is really trying to tell you something else.

Here are some possible translations:

"What I'm really trying to say is that I'm lonely and I don't know how to express that I miss my schoolmates."

"I wish that you'd get off the phone or computer and spend some time with ME!"

I don't understand this project (or book or chore) and I'm frustrated!"

"I noticed last time I said that I was bored you got busy and entertained me."

"I'm feeling something else and I don't know how to say things like, 'I can only stand so much quality and organized time. At this point I am actually over stimulated and need quiet time,' or 'I'm feeling a lot of anxiety at the moment and I need to resolve my inner conflict about playing a soccer game against my best friend and in front of so many people.'"

"My friends say it all the time, I also hear it on TV, so it must be something people just say when they can't think of anything else to say."

"I am not feeling well and I do not have the energy to do anything. I'd tell you that I'm sick, but then you might make me swallow that yucky pink stuff that tastes like chalk. If you remember, the last time you gave me a spoon full, I spit it on the floor and when the dog licked it up, it made him hurl!"

"I am actually bored as in BORED! You know, like as in, I need you to do something quick or my brain will turn to mush and I will quickly be reduced to misbehaving in order to stimulate ... I wonder if I put a cup of dish soap in the blender and pushed puree ..."

Ellen Parr is quoted as saying "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

Einstein said that imagination is more important than intelligence.

All that to say, if your child says he or she is bored this summer, it might be time to stop whatever it is you're doing and try to figure out if there's something else going on.

Or, maybe, it's just time to pull out that list of chores.

Jacqueline J. Michels is the mother of five. She lives in Soldotna.

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